01/31/17 7:40pm

Say ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ With C+M’s Favorite Chinese Dishes 

Fu Run's pork ribs are worth celebrating!

Fu Run’s pork ribs are worth celebrating!

Gong xi fa cai! Happy Year of the Rooster! One of the best things about Chinese New Year is that the celebration lasts for 15 days. So here on this fourth day of the Lunar New Year festivities, C+M presents a list of our favorite Chinese dishes in Queens, some old, some new, all decidedly delicious. Normally this column contains seven entries, but we’re giving you one for good luck!

1. House special ribs with spicy sauce, Fu Run
Even though it’s the restaurant that introduced Chinese food fans to the cumin encrusted glory that is the Muslim lamb chop I’ve been over their version for quite some time. It stopped being good the moment the restaurant decided to prepare the racks of ribs in advance and reheat them. So I was very pleasantly surprised by the house special ribs with spicy sauce ($14.95) that I tried the other day.  La xiao le pai, literally little spicy riblets, turn out to be deep fried Dongbei style rib tips shot through with fried peanuts, chilies, and cilantro. They’re the best pork ribs I’ve ever had in Flushing. Fu Run, 40-09 Prince St., Flushing, 718-321-1363

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2. Hakka hot chicken, Tangra Masala
I have it on good authority that there’s nothing wrong with eating chicken to celebrate the Year of The Rooster.; it’s only unlucky for the chicken. And, since it’s the Year of the Fire Rooster, there’s no better dish to celebrate than the hakka hot chicken at Peter Lo’s Indian-Chinese restaurant Tangra Masala. The dish of hacked up bits of fried bird is coated in a glaze that marries the flavors of chili, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Shot through with chilies and sautéed onions the succulent pieces of poultry call to mind Dominican style chicharron de pollo with an Indian-Chinese twist. Tangra Masala, 87-09 Grand Ave., Elmhurst, 718-803-2298

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3. Sesame biscuit with fried jelly bun
When I first saw the hawker stand set up across the street from the Golden Mall I thought it was yet another skewer specialist. Turns out the lady running it specializes in a vegetarian sandwich, sesame biscuits stuffed with fried bean jelly.  A shao bing jia liang fen will set you back a mere $5. The bun’s filled with wobbly blocks of bean jelly that have been fried on a flat top and slathered with a profoundly garlicky sauce. Shao Bing Jia Liang Fen stand, 41st Rd, across form Golden Mall

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4. Chinese money dumplings, Dumpling Galaxy
Eating dumplings during Chinese New Year has long been associated with prosperity. That’s because the crescent shaped dumplings resemble gold ingots. Over at Dumpling Galaxy, this quartet of Chinese money dumplings or  jinqian jiaozi, are quite literally money, dynasty coins to be specific. You can get them filled with pork, but there’s nothing richer than lamb. The delicate dumplings with the crispy sheet of dough are part of a special Chinese New Year’s menu runs for the entire year of The Rooster. Dumpling Galaxy, 42-35 Main St., Flushing, 718-461-0808

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5. Guangzhou rice roll, Joe’s Steam Rice Roll
“It touched my heart,” Joe the friendly dude behind Joe’s Steam Rice Roll told me as he recalled his mother making the popular Guangzhou street food for him. He hadn’t had it in years and it sparked a plan to open a rice roll noodle stand in downtown Flushing. After several months of research in Guangzhou, he returned to the States to fulfill his dream. 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. What makes Joe’s rice roll unique is that the rice is ground daily. It touched my heart and taste buds! Joe’s Steam Rice Roll, 136-21 Roosevelt Ave., #A1, Flushing

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6. Kidney and liver with sesame oil, Taiwanese Specialties
Last year my Chinese New Year’s resolution was to eat my through the menu at this Elmhurst Taiwanese stalwart. My pal Stanford and his dad helped me make good on this promise a couple of weeks ago. One of the best dishes we had was pork kidney and liver with sesame oil , or ma you yao hua, as its known in Mandarin. The slices of offal in a soy sesame oil sauce shot through with bits of ginger were as tender as a mother’s love. Taiwanese Specialties, 84-02 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-429-4818.

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7. Dim Sum, Jade Asian
Individual tastes in dim sum are not unlike those in pizza. That is to say they’re established in childhood. Whatever style you grow up with is the style you prefer as an adult. Not for me the quiet teahouse. Give me a cacophonous catering hall the size of a football field. “I like to feel overwhelmed,” I say when people ask about my dim sum favorite dim sum places. “They should do the classics really well, but they should also have two or three things I’ve never seen before.” In Queens, Jade Asian manages to fit the bill quite nicely. Plus, it’s good luck to eat dumplings during Chinese New Year.  Jade Asian Restaurant, 136-28 39th Ave, Flushing, 718-762-8821

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Photo: Michael Yu

8. Roasted lamb chop, Peng Shun Spicy Pot
The chef behind this hawker stand in Flushing’s New York Food Court can call this dish roasted lamb chop if he wants to, but any Chinese food aficionado worth their lucky chopsticks will know it as Muslim lamb chop. “Wow I think you renewed my faith in this dish,” a dining companion told me when he first tried it. Unlike others, which are often dried out, Peng Shun’s remains juicy underneath its mantle of cumin seeds and red pepper flakes. It is the spiciest, crispiest, finger lickingest version around. Hence the rubber gloves that are given out with each order. Recently the price was increased to $26, but it’s worth every penny. Peng Shun Spicy Pot, No. 13, New York Food Court, 133-35 Roosevelt Ave., 646-250-1118

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3 Comment

  • Joe, is that “hakka hot chicken” on the menu at Tangra Masala? It looks a whole lot like the “tangra masala chicken” on the menu there.

    If not, how can it be ordered?