“Wow I think you renewed my faith in this dish,” a dining companion said the other day. He was talking about Muslim lamb chop a delicacy that rose to ascendancy on cumin-scented wave of glory at Fu Ran neé Fu Run about five years ago. Sadly Fu Ran’s version ain’t what it used to be. On my last few visits it was precooked, rendering what should be gloriously juicy, fatty lamb flesh rather dry and tight.
Muslim lamb chop also called lamb in Xinjiang style is a specialty of Flushing’s Dongbei restaraunts. The version that rocked our world’s can’t be had at a restaurant though. It’s served in a much more humble setting, New York Food Court.
Peng Shun Spicy Pot (Peng Shun Ma La Xiang Guo) where the dish will run you $20 calls its crowning glory “roasted lamb chop.” The Chinese name, meng gu kao rou, actually translates to Mongolian roast lamb ribs. Whatever you call it, it’s amazing. So amazing I had it twice in the course of a week.
It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to make and is certainly fried to order. A mantle of cumin seeds and red pepper flakes coats what’s surely the most elaborate dish to ever be served in a Flushing food court. Juicy tender meat with just enough gamey funk to get your attention and glorious white lamb fat lays within. It is the spiciest, crispiest, most finger licking version I’ve ever had. Peng Shun provides plastic gloves and a bowl or two of rice. Scoop the heady mixture of cumin seeds and red pepper imbued with lamb fat on top of your bowl.
Like many Flushing food court operators, Peng Shun serves what I like to call stir fry spicy wok salad bar. What really sets it apart though is that glorious lamb dish. I am positively overjoyed that somebody in Flushing is finally doing it justice again.
With the opening of Diverse Dim Sum and the discovery of Flushing’s finest Muslim lamb chop it’s safe to say that New York Food Court is well on its way to becoming more than a clone of New World Mall.
Peng Shun Spicy Pot, No. 13, Newyork Food Court, 133-35 Roosevelt Ave., 646-250-1118