Ma po tofu and homemade roasted fish are both standouts.
The entrance to Guan Fu— the latest in a recent string of higher end Sichuan openings in downtown Flushing’s Chinatown—is flanked by two formidable foo lions standing sentry outside a facade that calls to mind a temple or palace. Quite appropriate given that the black and gold plaque reads “Guan Fu Chuan Cai,” which translates to “Official Palace Szechuan Cuisine.”
I’ve been mighty curious about Guan Fu since it opened. My interest reached a fever pitch when Pete Wells bestowed three stars upon it this summer. So when the one of the owners reached out with a dinner invite I couldn’t say no. As I waited for my dining companion on a bench facing the entrance delicious aromas wafted towards me as the doors opened and closed.
Each savory flavor bomb sings with sugar, chili, and Sichuan peppercorn.
Every now and then I happen upon a Midnight Snack that I simply cannot stop eating. These guài wèi hūa shēng, or “queer taste peanuts,” are so eminently snackable I should have bought two, or even three, containers instead of one. The English name on the sign reads, “stir fried peanuts with sweet and spicy sauce.” A better description would be “sweet and savory flavor nuggets that will haunt your dreams.”
Each roasted peanut is coated with a mixture of sugar, chili, Sichuan peppercorn, and garlic among other things. Crunchy, toasty, sweet and singing with the classic numb-hot flavor think of these babies as Sichuan beer nuts. They are available for $4 a container at Szechuan Dish in the New World Mall Food Court. Get there before I corner the market on their supply.
Szechuan Dish, No. 25, New World Mall Food Court, 40-21 Main St., Flushing