Friday, October 31, 2014

Fu Run

One of the best things about being a food blogger is meeting and eating with other food bloggers!  James of The Eaten Path organizes a dinner every so often, and it’s generally a good time, talking about food, sometimes about blogging, and sometimes… it gets hairy ;)   Hahaha. 

Another great thing is that all of us have different food backgrounds.  I mean, I know only so much about food! and on this occasion, we went to a northeastern Chinese restaurant, which means I really know nothing about it.  I don’t know much about Chinese food; when it comes to mainland China, I know even less.  So Melissa kindly took over ordering duties and put together this incredible menu for all of us to enjoy. 

The first dish was bean sheet and cucumber noodles.  The waitress came by, let us take pictures, then dressed it from a bottle, and tossed it all together for us.  (You’re not imagining things; there is a person to my left who is reading a book.  And yes, she read her book – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – the entire dinner.) 

Here’s a close-up of the serving I took from that dish.  I really enjoyed this – the noodles were cold, lightly savory, and very refreshing with the cucumbers.  Yum!

We also ordered a plate of dumplings. 

They were OK – the thick skin was a little mushy, and the meatwad inside was a little lacking in oomph. 

Next: an eggplant dish!  Oh, I’m not going to know the names of any of these dishes, sorry.  Perhaps Melissa will stop by and share?  ;)   I liked the eggplant; it was cooked very tender but still retained its texture and had a lot of flavor to it. 

This: the Muslim lamb chop; the dish everyone has been talking about.  Completely coated in toasted spices on one side, the meat was very tender and fell right off the bone.  A definite must-order if you go here; the dish is just so unique, and really good… yum! 

I think this was chicken or pork strips.  I ate some of it but it didn’t stand out.  See the people in the background “fighting” over the last of the lamb chops?

Korean penis fish.  I can’t really describe how this tasted: chewy, but springy, and easy to bite through.  I wouldn’t say the flavor was anything either way – not positive, not negative, just… there.  I didn’t dislike it, but I found it too uninteresting to really eat more of that. 

I don’t remember what this was.  I know there’s sea cucumber in there, but I avoided that, because I don’t like sea cucumber.  I tried some of the other stuff and thought it was okay. 

Mapo tofu.  Okay.  Again, nothing outstanding. 

Lamb kidneys…

Yes.  Not for me.  Completely chewy, and super super super organ-tasting.  I chewed it for a little while but then couldn’t go on.  If I’d taken a picture after I discreetly put it back on my plate, it would have looked the same. (Actually, this might actually be a picture of that.  I don’t think I like kidney, or maybe just not this preparation.) 

Plain pancakes. 

Pancakes filled with glass vermicelli and greens.  Not bad. 

And then… something amazing happened.  This arrived.  On the left, a bowl of water.  On the right, deep fried chunks of taro that were quickly tossed with sugar that then melted and coated the pieces of taro. 

Here’s a closer look.  So you want to know why there’s a bowl of water? 

You take a piece of the taro and dip it in the cold water very quickly.  This… no joke, this immediately crystallizes the sugar on the outside. 

You bite into the taro chunk, cracking through the sugar crust, into a soft, completely cooked, delicious piece of taro.  I don’t even normally like taro, but the textural contrast is ridiculous.  A sharp crack as you bite through the crust, and then super soft taro.  So good.  I think I ate like 4 or 5 pieces. 

Of course, one of the biggest drawbacks to eating in a big group of people is the need to be polite.  People waiting for other people to take some and eat it, and people just chatting and not eating… and some of us taking a million photographs of the food (ahem)… well, this is a dish that needs to be eaten quickly, before the sugar hardens and clumps into itself, making all the taro stick together in one big jumble… as demonstrated here by our darling Hungry (that’s her hand).  Ah well. 

