I have been hitting the cold noodles at Cheng Du Tian Fu pretty hard lately. So last weekend when I stopped by for an early dinner after leading a Flushing food tour—yes, I often eat a meal after conducting a Chinatown food crawl—I wanted something different. As I scanned the pictorial menu the proprietress suggested chuān beǐ liáng fěn, a slippery bowl of blocky mung bean noodles. I shook my head and then my eye fell on something I’ve been meaning to try for some time, the house special salad ($3.50).
The cool tangle of seaweed, julienned carrots, and chewy noodles showered in cilantro is quite special indeed. Dressed with roasted chili oil, black vinegar, and a healthy dose of garlic it offers a wealth of textures and flavors. Sweet, salty, and possessed of a spice level that will leave your palate humming it’s the Japanese seaweed salad’s sexier Sichuan cousin. Oddly enough the Chinese name liáng bàn sān sù—or “cold salad three vegetables” —doesn’t quite translate to “house special salad.” Go figure.
Cheng Du Tian Fu, No. 31, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing