The 7 train and Cantonese food ~ Orderinny

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The 7 train and Cantonese food

There is something about the 7 train that I find utterly charming. It could be the fact that it hurtles through the railway tracks at breakneck speed, as though the train drivers are paid according to how fast they drive, or that it rumbles unapologetically throughout the entire trip to finally spit its passengers out into the heart of mainland china. In any case, for manhattanites smittened with teochew duck and taiwanese oyster omelettes, you would have to endure the slightly painful journey via the 7 train to get to Flushing to get to those local delicacies.

Cantonese food, however is another matter. Manhattan's Chinatown is the stronghold for early chinese immigrants who hailed from Hong Kong and Guangzhou, and consequently, there is no lack of decent cantonese restaurants on the island, from the hole-in-the wall Hong Kong style cafes to large banquet restaurants. In fact, Ruoying and I had enjoyed a really enjoyable and dirt-cheap lunch at New Wonton Garden just the other day.

Ruoying's ordered the namesake wonton noodles with charsiew and the wontons were plump and juicy while the egg noodles had just the right elasticity to it. My beef brisket with hor fun was equally impressive and I slurped up every single drop of the flavorful beef broth, no doubt boiled for long hours over slow heat in a pot that probably gets a good scrub once every 5 years.

Given the ample supply of fair to good cantonese restaurants in the city, it would seem strange that we chose to eat at a Cantonese restaurant for dinner at Flushing last night. It was less a conscious decision but more a result borne out of a series of happy accidents yesterday:
1. First deciding to go to Flushing for dinner after finding out that taking the E train followed by a transfer on the 7 train would cut travelling time by 15 mins (after 1 yr, me and the subway system still don't get along)
2. Getting there for free, after a tourist who was going home but still had money in his metrocard kindly offered his card, with the remaining value to the first person he saw in the station (me!)
3. Choosing the restaurant by getting lost in Queens and finally stumbling onto prince street, then marching into the restaurant based on the crowd of old folks and their kids standing impatiently outside, without any notion about cuisine they served. We figured that if the cantonese grandpas and grandmas can stomach the wait outside, in a not so cool night, to eat here, so could we. It was only after we had stepped out of the restaurant at the conclusion of a great meal that we discovered, located on the old-fashioned red awnings, are 2 capitalized words "Canton Gourmet".
But what an awesome meal it was! Between my sister and I, we had garlic stir-fried spinach, less oily and light on the seasoning that several other versions we have had in other restaurants; a fine steamed chicken boldly flavored with a viscous ginger sauce and some unidentifiable chinese herbs; and a plate of sweet and succulent shrimp, deep fried with the lightest coat of batter and then flash fried with a mixture of minced shallots, ginger, garlic, scallions and dried red peppers. YUM...And once again, we left wondering, "how do the chinese restaurateurs manage to make a profit by charging us so little?" Our only regret was not coming out to Flushing with a couple more people, so that we could try more dishes, such as the goose web casserole; the cereal crab, which was a house specialty and really great looking steamed fish, whereby the patrons get to choose the fish from the big tanks adorning an entire wall and then elect the way they want it cooked. Well, another time, another meal, another subway ride...

New Wonton Garden
56 Mott St (at Bayard St)

Canton Gourmet
38-08 Prince St, Flushing

1 comment:

Peishan said...

damn. the food looks good!