Yvo says: Some hits, some misses, but that’s to be expected when things are ordered for a big group and personal tastes aren’t taken into account.  I enjoyed this introduction to the cuisine of northeastern China – thanks again, Melissa!!! – and I would definitely love to go back and explore the menu more, either on my own, with Melissa, and/or with a smaller group.  I definitely recommend anyone go there and get the lamb chop and the taro, though! 
recommended

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Comments

21 Responses to “Fu Run”
  1. TT says:

    a fantastic meal with lots of new dishes for me.

    the Muslim lamb chop was AWESOME!

    the sea cucumber dish was pork shoulder.

    i liked the penis fish. it was pretty unoffensive tasting, but had a nice chewy texture.

    pancakes were pretty terrible, but a good carb to munch on.

    the taro was fun, but 2 pieces were more than enough. too much sugar hurts my teeth. be careful when eating it is HOT!

    Thanks for organizing James! Thanks for ordering Melissa!

    • Sorry I forgot to ask you for input!

    • Hungry says:

      So I went home that night and wrote my notes down knowing very well I would forget all the details when I would need to write my post.

      Anyway, the info:

      green bean glass jelly with cucumbers
      lamb and carrots dumplings
      triple vegetable delight (eggplant, potato, spicy peppers)
      muslim lamb chop
      stir fried pork
      sea intestine/penis fish
      braised pork knuckle (not shoulder) with sea cucumber
      mapo tofu
      fried lamb kidney
      scallion pancake
      leek and egg pancake
      taro in sugar dessert

      Also, my arm is to sexy looking.

      • Noah says:

        Your arm may be sexy looking but Tia and I look insane in that picture. You really had nothing better Yvo? Thanks…

        Yeah, the lamb kidneys are not for me either. It was definitely not the preparation, as they did seem to be really well fried and spiced. They still just tasted like a properly cooked meatwad of piss.

        That eggplant dish is called something like “three vegetable delights.” It’s one of my favorites on the menu. Eggplant (spelled “eggpant”) with potatoes and peppers.

        I really liked the penis fish. I’ve seen it called sea intestines too.

  2. K says:

    The food looks great!

    …but ok sorry, I can’t get over the fact that someone was reading a book during a blogger meetup dinner?!?!?!

  3. CT says:

    Looks like a great meal and a lot of fun!

    I would’ve ‘accidentally’ dropped something on that book! To quote the great Stephanie Tanner: How Rude!

  4. Sarah says:

    ooh how fun! That taro sounds INSANE!

  5. T.C. says:

    The Muslim lamb chops look great!

    Mmm sticky taro. Interesting dish.

    And I wouldn’t mind trying the phallic fish.

  6. esther says:

    I wanna know who was reading as well! That is very odd.

    There’s a Korean dish just like that, where you use cold water to dip the pieces. I would say they can be usually found in Korean/Chinese places. It’s made with regular potatoes, but I’ll bet the taro one is deeelicious!

    • Ah- yeah, this was a Northeastern Chinese region restaurant, so I think that area in China is very close to Korea. I think I heard someone comment about how the dishes are somewhat similar, depending what you order obviously. I might like regular potato better ;)

  7. James Boo says:

    Chichi was reading at the table. Apparently it’s a longstanding habit of hers, and I honestly don’t mind at all. As someone with a history of dealing with and exhibiting various levels of social awkwardness, I think it’s easy to tell the difference between when someone’s making a rude statement and when someone’s idea of what’s acceptable happens to be mildly inconsiderate. I’m much more dismayed when I show up to a meal or event and it turns into a networking event — the insidious norm of self-promotion to me is a greater evil. I invite people to dinner to (hopefully) get to know them better, and if I find out that you read books at the table, then mission accomplished :)

    • TT says:

      speaking of which, i could use another cup of coffee. be right back.

    • I understand your point, and while I don’t entirely disagree, as it happened, the person sitting on my other side turned out to simply be there for the wrong reasons. In all fairness, had I been seated next to just Chichi, and the person on my other side had engaged me in conversation, been more interested in the food, etc., I might have minded the reading less. I suppose I should have called him (the person on my other side) out in the post more, but I happened to catch a photo with her reading in the background, which is easier to explain than the guy’s actions.

      The thing is, social awkwardness aside, there’s a give and take of any interaction, and while I tried to engage Chichi in conversation once or twice, it was made clear to me that the book was more interesting than anything I could offer. This left me feeling incredibly frustrated and much like if I’d gone to dinner alone, which I might have preferred, since at least then I wouldn’t feel like someone was basically saying to me, “You’re not interesting enough for me to put this book down.”

