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Fujian "Grass Bag" Rice in Flushing

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Fujian "Grass Bag" Rice in Flushing

HLing | May 13, 2002 11:32 AM

I laughed when I saw this item on the menu posted on the window. Never had Fujian grass bag before. At this Fujian place there are 3 $5.50 combinations: (A) is of lightly flavored rice, cooked in a weaved grass bag, plus a choice soup. (B) is plain grass bag rice and a choice of "steamed soup"(stew-like). (C) is also plain grass bag nice with a choice of a "dish from the table", plus soup.

I got combo(A) with Spicy fish ball soup as my soup choice. The Lightly flavored grass bag rice had lots of what I think is the world's tiniest dried shrimp, finely chopped Chinese celery bits, and other herbs mixed in. Not sure what type of rice they used, but it was perfectly cooked, sparkly but not oily, neither mooshy nor tough. I couldn't stop eating it as the fragrance was so inticing and refreshing. The fish balls were most unlike the usual rubbery texture. Mine had four large but light and fluffy fishballs stuffed with spicy pork and came in a vinegary clear broth. Much much better broth and fishballs than the other Fujian restaurant on the same street, closer to Main street, "Happy Fujian"or something like that.

I didn't need to but wanted to try the famous Lychee Pork. It was deep-fried pork(no batter), with wedges of potato also lightly fried, covered with a brown sweet and sour sauce and sesame seeds sprinkled on top. While the pieces of pork had a good mix of fat and lean, and had a good texture, the sauce was way too sweet for me.

This place is opened at 7 am in the morning! The Taro cake and Shrimp crispies that I wanted were unavailable. None left over from breakfast. The breakfast menu inlcudes Soy Milk, Peanut soup, plain congee, egg flavored congee(?),sweet potato congee(talk about country cooking),vegetable congee(pickled veggies), and the ole Thousand-year old eggs and pork congee, some combination cold accompaniments to congee, the Taro cake, the "dried baby shrimp crispy"(?), and Wok side rice noodles. The price for breakfast seem very reasonable.

I asked for and got a menu to take with me, I realized later that it didn't have the name or address of this month-old restaurant. It's on 40 Rd between Main and Prince and has a bright red sign, but not in English, I don't think. You can sometimes see someone in the window making dumplings. Come to think of it, on my table there was a business card with the name "A-D-A" Fujian Restaurant. It may or may not be the official English name.

In China you wouldn't want to be called a "grass bag", as it means someone like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ, a man of no substance, but the Lightly Flavored Grass Bag rice here is a must in one's Fujian culinary education.

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