[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

There are times when work takes me to Flushing, and after a busy morning of eating and evaluating dumplings, noodles, and bao, I look for something light and refreshing for lunch. Sure, a nice lamb face salad would do the trick, but I can get that back in Manhattan Chinatown. I haven't yet seen this noodle-like Bean Jelly with Special Sauce ($5) downtown, and if nothing else, it gives me an excuse to visit the food court at the New World Mall. Always a good idea, that.

I'm not sure what's meant by special sauce, but from what I've observed it's a blend of eight or so components ladled with methodical precision over floppy prisms of cool bean jelly. Chile oil, roasted chile, and a hint of Sichuan peppercorns dominate, but the cold bean jelly really takes ma-la to the next level. The jelly is cool, clean, and incredibly refreshing, but when set against the fiery chile and numbing peppercorns it sends your taste buds into a 404 error. Something this hot and spicy just shouldn't taste so light and ethereal. But it does, and it puts out the fire just long enough to go for another bite. And another. And another.

A question for you, eaters. I know I can get a version of this dish at Legend in Chelsea, but do you know of any spots in Chinatown? Help a newly minted bean jelly addict out.

Chong Qing Hot Pot

New World Mall Food Court
40-21 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11354 (map)

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.


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