Chinese Fried Pancake – Preserved Egg Sausage

In my last post, I wrote about Chinese Fried Pancake at 136-55 Roosevelt Ave and their humongous Mixed Grain Fried Pancake. (Correct me if I’m wrong but I think they opened sometime around November in 2020 when I was laying low.) Their signage for Preserved Egg Sausage caught my eye.

I’ve had a lot of experience with – and am a fan of – Chinese preserved eggs (aka century eggs, hundred year old eggs, thousand year old eggs, millennium eggs – do I hear epoch eggs?). When eggs are preserved in this fashion, they develop an intense flavor and aroma, the yolk turns a grayish green color with a creamy consistency, and the white becomes a gelatinous translucent brown. But I had never seen them in a sausage format.

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They’re sold as a pair of links, 8 inches long and 1½ inches in diameter; for this photo, I left one whole and propped up a cross section of its twin for display. In terms of taste, I was surprised that it was devoid of any unpleasant sulphurous/ammonia overtones often associated with the original; in my opinion it was quite tasty and not completely out of bounds for the average Western palate.

The bluish grey body of the sausage has the texture of a regular hardboiled egg and is a little salty but not overly so; I’m honestly not certain what goes into the making of it. (Possibly regular egg white with something that alters the color?) Embedded within that are bits of century egg yolk that have the creamy, slightly textured quality of hardboiled egg yolk, and bits of amber century egg white.


Closeup of a slice in what passes for normal lighting in my apartment. You can see the century egg yolk near the top and the century egg white near the bottom.


Closeup of the same slice, rotated counterclockwise and backlit, because I love that color.


So aside from playing with it, I used it in the context of congee laced with chunks of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and scallions.

You know me: always looking for something different. This counts. 😉
 
 

Chinese Fried Pancake – Mixed Grain Fried Pancake

Flashback to a couple of months ago when I set out to reconnoiter the changes in Flushing that had occurred during my pandemically enforced quarantine. The escalator was being refurbished that day, so I speedily clambered up the subway stairs with a plan to cover as much territory as possible and a list of new (to me) places to check out, keenly aware that I’d better keep moving, sharklike, if I wanted to fulfill my mission.

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But practically at the top of the staircase, I spotted Chinese Fried Pancake at 136-55 Roosevelt Ave – not on my list, but certainly enticing. Hurriedly, I ordered their signature Mixed Grain Fried Pancake; I requested the “regular” which contained egg, “crisp”, scallion, cilantro, lettuce, preserved mustard greens, and black sesame seeds. But in my haste to cleave to my schedule, I had completely missed the part of the menu listing the available add-ons including tofu skin, shredded potatoes, pork floss, nori, spicy gluten, New Orleans (really?) boneless chicken leg, Spam, Taiwanese sausage, bacon, ham sausage, and more which would have undoubtedly elevated the experience. I definitely need to go back and do some customization.


In any event, it was huge, almost unwieldy, and very filling – but certainly not the way I had intended to start a day of eating my way through Flushing’s Chinatown.

They offer quite a selection of other dishes as well like popcorn chicken, grilled squid, stinky tofu and Dongbei cold noodle to mention some of the more appealing options.


Unfurled, revealing inner workings – telltale post-bite scallopy fringe in evidence along bottom.

But there was also signage for something even more intriguing called Preserved Egg Sausage that I knew would be a prime candidate for some domestic examination when time wasn’t at a premium.

Stay tuned to see what happened next….
 
 

Fat Cat Flatbread

Prowling around what remains of Flushing’s food court scene with an eye toward revitalizing my ethnojunket there, I visited Fat Cat Flatbread, stall #6 in the New York Food Court at 133-35 Roosevelt Ave.

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As you might infer, their sole menu item is freshly made flatbread, at once crispy at the edges and yielding within, perhaps a little like a thin pizza crust; it’s available in seven varieties: pork, black pepper beef, preserved vegetable with pork, BBQ chicken, salted egg yolk & pork floss, maple sugar (really?), and red bean. Since I’m a salted egg yolk fan, I opted for that one. It was tasty, if a little monotone, and certainly more of a snack than anything else.

I wish I had chosen a different filling that might have held the promise of a heartier treat, but I imagine this is something you want to consume hot and fresh and the thought of downing two of them on the spot was daunting. There’ll be a next time.


Freshly prepared – scored…


…and folded.
 
 

Followsoshi

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Yes, you do want this.

It’s a cross section of one of Followsoshi’s unique Roasted Cold Noodles and it tastes just as delicious as it looks. Construction is similar to that of a Jian Bing (they offer those as well) but significantly, this delicacy starts with a pair of white, striated, prepared “noodles” instead of a pancake:

It’s griddled, topped with a multiplicity of fillings and folded into the beauty you see at the top.

