For the third day in a row, I took the train to Flushing. This is a record for me, though there are people who live there who probably do it all the time. I had a hankering for the hearty Manchurian cuisine served at Emerald Island. It's unlike anything I've ever had before. And it's a very friendly place.
On my way there, I noticed a small restaurant in a side street with a menu in Chinese with dishes I'd never seen. I went in to ask and, after a long conversation interspersing Chinese and gestures I learned the food was from Wenzhou. That's a town in Zhejiang, south of Hangzhou and Shanghai. There are four main schools of Zhejiang cuisine -- Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shaoxing and Wenzhou. Wenzhou is a port city open to foreign trade and somewhat cut off from the rest of China. I'll be interested to try their cuisine.
I took a copy of the takeout menu, and found they had English translations of all the dishes. I'll have to go back there to try such things as chicken kidneys with deep-fried crullers and Longan soup with Black Chicken.
I was greeted at Emerald Island with joy and surprise. They couldn't believe someone not from there would return three times. I had stewed fish with tofu. A circular plate with big chunks of tender steamed skate in the center, and soft pillowy cubes of tofu around it. Scallions, cilantro, and a brown sauce redolent of star anise. I'll probably go back a fourth time.
Chung Hua (Wenzhou) 133-58 41 Ave (718) 888-9171
Emerald Island Restaurant, 135-21 40 Road (718) 888-9080
(Note: Waterfront Int'l on Prince St also serves Manchurian food, but I've never been there. There meaning Waterfront, I have been to Manchuria.)
Photo of Wenzhou:
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