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Waterfront International Enterprises (Flushing NY)
||40-09 Prince Street,|
Flushing, NY 11354
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2007 Issue: 14(3) page: 26 and 36
This restaurant has has been touted as everything, but only once as the Dongbei restaurant in Queens that it is. English-language reports also fail to advise its Chinese name, Dongbei Furen, which loosely translated means 'East North People's Restaurant.'
One food reporter touted this place as where to go to satisfy a jellyfish craving. There are five such dishes, but so much more. One of these, Jelly Flowers w. Shallot uses an unusual piece of jellyfish that does look like a flower. Beautiful it may be, but it was tough and rubbery; and we could hardly chew it.
That same reporter never said the chef was from Dalian, a city that should have been a tip-off. In all fairness, he indicated the food was from the northeast, spoke of one dish resembling Korean food, and may not know there is such a thing as Dongbei cuisine. A look at a map, such as the one in the last issue did show its three provinces bordering on Korea.
The Lamb Tripe Soup, the Cabbage & Tofu Soup, and the Sauteed Sour Cabbage w. Rice Noodle does tip tastes to the regional food served in tis region. So do the many lamb dishes and those using lamb liver, kidneys, or stomach. Another give-away is checking the awning outside, then reading and seeing the dish called Stew Miscellaneous Fish w. Home Style Cookies. Outside and in, one sees it in its in a small wok with cornbread-type dough adhering to the wok sides.
Did you ever see a Chinese dish served at table and in a wok with corn dumplings around? If the answer is yes, you probably have been in a Dongbei restaurant or in the Dongbei region where corn and corn flour is used a lot, and wok dishes are common. So are dishes with pickled cabbage, referred to here to as 'sour cab.' You might know that as sauerkraut.
One delicious appetizer reminds of my grandmother's cooking. She lived on the Russian-Polish border and made a cold gelatinous dish of cows' feet. Dongbei provinces meet Russia, and its cuisine serves a related dish called Skin Jelly. One difference is that it is made with skin encasing the feet of pigs. Their dish, shown on this page, looks like her cooking.
On a first visit, we had the Jelly Flowers with Shallot and also enjoyed Fried Lamb w. Scallion, Shrimp w. Loofah Vegetable, Sauteed Stomach with Garlic Sauce, and the Skin Jelly dish. On another, that Stew Miscellaneous dish with cornbread, the things they called cookies served in a wok was enjoyed. So were the Sour Cabbage w. Pork Dumpling and their Leek Dumplings, Stew Bean Dumplings, and Celery Dumplings. They handle dough dishes well in the Dongbei region and their Home Made Style Noodles, the Pork, Egg Thick Noodle Soup, the Noodle w. Shredded Pickle, and the Tofu Stew in Casserole w. Sour Cabbage and Pork were wonderful, too.
On subsequent visits we try and love the Meat Ball in Casserole, Triple Pork Intestines, and the Tofu & Seafood in Casserole. We are working our way through their large menu offerings, and recommend that others do the same. One friend who came with us once loved the Pork w. Agaric & Egg and the Tomato w. Sliced Pork & Egg. The agaric, she learned, was much like gelatin, and she said she hates Jello but loves this dish. She also fell in love with several sweet dishes including one made with apple, another with taro.
While some may question the ingredients when reading the menu, this lady loved the Pork w. Sour Cabbage & Pig Blood Cake in Casserole even when she wondered how those dark squares were made. She did not connect they were congealed pieces of blood. She also liked Baby Squid w. Black Bean Paste, though once she did tell us she does not eat squid and other squiggly things. She calls often asking when we are going back, and has learned to try before commenting on what she likes and dislikes. Tired of waiting for us invite her, she now takes other friends there and tells them what we have told her for years. She is a convert to the Dongbei cuisine; when you try it, you probably will be, too.