      Honestly, though you say you don’t think it was her making a rude statement, I was informed after dinner that prior to my arrival, she commented aloud to everyone that she’d discovered people found it rude for her to read at the dinner table… and then continued to read her book. To me, that’s rude – stating you know something is rude and then doing it anyway. And I don’t find reading at the table mildly inconsiderate, but rather incredibly rude; I was reprimanded constantly as a child (who read 25 books or more a week, because I didn’t leave the house much) for trying to read at the dinner table. The only time I was allowed to read while eating – and even this was sincerely frowned upon – was when I ate alone.

      At the end of the day, I didn’t make my comment in the post to make anyone feel bad, it was just something I found funny and thought it was obvious in the picture what she was doing.

  8. Lizz says:

    Reading at the table!? How awkward..

    Anyway this post has gotten me excited because I will be dining here tonight! Gimme some chops!

  9. Melissa says:

    Thanks for giving me props for ordering in half-broken Mandarin! Haha, I do love my region’s food though, and glad I could help.

    As for what we had, you did a great job in covering most of it (and awesome photos too!) but I’ll flesh out some of the details:

    Lamb and Carrot dumplings. I thought they were unspectacular too.

    Di San Xian, “Three Treasures from the Earth” – Trio of eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. This, along with the taro “dessert” (called “Ba si”), have always been the most representative Northern Chinese dishes that I grew up with.

    …and I suppose also the “Yu Xiang Rou Si”, Fish-fragrant pork slivers. It just always pops up on the dinner table whenever my family goes out to order. Since I ordered it by name, I’m not sure what it’s listed as on the menu.

    How did the “Sea intestines” get translated into “Korean Penis Fish”? I’m so confused.

    Braised pork elbow with sea cucumbers. Because elbows have long been awaiting their day of culinary recognition. All that belly hogging the spotlight.

    I thought their version of Mapo Tofu was among the better ones that I’ve tasted. No rice needed. ;)

    Haha, I should point out the Chinese have no concept of “Dessert”, so the ba si sometimes comes first, sometimes last. For us, they brought it out last to fit with our concept of meal flow. On a second trip there, other people wanted to try the mixed ba si with apple and sweet potato, but the general consensus was that taro fit the dish best.

    I think that’s all that needed elaboration. Thanks for coming and eating with us. Let’s do it again soon. xo, Melissa

    P.S. I shudder upon looking at the “refreshing” cucumbers.

  10. chakrateeze says:

    I am a read-a-holic. Read all of the time. Even though I am in school, I still average about 3-4 a week (thanks, Kindle!). But never in a million years would I go out to dinner with a group of people and then ignore them. I mean, being expected to nominally interact with your fellow diners isn’t a very outre idea.

    Forget chicken soup, when I’m sick I absolutely crave mapo tofu. It’s soft texture is so comforting, while the garlic and chili makes it interesting. I love eggplant; one of my fave Chinese dishes is Asian eggplants stuffed with shrimp paste and served with black bean paste. The lamb chops looked OUTRAGEOUS! I have had something similar to the fish-fragrant pork slivers. It was pork shoulder cooked with dried oysters and… it was okay. Can’t say it was a favorite, or why in particular I didn’t care for it. Intestine fish. Can’t say that sounds more appetizing than Korean penis fish, but I’ll reserve judgement.

    Great post, Feisty!

    Tracie

  11. jac says:

    next time get the pork Chine! Its a steaming plate of bones that comes with rubber gloves so you can eat with your hands!

    I love the Fun Run.

  12. foodocument says:

    next time try the Chine. A steaming plate of bones that come with a rubber glove so you can eat with your hands!

    Fun RUN!

  13. jenny says:

    Yum, the foods looks amazing here, thanks for covering this place! I love Northern-style Chinese food… sometimes I feel bad about betraying my Cantonese roots because I’ve been preferring the hearty, rustic Northern stuff over Canto stuff. Oh well! I’ll add this place to the list of Flushing places I am going to try!

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