The slideshow chronicles the ingredients and procedure that went into our Meat Lover Roasted Cold Noodles – two eggs, followed by black sesame seeds and cilantro, then onion on the grill; it’s flipped and sauced, topped with parmesan cheese, bacon, crab stick, and BBQ sausage, then adroitly folded and portioned out:

The finished product – highly recommended:

In addition to the half dozen or so predetermined styles, there are 13 extra toppings from which you can pick and choose along with nine kinds of Jian Bing with three “Batter Upgrades” (green spinach, purple rice and red beetroot) boasting 18 optional fillings of their own.

There’s also a section of the menu called Chinese Gourmet that lists patties, rolls (ever had a “Rolling Donkey” rice roll?), bao, and braised dishes, but I’m saving those – and the Jian Bing – for a future visit.

Followsoshi is located at 135-24 40th Rd in Flushing, Queens. Of course. 😉
 
 

Heat Noodle – Second Heat

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Resist the urge to expect this to taste like some kind of bagel. Despite outward appearances, this morsel of savory perfection is not bready, but more “potatoey” for lack of a better description, and even that doesn’t quite nail it. You’re looking at two orders (one flipped) of Heat Noodle’s delicious Fried Sweet Potato Doughnut. (Don’t expect it to taste like a doughnut either.) Topped with black sesame seeds, crispy at the edges, soft and creamy-chewy within, it’s another must-try.


The inner workings.

It’s easy to walk past Heat Noodle (aka Wuhan Foodie, Inc.) at 135-21 40th Road in Flushing – even more than once! Here are a few window and door images to help you find your way.

You can read the first Heat Noodle post here.
 
 

Heat Noodle

It only seems like decades ago when I was a regular visitor to the hallowed food court in New World Mall. Back then, I was drawn to stall #10, Heat Noodle, and their Wuhan cuisine, and had every intention of eating my way through their entire menu (like I do). Then COVID-19 entered the picture. Full stop.

Although the pandemic isn’t over yet, I’m back in Flushing a couple of times a week making up for lost time and restructuring my ethnojunkets since some businesses have closed, but happily, there are new openings in the neighborhood as well. (Regular readers know that an ethnojunket is a food-focused walking tour through one of New York City’s many ethnic enclaves.)

Heat Noodle has since graduated into its own venue at 135-21 40th Road and their talent in the kitchen is top notch. For many reasons, I’m jazzed that Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in the eastern central part of China, is getting some culinary love.

Our group was keen to try a variety of noodle dishes on offer. Sesame paste figures into many of these but sufficient additional ingredients provide differing, if subtle, shades of flavor. The chew of Wuhan style noodles is key, and the variety of toppings such as preserved or fresh vegetables kept redundancy to a minimum.

Here are a few of the items we tried, in no special order:

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Hot Dry Noodle. A1 on the menu and a must-eat, Hot Dry Noodle (rè gān miàn, 热干面) is famous as the breakfast of champions in Hubei Province. Preserved veggies (pickled radish and chopped long bean, I believe) and fresh scallion topped the chewy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy noodz.


Cucumber Salad with Garlic Spicy Sauce. You may have ordered this dish (or one similar) in Sichuan restaurants – it’s a palate cleanser in some ways – and I almost ignored it, but this was the best rendition I have ever tasted; I’m glad I didn’t pass it up. Lots of black pepper, scallions, and cilantro and tons of flavor.


Wuhan Style Cool Noodle, a touch sweet and tangy. The artfully shredded strips of pink are Chinese ham.


And the obligatory noodle-lift.


Wuhan Doupi. My understanding is that the outer wrap is a pancake made from bean powder, eggs, milk, and flour; it cradles a sticky rice filling and is served with diced meat and bits of seasoned tofu. Tasty, like everything else at Heat Noodle.


Closeup of the three elements.


Burning Noodle. Not fiercely spicy, but you can kick it up if you like. Another variation on the theme of al dente noodles with sesame paste, soy sauce, and (I’m guessing) garlic and chili oil. These are more slender than the Hot Dry Noodles and therefore bring a different texture to the dish. Topped with peanuts, sesame seeds, scallions, and pickled vegetable.
 
 

So that concludes round one, but I’ll return for another heat in the very near future. Gotta try some other, different dishes – and they have quite a few of those.

Remember: These are not your mama’s noodles – unless, of course, your mama is from Wuhan. They’re different enough from what you might have experienced elsewhere, so curb your assumptions and head over to Heat Noodle; you’re in for a treat.

Stay tuned for more….
 
 

Panshi Restaurant

For me, one of life’s pleasures is wandering into a steamtable-equipped ethnic restaurant with compliant eager eaters in tow and pointing at a succession of trays filled with often unidentifiable goodies until we decide that we’ve probably ordered enough to stuff everyone to the gills. (I know. I’m easy.) In this case, it was Panshi Restaurant at 168-37/39 Hillside Ave in Jamaica, Queens. I had been craving Bangladeshi food, their specialty, and what came to the table was potent and satisfying.

