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Fouzou on E.B'way

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Fouzou on E.B'way

HLing | Feb 22, 2002 06:41 AM

Finally made it to east B'way over the weekend. First the street food:

the "green sandich" that Mr. Trillin mentioned are regular items at this part of Chinatown.

There's the deep-fried bean sprout/chives donut studded with skin-on fried peanuts. We had it hot out of the frying oil. I think I'm going to call it the Chinese arepa. The outer layer is crispy while the inside is moist with the sprouts. It's a keeper.

There's the beautiful "Bing Tung Hooloo", an item I've always read about in tales of China, but have never tasted. It's preserved crab apples each coated with translucent red hard candy, strung up on a stick(5 or 6 of them). As luscious as the ads for glossy lipsticks. If you do bite into them, though, beware of the little seeds.

Next there's the sesame studded, palm sized bread that looked quite plain, and tasted plain, too, except for the extremely chewy texture. They're chewier than the chewist bagels I've had.

The Fouzhou cuisine favors taro. Instead of the radish/turip cake, they have taro cake. The good ones should have little bits of dried baby shrimp in them.

Lots more items unexplored still.

We then went to a Fouzhou cuisine restaurant. Since I've done so much research on the special wonton skin made of pounded pork and yam flour I ordered a bowl of the "Swallow Ball" soup and a bowl of meat-filled fish ball soup. As with the phenomenon of mediocre Bahn-Mi in restaurants, I think same can be said about these two dishes. The best I've had is still from the little shack in Flushing. Anyone trying Swallow balls and fish balls soup for the first time should try to get it from a stand that does only these dishes in order to get a fair impression. Once you get them, it's customery to add the white vinegar and white pepper to the soup.

Now to the next interesting dish, we ordered the special pan fried fish noodles. These are linguini size noodles made of fish and flour mixture. To call it al dente would not be quite accurate. The noodles are cooked through, but are quite firm. We asked for razor clams fish noodles. If you love the razor clam texture, you'll like this noodle, as the textures are similar and so complimented each other well. We also like the stir fried pea shoots. Both the pea shoots and the pan fried noodles are moist, but not soupy or overly oily.

Looking at the menu I realized that Fouzhou cuisine is indeed unique. It's dominated by fish, water fowl, and offals. Lots of snail, clams of all sorts, Fresh and salt water fish, and frogs. They offer sashimi guiduk(sp?), listed as elephant nose clam. There are all sorts of noodle soup, including steamed duck, and rabbit. They are quite proud of the texture of their noodles and so you could order a plate of cooked noodles, plain and dry, with simple garnish/sauce of your choice, sort of like the dan dan noodles. Other Fouzhou fares include eel, (or razor clam, or rabbit) cooked in a broth of Chinese wine and ginger. This is not the same as adding some wine for flavor, but more like you could get drunk after drinking the "soup". It's a strong, and simple dish that requires an acquired taste. Get it only if you enjoy warm sake.

In general, Fouzhou cuisine is very down to earth and humble. It seems the natural diet for rice farmers. I wonder if the reason they don't have much beef on the menu comes from the heavy reliance on water buffalo as labor.

Looking forward to trying more.

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