08/11/14 11:38am

Dongbei Candy Apples Get the Hawker Treatment


Ba si from a hawker stand, a Flushing Chinatown first.

“Everybody thinks it’s fried chicken,” the girl behind the counter said with a laugh, when I pointed at the rows of clamshell containers filled with golden brown morsels and said ba si. Coated with a sticky glaze and studded with sesame seeds one could see why it might get mistaken for a hyper-regional take on General Tso’s.

Ba si—fried apple, taro, or sweet potato glazed in syrup—is something I’d never seen at a hawker stand. At Flushing’s many Dongbei restaraunts it comes to the table still hot with a bowl of cool water. Dip a chunk into the water and the glaze hardens, forming strings of spun sugar. Think of it as Manchurian molecular gastronomy.

The version at the hawker stand on the Roosevelt Avenue side of J-Mart may not be as dramatic as what’s served at restaurants, but it’s still quite tasty. And it is way better than a frozen version of the dessert I bought in the very same market a while back.

If you want to get it fresh, I’m told they fry it up at around 10 a.m. I might just come back and bring my own bowl of water, and see what happens.

Jmart, 136-20 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, 718-353-0551

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