When the New York Times article about the wealth of regional fare on offer in Flushing came out earlier this week, I was glad to see the old gray lady give a fresh look at a scene myself and others have been covering for some time. Due to journalistic pride I was also glad no mention was made of Tian Jin Restaurant, particularly since it's right next to the White Bear, a spot where Julia Moskin ate. I’ve poked my head into Tian Jin a few times to ogle trays of glistening zhu ti, or pig's feet, but hadn’t tried any until yesterday. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm not the world's biggest fan of pig's feet unless they're done up crispy.
Tian Jin's zhu ti might just make me a convert. The hooves have been cooked to such a degree that the soft skin can barely contain the wobbly bits of gelatin that cling to the bones. That might sound gross to some, but it is a decidedly delicious affair to others. Messy too; so messy that it requires a pair of thin plastic gloves to handle the hooves. But the real appeal of these little piggies is the five-spice and soy flavor that sings through every bit of skin, fat, flesh and gelatin. It'll have you singing wee wee wee all the way home.
Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant
135-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens NY 11354 (map)