Xiao Dong Bei (Little Northeastern) is the latest northeastern Chinese restaurant in Flushing – from owners Chef Hou Qiang (候强 － Hóu Qiáng ) and his wife Wang Chunling (王春玲 - Wáng Chūnlíng). Chef Hou is from Fushun, in Liaoning province and Ms. Wang is from Heilongjiang. They’ve been open about 16 months. It’s not large (but is bright and clean) with only eight tables and about 44 seats. Both times I was there they were fairly busy.
Xiao Dong Bei features a pan-Chinese menu with lots of Sichuan and Shanghai dishes in addition to Northeastern Chinese fare. It shows the popularity and spread of Sichuan and Shanghai style cuisines within China’s cities. A house specialty (which I did not try) is Steamed Fish Head with Chilies – originally a Hunan dish. Another is Fish Fragrant Pork – which has found its way onto American-Chinese menus.
The dumplings (Sour Cabbage and Pork; Leek, Shrimp and Egg) were solid northeastern presentations. Dried Fish with Korea Sauce was mildly spicy, cold and delicious. Their signature dishes were Twice Cooked Pork with Garlic Shoots – with homemade cured bacon and Conch with Special House Sauce. I've eaten far too many Twice Cooked Pork dishes recently but this is the best so far. The conch was expertly cooked and very tender. A surprise was Mixed Assorted – a plate of cold vegetables with a bean sauce on the side for dipping. Ms. Wang told me eating raw vegetables has been a staple of Northeastern Chinese cuisine at least for the past 30 years – especially right after harvest time. The salty and slightly hot jarred bean sauce was supplemented with eggs and ground pork. A slightly sweet Shredded Pork dish was served with sheets of tofu skin for wrapping. Red-cooked Pork with Cabbage Stew was a large hearty bowl of goodness.
The menu is in both English and Chinese – although they said they are getting ready to switch to their winter Chinese menu. They even have a large menu in English and Chinese with color photos. The staff is very friendly with at least two waiters named Michael - including one who used to work at Golden Palace. They offer about 24 lunch (11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) specials for $5.79 and that includes soup and rice.
Xiao Dong Bei (小東北 xiǎodōngběi)
133-51 37th Ave. (between Prince Street & College Point Blvd).
Flushing, NY 11354
Open everyday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight