Yesterday I went to Lin's Taiwanese restaurant in Elmhurst, which I hadn't been to in years, since it was named David's. It was crowded and the food was as good as I remembered. I ordered "zesty intestine", and was rewarded with a casserole, heated by a flaming burner underneath, with intestine, duck's blood and sour cabbage bubbling away in a fiery chili sauce. If this place weren't well known to you all already, I'd devote a long post to it. Instead, I'll tell you about a place I passed on the way there. Hong Kong cooking, and, though fairly big, every seat was taken. I decided to go back, and today I did.
It was quite crowded even on Monday. Monday is traditionally a busy night in poorer parts of Manhattan's Chinatown because so many people work as waiters and a lot of them get Monday off. But Elmhurst, like Flushing, is where people move when they earn enough money to leave Chinatown, so that doesn't apply there. Next to the English menu, they had a menu in Chinese listing about 20 different casseroles. My Chinese is limited, but I chose one on the basis of recognizing two characters and the waiter provided a fuller explanation. I ordered it. A big clay pot came to the table, brimming with big chunks of carp fish, braised or maybe steamed and then coated with batter. There was also fried tofu, mushrooms, scallions, and slices of pork, with a few sprigs of cilantro on top. On bottom was a thin but tasty brown sauce.
It was delicious. I've had as good, and probably better, in Manhattan Chinatown. (I've put a link below to my long Manhattan Chowhound review of one of my favorite Chinatown places.) But there were a lot of casseroles on this menu that I haven't seen anyplace else, so I'll probably go back to try them.
Lin's Taiwanese Cuisine, 84-02 Broadway, (718) 429-4818
High Pearl Seafood Restaurant, 82-22 45 Av (next to Elmhurst Av r train station)
(718) 478-3330 (according to their menu, open till 5 AM everyday)