Last May, birdsandtogs originally posted about Lian Won Café’s Eel Rice Casserole and Five Flavor Duck. It took me more than three months to visit the place and another to post about it after two great meals last month. If you go, arrive early as the restaurant is not that large (50 odd seats) and fills up fast. It seems most, if not all the patrons are Cantonese speaking, of all ages.
The savory specialty here is Eel with Rice Casserole, as birdsandtogs noted. This is a famous dish from Taishan - a “county level city” in Guangdong province. Chinese immigrants from here were among the first arrivals in San Francisco, not long after the first California gold dust arrived in Hongkong in January of 1949.
Rice is first cooked halfway before being mixed with pre-cooked eel in a clay or stone pot. The pot is then fired up to finish cooking the rice. Where the rice touches the pot, oil from the eel drips down and creates a crispy outer layer called "fon jil". (Taishanese call this layer "nuong" which is also their word for burnt.)
You will see this served on every table. It comes in three sizes: Regular (for 1-2 people) $20.00; Medium (for 3-4 people) $30.00 and Large (for 4-6 people) $40.00.
This includes a large bowl of Eel Bone Soup with cilantro and tofu which arrives first.
The tasty Five Flavor Duck (招牌五味牌 - zhāo pai wǔ wèi yā) is excellent, as birdsandtogs found. Other dishes eaten included Sautéed Nagaimo, Steam Meat Paste with Salt Fish, Braised Oxtails, Sautéed Lotus Roots and Water Spinach and Fermented Bean Curd. The Steam Meat Paste with Salt Fish and Water Spinach with Fermented Bean Curd are Cantonese staples. Lian Wong’s Steam Meat Paste contains a mixture of lean and fatty ground pork and lacked the crunch found in many home-made versions.
birdsandtogs CH posting:
Lian Wong Café
2012 86th Street (between 20th Avenue and Bay 25 Street).
Brooklyn, NY 11214
Open every day from 11 am. to 10 pm.
D train to 20th Avenue.