“The pork and mushroom was pretty good,” my friend Chef Jonathan Forgash said as we were deciding what to eat at Phayul, a Tibetan restaurant in Jackson Heights. We were at the new location, which sits across from the original second-floor location. For whatever reason they’re keeping them both open, which strange as it may seem businesswise, does means twice as much of Chef Chime Tendha’s delicious Tibetan food.
The menu at Phayul’s new, more elegant digs has several new items, including chicken tangkung, a soup of ginseng and jujubes that is Tibet’s answer to Korean samgyetang. We got the soup that evening, but didn’t order the pork and mushroom, instead opting for stir fried laphing with beef. Both of us are big fans of the slippery mung bean noodles, usually served cold in a sauce of vinegar and garlic, but had never had the hot version.
Phayul’s new menu has gorgeous food photos and the actual serving of stir fried laphing certainly lived up to the menu image. The cubes of laphing and beef had a lovely aroma of soy sauce, garlic, and chilies. Time in the wok had rendered them firmer than their cold cousins. The combination of tender beef, soy sauce, and garlic with the chewy laphing was delicious and somehow familiar, but I couldn’t place it.
“This tastes like a Tibetan version of chow fun,” Jonathan said. “Yes, you’re right,” I said as I ferried a salty broad bean across the table to him.
I thought the laphing stir fry was one of their new dishes, but a quick call to the original Phayul reveals it’s been on the menu all along. Guess I have some catchup eating to do!
Phayul 1, 37-65 74th St, Second Floor, Jackson Heights, 718-424-1869
Phayul 2, 37-59 74th St. (entrance on 37th Rd.), Jackson Heights, 718-433-9696