06/15/15 10:54am

Szechuan Taste’s Gardenia Jelly Packs a Garlicky Punch

Zhi zi liang fen, slippery cool, and garlicky as all getout.

Zhi zi liang fen, slippery cool, and garlicky as all getout.

“What’s your favorite noodle dish?,” is a question I’m asked all too often. As a food nerd I have about a dozen favorites encompassing Thai, Uzbek, and Chinese. One of my top Chinese noodles these days is the ma la liang mian or cold noodles—humming with ma la flavor of tingling Sichuan peppercorns combined with red chilies—from Szechuan Taste.

It’s so good that it’s taken me a year to start ordering the stall’s other cold noodle specialties like zhi zi liang fen, or gardenia bean jelly ($3.75). Despite the English name, there are no flowers in it whatsoever. Just Like its bone-white cousin liang fen, this sunnier version is made with mung beans.

The blocky yellow jelly—really more of a noodle—is prepared in much the same manner as ma la liang mian. Scooped into a pot it’s mixed with various and sundry sauces and seasonings from the noodle mise en place. Chili, sesame, green onion, and garlic are the primary flavors. Zhi zi liang fen is a challenge to chopstick skills. Pungent and spicy it might just be my second favorite Sichuan cold noodle in Flushing. Szechuan Taste, No. 25, New York Food Court, 33-35 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing

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