Even though I pride myself on being an adventurous eater, it took a good 30-plus years before I tried crawfish. It’s not that I have a problem with seafood. After all I grew up with an Italian-American seafood bonanza—shrimp scampi, seafood salad, lobster, fried calamari, and baked clams—every Christmas Eve. The opportunity just never presented itself. Then one day crawfish, a delicacy most often associated with New Orleans, appeared in a most unexpected place, a Henanese noodle stand in Flushing’s New World Mall food court.
I handed over my $9.99 and was soon presented with a bowl of má là xiǎo long xiā. Bathed in chili oil, and shot through with palate-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and bits of ginger they were simply amazing. Little lobster is an apt name for these succulent crustaceans. Simply pop the tail off and pull out a nugget of sweet meat. They are truly the spiciest, tastiest Henanese crawdads in all of Flushing. And, I want a bowl of ‘em right now.
Li’s Lanzhou Hand Stretched Noodles, No. 12, New World Mall Food Court, 40-21 Main St., Flushing