Instagram Post 8/1/2019
Named for the waterfront tourist destination in Shanghai that features modern skyscrapers alongside historical architecture, The Bund at 100-30 Queens Blvd in Forest Hills features Shanghainese cuisine alongside customary Chinese fare.
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My dining buddy had his heart set on hock, specifically The Bund Special Crispy Pork Hock – crackling skin, yielding meat, everything you’d want from a hock plus a gratuitous toss of broccoli florets on the side, presumably a colorful nod to healthiness. (Nice try.)
This cold appetizer is one of my favorite Shanghainese dishes. Called “The Bund Special Spongy Gluten with Woodear Mushroom & Peanuts” on the menu (a mouthful, both literally and figuratively), I know it as Kao Fu. Unpacking the description: gluten is made from wheat (you might have sympathy for seitan, a wheat gluten product) – if you purchase it straight in a Chinese market, it looks a bit like whole wheat bread; spongy, an apt adjective because this form soaks up juices as if it were one; wood ear mushrooms (aka cloud ear, black fungus, tree ear fungus, and a raft of other names) don’t have much flavor but they bring contrasting texture to this dish. If there were any peanuts to be found, I didn’t catch them; still, I liked it well enough.