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A Fan Ti (Flushing in Queens NY)
||136-80 41st Avenue,|
Flushing, NY 11355
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2009 Issue: 16(4) page: 31
A Fan Ti is one of the few restaurants representing Northern Chinese foods from the Silk Road. Using its original name but sporting new old and young owners, this restaurant serves lots of lamb, other organ meats, goat, tongue, tripe, and other less well-known and less-popular novelties from the Xinjiang region. These are foods loved by Uygher folk.
On a recent visit, their new menu not yet translated into English, we dined sumptuously in their less that sumptuous surroundings. At one lunch, we began with a four kimchi-type starter platter, a dinner the same week had eight items, all set to serve four; and we were only two. They were hot and heavenly, and almost enough for a meal the two of us. The Korean vegetables that followed one lunch were on skewers alternated with hot peppers and squares of tender lamb. These were grilled on a table in the center of the restaurant, their aroma alone woke our taste buds and said good food was on its way.
On one visit, we had skewers of lamb with cumin, wonderful reminders of foods in the Xinjiang region. We did order items we knew, translated for us, and a couple we knew not what they were. As indicated, the only menu they had was in Chinese and we were told the English one is coming soon. But it was not soon enough for our three visits over three weeks. So we pointed and once were presented with a cold platter of pickled things including cloud ear fungi, cucumbers, eggs, cold lamb, and surimi, all surrounding a huge pile of noodles bathed in a peanut sauce.
One order of grilled lamb ribs had been boiled before hitting the grill, and as we waited, again our nostrils were on alert. A last dish one lunch came after we were asked if we like dumplings. After shaking heads enthusiastically, some seventeen yummy boiled ones filled with minced, you guessed it, lamb, and mixed with minced scallions arrived along with a very garlicy dipping sauce.
Tea was not tea; that is it was barley tea. When someone came to eat who could speak better English, they explained that these folk lived where there was a strong Korean influence. There must have been a Dongbei influence, as well, as the rice was made with millet, and soft and super, and the dumplings were meat and pickled cabbage.
Forgot to mention, one evening, had a small leg of lamb with pepper and salt, some lamb with vegetables, tea-smoked meat (a customer said it was pork, but these restaurant folk were Muslim, so we did doubt that), a lamb stew with a few organ meats and not a spice in sight. And some lamb chops swimming in hot red oil.
This Southern/Northern Uyghur eatery has foods from many lesser known places. Should you want to be in the know, check them out. The English-language menu with help us all learn lots about some foods Chinese eat that most know nothing about.