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In addition to rice, dal, roti, and salad, we selected four vegetable dishes, pumpkin, borboti (long green beans), palak vaji (spinach), and alu vaji (fried shredded potato).


We opted for two kinds of bhortha (you may see bharta or similar spellings), potato (aloo) and eggplant (baingan). Bhorta is an intensely flavored vegetable mash, usually redolent of mustard oil, that’s used as a condiment: check out the two bowls at the top of this photo.

And speaking of gills, if you go to a Bangladeshi restaurant, you do want to order fish. (Why? Examine the unobstructed access to both fresh and salt water on a map. From Banglapedia: “In Bangladesh there are 401 species of marine fishes and 251 species of inland fishes in fresh water and brackish water.” Not bad for a country the size of New York State.) The three bowls at the bottom of the photo are shrimp and vegetables, a dish she called “small fish” and another dish she called “small fish”. The check read “shoal fish”, but from photos on the interwebs, those are considerably larger than these. Still, very tasty.

Panshi also touts a catering service and a menu including Chinese and Pan-Asian fare, but stick with the dishes from Bangladesh if you go.
 
 

Tulcingo Restaurant

Part of what I’m calling the “Golden Oldies” series: photos I had posted on Instagram in bygone days that surely belong here as well, from restaurants that are still doing business, still relevant, and still worth a trip.

In a recent post I noted that there are seemingly dozens of restaurants along the Latin American strip on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and no, I’m not going to try to eat my way through all of them. But back in April, 2017, we visited one of the neighborhood’s better known eateries and it did not disappoint. Tulcingo, at 5520 5th Ave, offers an extensive menu and we barely scratched the surface. Here are a few photos:

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Birria (it’s a two syllable word) hails from the Mexican state of Jalisco. I don’t recall if this dish was as trendy then as it is now, but I do recall that Tulcingo’s rendering was a tasty one. It’s essentially a meat stew, customarily made with goat although this version is Birria de Res so beef is the star of the show. Birria distinguishes itself from similar recipes in that the meat is marinated in savory adobo before it goes into the stew pot – and you can taste the difference.


And while we’re on the subject of beef, these are Tacos de Lengua, tongue for the uninitiated – so tender that I was about to describe it as meat that melts in your mouth but I thought the better of it. Delicious.


Shifting the focus from head to toe, or more specifically from mouth to limb, this is Pierna Adobada, pork leg, marinated and roasted to perfection.


Plato Barbacoa de Chivo. If you’ve never tried goat before, this is a good way to do it because you don’t have to wrestle with extricating bits of meat from a carcass – no bones about it. Barbacoa is marinated and traditionally steamed in a pit which guarantees juicy results although other methods of preparation can be just as successful; it’s pulled and shredded for serving.


Rice and beans to stave off teasing about how meat-heavy our dinner had been!
 
 
Tulcingo is located at 5520 5th Ave in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
 
 

Look by Plant Love House

Part of what I’m calling the “Golden Oldies” series: photos I had posted on Instagram in bygone days that surely belong here as well, from restaurants that are still doing business, still relevant, and still worth a trip.

Here are some pix from multiple occasions in 2016 and 2017 that were taken at Look by Plant Love House, the cozy Thai restaurant at 622 Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. I dined there on a number of occasions and liked their Thai home cooking so much that I subsequently brought an assortment of foodie friends there to check it out as well. (Apologies for the grainy photos – I used the wrong film in the camera 😉 – but I can assure you that the food was significantly better than the pix!) In no special order:

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Chiang Mai Khao Soy, a Thai classic that highlights noodles two ways: Soft egg noodles swaddling chicken in Chiang Mai curry sauce topped with crispy egg noodles, accompanied by red onion, pickled cabbage, cilantro and lime.


Guay Tiao Num Tok (Pork Blood Noodle Soup). Don’t be squeamish about this one now that you know its ingredients; it deserves the popularity it enjoys back home! Thai boat noodle soup flavored with palm sugar, vinegar and Thai chili featuring sliced pork, pork balls, Chinese broccoli, and bean sprouts.


Hor Mok Pla, a seasonal special. As described on their menu: “a pair of banana-leaf cups filled with an airy, mousselike custard of finely ground fish, decorated with coconut cream, finely julienned makrut lime leaf, and red chili threads.” According to Wikipedia, the dish is associated with marriage because the marriage of ingredients within it is representative of the love of a married couple. And since everyone I shared it with seems to love the dish, that sounds about right to me.


