03/18/13 12:00am
Amazing Sichuan ‘Beer Nuts’ at Flushing New World Mal

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

02/07/13 12:05pm
Taiwanese fish fry with peanuts and chili peppers is a great beer snack.

Taiwanese fish fry with peanuts and chili peppers is a great beer snack.

“This we call funny fish,” my Taiwanese-American college buddy Rick’s father said as he plopped down a bowl of small fried dish interspersed with peanuts and dried hot peppers. “It’s good with beer.” At the time I was not nearly as adventurous an eater as I am now, but the Taiwanese fish fry was way better than any chips or pretzels. Salty, crunchy, spicy, and nutty, and very, very good with an ice cold Budweiser.

Years later I found myself snacking on it at Mingle Beer House an ill-fated Flushing beer bar. Mingle is no more but  I’m glad that I can still find what I like to think of Taiwanese beer nuts at most any Chinese supermarket. Best of all there are variations some with a bit of sweetness in addition to the spice. For those who’d like to try to making this crave-inducing snack at home there’s a pretty easy-looking recipe over at Eating China.