A couple of weeks ago my friend Jane sent me a video of Guangzhou rice rolls being made. “I wish we had these here,” she wrote via Facebook message.
Within a day or two she sent me another message, apparently these rolled rice noodles had to come Flushing thanks to an outfit called Joe’s Steam Rice Roll. So we decided to check it out.
The joint’s Chinese name, “Shi Mo Chang Feng Wang,” as Jane was so kind to inform me translates to “Stone Milled Rice Roll King.” Sure enough right in the window was a stone mill used to grind rice into a slurry and the king himself, whose name it turns out is actually Joe.
Joe and his crew offer a dozen varieties of fillings, including pork; beef; pork liver; egg; and two types of barbecued, pork char siu and roast pork with crisp skin. The rice slurry is poured onto a broad metal tray, which goes into a steam cabinet. When it has set into sheet of white dough, the filling is added, and then it’s rolled up.
Jane went for zhai dan chang or egg and lettuce, and I had shao zhu chang, crispy roast pork. Both were quite lovely and delicate. The twisted skeins of rice roll have a tendency to unfurl when picked up, but that makes eating them all the more fun.
When I asked Joe about how other people make their rice roll he said they use a powder. Nice to see somebody doing it the old fashioned way in Flushing!
Joe’s Steam Rice Roll, 136-21 Roosevelt Ave., #A1, Flushing