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Boston Area Chinese Chowdown

FULOON CHINESE CHOWDOWN in MALDEN 7/19/08

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Restaurants & Bars Boston Area Chinese Chowdown

FULOON CHINESE CHOWDOWN in MALDEN 7/19/08

opinionatedchef | | Jul 19, 2008 08:06 PM

Wow. Somewhere around 20 very full and very happy people sauntered slowly out of the Fuloon CH feast tonight, about 2 ½ hours after they had sauntered in.

We had filled 2 large tables. Our table of eight ordered and devoured the following:

Apps:
Pork pancakes*
Chive Pancakes
Cold Tofu

Protein Entrees:
Wok Baked Beef*
Chicken with Dates, Chestnuts and Cashews*
Pork with Cucumber and Bean Starch Noodles*
Bean Curd Leaf Pork*
Whole Fish Szechuan Style
Tea Smoked Duck

Vegs:
Mandarin Cabbage w/ Chili Peppers*
Yu Siang Eggplant
Kanshue Green Beans*
Tofu with Special Sauce, topped w/ Ground Peanuts

Dessert:
Chewy Sweet Rice logs with Red Bean filling, coated w/ Sweet Sesame Powder(kinkaku in japan)- gift of house
Melon w/ Strawberries and Grapes – gift of house
Soup of Sweet Rice Balls filled with Toasted Sweet Sesame paste *

I heard not one complaint about the food the entire evening.People ‘loved everything.’ None of our dishes was prepared fiery though I know the chef would gladly accommodate such a request. The most popular dishes disappeared first- the beef, the green beans, the chicken,. the pork pancakes(though they were also the first dish to arrive.) We could have given the dishwasher the night off, as every serving platter left our table in a state that could only be described as ‘clean as a whistle.’ The platters’ food proportions were average to generous and everything was anihilated except the Tofu with Special Sauce.(We all agreed that we enjoyed it, but there had to be one dish that didn’t get finished!) The wallet dent was, including tip, $26 pp.(twice as much as the other table, who ordered a similar list of foods, but fewer.)

The starred items above were mentioned by our table’s CHs as ‘single favorite dish’ and/or ‘revelation of the evening’. Wok Baked Beef was the top favorite, with its velvety exterior and its addictive sauce of caremelized soy.The most unusual ‘not seen before’ dish was the Bean Curd Leaf Pork. Dried tofu skin had been rehydrated, tied into knots and steamed, then stir fried w/ mahogany glazed nuggets of succulent pork belly. Such interesting textures.
Ditto the slivered Pork with slivered Cucumber and Wheat Starch Noodles. These latter were cool and refreshing,like pale green glass fettucini (mung bean flour maybe?) and were complemented by the fresh crunch of cucumber and a very savory sauce that tied in the pork with the other elements. Very good dish for a hot muggy summer night.( Same w/ the cold silken tofu app. touched w/ scallion and sesame oil.) I have had another dish of unusual green noodles at Sichuan Garden in Brookline Village, but the Fuloon dish is far superior.

The only dish that disappointed me, personally, was the Tea Smoked Duck, which I found to have disappointingly lifeless and meager meat (compared to the stellar succulent and abundant dense moist meat on the Smoked Duck at Mulan.)

I was fascinated by the Cabbage dish. It had a marvelous smoky charred quality (perhaps aided by szechuan peppercorns?)punctuated by an addictive note of vinegar. The Pork Pancakes were quite extraordinary- a great invention. Flaky scallion pancake dough was formed into a disc and stuffed with a thick filling of Peking Ravioli- like pork and ginger mixture, then griddled til crispy and hot., cut into wedges and served with a soy/vinegar dipping sauce. Like a wicked good Chinese hamburger.

For me, after eating at a lot of Chinese restaurants, what was particularly special about the Fuloon experience was that every single dish had its own distinct and flavorful sauce. I was never looking around for some condiment to give the dish some flavor or oomph.
What a delight!

The manager, a middle aged Chinese woman, was very helpful in tweaking our menu choices so we did not order similar dishes. Our server was definitely not attentive enough but that might not be a problem for smaller tables. The back room was completely non descript in character but we had plenty of characters to make up for that! The front room was dark and cool with attractive banquettes and low lighting.

After all was cleared away, about half of our satiated CH crew stayed behind and got to know each other better, swapping fav. restaurants etc. Everyone thanked Vincent for making the wonderful evening possible. I know I’ll be returning very soon to Fuloon and I’m betting that CHs known or unknown to me will be present when I return!

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