As a keen watcher and eater of all that goes on in downtown Flushing’s Chinatown, I’ve seen a many a hawker stall come and go. This seems especially true of Sichuan outfits. Thankfully there’s one constant in this shifting ma la sea: Cheng Du Tian Fu or Chengdu Heaven, as it’s often so aptly rendered in English.
For more than a decade this spot right at the bottom of the stairs of Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall has been one my favorite haunts. The classics like fu qi fei pian, Sichuan cold noodles, and ma po tofu are exemplary. and there’s always something new to discover like the Sichuan cured duck I recently tried.
Salty skinned tea-smoked duck has long been a standby at Sichuan spots from Wu Liang Yeh to Grand Sichuan, but it’s never struck me as especially Sichuan. Coated with chilies, cumin, and just the right amount of Sichuan peppercorns there’s no mistaking the culinary heritage of Chengdu Tianfu’s hua jiao ya. The cure imparts the meaty bits of bird with a red hue and a flavor not unlike Sichuan duck prosciutto. Sichuan charcuterie if you will.
Cheng Du Tian Fu, No. 31, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing