My wife Jing is from northeastern (dongbei) China, and she has been on the lookout for restaurants here serving her native food. After I saw the recent Jonathan Kaufman article (see link) on a new Dongbei restaurant in Union City, we decided to check it out, along with Jing's mom.
It was in a strip mall with many other interesting looking restaurants: Thai, Malaysian, Korean, etc. In the restaurant, nearly everyone was Chinese, and nearly everyone was speaking Mandarin.
I don't remember the names of the dishes we ordered, but they were:
1) A dish made of stir fry potato, tofu, garlic and eggplant that Jing said was a famous dongbei dish.
2) Some kind of pork shuijiao (boiled dumpling)
3) The fried tofu in ground pork sauce that Kaufman mentions in his article
4) Some kind of clay pot with braised lamb
I liked the first dish very much, and I liked the third as well. The dumplings were ordinary, and I didn't care for the braised lamb. Overall, I found the food tasty, interesting and inexpensive.
However, the "locals" I was with were not as impressed. They both agreed that the restaurant had not really captured the taste of the local dongbei dishes they had grown up with.
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