I'm a junkie for cheap food thrills. So when I read in today's Village Voice that a Chinese restaurant in Flushing offered excellent lamb testicles, I braved the threat of heavy rain and uncertain subway service to make the ten mile round trip.
The restaurant specializes in lamb. It shows up on the menu in about twenty different guises. So I was disappointed to see that the only one which featured lamb testicles was Testicles with hot pepper sauce (aka, I could see from the Chinese characters, Kung Pao). I was sure I'd get a lame touristy version of that old Sichuan standby, since the staff was not Sichuanese. They are, I believe, from the far northeast of China -- Manchuria. The owner is Korean. Later on, when he saw I was knowledgeable about the food, he brought me a free bowl of kimchi.
And so, with a heart as heavy and leaden as the soggy skies above me, I resigned myself to ordering the Kung Pao testicles. And then, as when balmy sea breezes push aside black malevolent rainclouds to reveal the shining sun behind, the food came, and I beamed with delighted surprise. The kung pao was perfectly authentic, perfectly Sichuanese, perfectly "ma la". It had Sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, fiery red chili, all in a bright red oil laden sauce. It was the best kung pao I've ever eaten, better than in Chengdu. The only place that might rival it is Spicy and Tasty, also in Flushing...but it wouldn't be easy. (Note: they have the Kung Pao with other things too, such as shrimp, or lamb meat.)
And the star of the show? Well, it would have tasted better if I hadn't known what it was. (It was artistically cut into strips.) But it was delicious. It had the rich intense lamb flavor of the best lamb roast, but stronger, and was so soft you could eat it, as I did, with a spoon.
I'll be going back. I'm hesitant to try the lamb eyes in brown sauce, though. That's a Shanghai sauce, and these guys are definitely not from Shanghai. But who knows? Considering how well they cooked that Sichuanese dish, they might make the best Shanghai food too.
A Fan Ti 136-80 41 Av (718) 358-7925