Is New York City ready for a fourth Hunan restaurant?
Traditional Hunan Style has been open for about two months now on 40th Road, sandwiched between Fuzhou and Wenzhou eateries. Its Chinese name (天天湘上 - tiān tiān xiāng shàng) is a play on words from the popular expression (天天向上 - tiān tiān xiàng xiàng) “progress everyday.” Several visits over the past three weeks have confirmed that Traditional Hunan Style is a legitimate Hunan-chow fabrication facility.
The chef hard at work here is Mr. Wu Fu (吳福 - Wú Fú) from Hunan’s second largest city, Hengyang (衡陽 – Héngyáng). Two of the friendly wait staff are from Fuzhou.
Four worthy appetizers were sampled: a large mound of crunchy Pig Ears in Hot Oil, Pepper Wood Ear, two-toned Hot and Sour Noodles with pickled vegetables and a cool pile of mildly hot House Special Chicken sprinkled with sesame seeds. Other dishes tried:
Fish Head With Pepper – here almost half a fish is steamed and then ladled in a light pickled chili sauce. The left over sauce with peppers goes great over rice.
White Jalapeno Chinese Preserved Meat – hot and tempting, with smoky sliced pork belly, garlic and red and green peppers. They tried to steer me away from ordering this, claiming it was too hot. Avoid only if you have agita.
Eggplant Steamed with Salt Egg – whole long and slender succulent Chinese eggplants topped with cooked salted egg yolks. Outstanding.
Small Fried Tofu with Fish – pieces of flounder and silky tofu in a hot broth. Ground peanuts on top added a pleasing textural touch.
Chairman Mao’s Braised Pork – less sauce here than other remembered versions at Hunan House or Hunan Kitchen of Grand Szechuan and with mushrooms. A solid version of the Great Helmsman’s favorite dish.
East on Chicken Casserole – this dish is named Dong’an county in Hunan (東安 －Dōng ān) but gets mistranslated as “East on.” A good dish but not for those adverse to chicken meat on-the-bone. Especially small pieces of chicken meat on-the-bone.
Snow Pea Spouts with Garlic – excellent version.
Sour Beans with Minced Pork – well-prepared rendition. The green beans are pickled in vinegar, rice wine, pepper and spices for about two weeks.
Sunshine Chinese Vegetable – Chinese cabbage with dried shrimp. A standard Chinese entrée executed here with satisfying results.
Skin of Tangerine with Braised Pork – appealing pork belly prep with little hint of tangerine juice.
Long String Beans with Eggplant – a tasty vegetarian option.
Asparagus with Shredded Pig Stomach – They must have run out of asparagus that day as there were few pieces of it in this lunch special so they added scallions, celery and peppers.
Traditional Hunan has five griddle (干鍋 gān guō) dishes: Pork Intestine, Chicken, Beef, Beer Duck and Frog. They offer fourteen $6.50 lunch specials (with rice) and four slightly more expensive noodle and/or noodle soup dishes from 11 am to 3 pm.
Traditional Hunan Style (天天湘上 - tiān tiān xiāng shàng).
135-23 40th Road (between Prince and Main Streets).
Flushing, NY 11354
Open everyday from 11 to midnight