Khao Kluk Kapi. Fried rice mixed with shrimp paste formed and surrounded by fried mackerel, Thai sausage, fried eggplant, shredded omelet, and more.


Khao Pad Nam Prik Pla Too. Another spicy shrimp paste rice platter (khao means rice), this time served with a fried whole mackerel, fried eggplant, steamed carrots and broccoli, a boiled egg and (if memory serves) fermented shrimp paste dip.


Moo Manow – moo means pork (easy to remember because of the barnyard irony); this dish consists of juicy chunks of pork dressed in garlic-chili-lime sauce served over Chinese baby broccoli.


Nam Prik Ong. Pork rinds, broccoli, and cucumber (plus jasmine sticky rice not in this photo) served with Chiang Mai’s favorite medium-spicy dipping sauce made from minced pork and tomatoes.


Num Prik Phow Tom Yum Goong Yai. Sounds like a mouthful, but let’s break it down: “num prik phow” = Thai chili paste; “tom” = to boil and “yum” is the spicy hot and sour salad you know and love, hence “tom yum” = hot and sour soup; “goong” = shrimp; “yai” = large. The menu description is “rice noodle in Thai chili paste soup with jumbo shrimp, homemade pork patty, bacon, and soft boiled egg. Not sure if the bacon is in there to complement the egg, but we sent our compliments to the chef. As I think about it, in either language, that is a mouthful – and a delicious one at that!


Pla Lui Suan. Fried fillet of red snapper covered with Thai herbs (makrut lime leaves, galangal, red onion, shallot, and mint), topped with cashew nuts and fresh chili-lime sauce.


Yum Pak Boong Grob. Crispy watercress salad with chili-lime sauce, shrimp, and minced pork, topped with crispy shallots, cilantro and peanuts. The green vegetable is known by a raft of names – fitting because it’s semiaquatic: water spinach, kangkong, Chinese watercress, morning glory, and water convolvulus to name a few; you can identify it in Asian markets by its hollow stems. Translation: yum = spicy salad, pak boong = water spinach, grob = crispy (because it’s fried).


Panang Ped. Roasted farm-raised half duck in panang curry paste, coconut milk, makrut lime leaves, string beans, and bell pepper.
 
 
Look by Plant Love House is located at 622 Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
 
 

Cheeseboat

A dear friend from our prehistoric ivy-covered days at Yale was visiting from California and staying in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My challenge was to introduce him to a cuisine he probably had never sampled while still not schlepping him miles away from his accommodations pro tem. The solution was Cheeseboat, 80 Berry Street in Williamsburg – Georgian food sans subway excursion.

Cheeseboat features Georgia’s greatest culinary hits and there were three that I particularly wanted him to try:

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We started with the Pkhali Sampler. Pkhali is often described as a vegetable pâté, a spread, a dip, or even a salad – all approximately correct. In essence, it consists of a cooked single type of vegetable plus walnuts, garlic and cilantro, ground together into a paste. The veggie component can range from carrots, beans, or eggplant to a host of others; among the most common, and on today’s plate from the top counterclockwise, are beets, spinach, and leeks, served in this case with mchadi, Georgian corn bread, and spiced oyster mushrooms.


These are Khinkali, stuffed with seasoned ground beef, which the menu describes as “soup dumplings”.

<rant> I’ve seen that portrayal elsewhere and it really gets my goat. I mean, I guess it’s a triumph of sorts that soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are so ubiquitous now that any dumpling shaped vaguely like xlb is called a soup dumpling. Soup dumplings are delicious; they contain soup. Khinkali are delicious; they do not. Similarity of appearance does not imply similarity of contents. You know, like books. </rant>

Now, the cool thing about khinkali is that topknot of twisted dough. Not only does it form a protective structural seal, but it also provides a convenient handle by which you can elevate the treat from plate to mouth. I’m told you’re not really supposed to eat that appendage, and I agree that it’s a little chewy, but that doesn’t stop me. Try lubricating it with the thoughtfully provided “traditional garlic Nee’ortskali sauce” (Ortskali is a river in Georgia). Yum.


The obligatory inner workings shot. Note the absence of soup.


If you’ve had any experience with Georgian food, you probably know about khachapuri, the Georgian cheese bread that comes in several varieties. One of the most popular is adjaruli, although it’s only referred to as a cheeseboat here. But since that’s the name of the restaurant and they offer fourteen not-quite-Georgian variations on their specialty from mushroom to steak to shrimp, I’ll accept the conceit. This is the standard variation. Shaped like a kayak, the center of which is filled with cheese, a raw egg and a chunk of butter are added just as it’s removed from the oven. Stir the mixture: the egg cooks and combines with the butter and melted cheese. Break off pieces of the bread and dip them into the cheese mixture. Hot bread with melted buttery cheese that you eat with your hands, fresh out of the oven – what’s not to like?