Off the Beaten Path: A Surprising One-Dollar Find at Flushing's Guangyuan Jinweishifang

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[Photos: Joe DiStefano]

The awning for Guangyuan Jinweishifang depicts a steaming bowl of noodle soup. Sure enough, just inside the doorway of this new restaurant on a bustling block in Flushing's Chinatown, there's a gent making hand-pulled noodles. I tried the beef and pork varieties ($4.50). Both were quite good, with properly al dente noodles and rich broths. There is also an excellent jia cai he zi, or chive pie ($1.50), a specialty of Tianjin. Makes sense, since the name of the joint translates roughly to house of many tasty things from Tianjin. Sadly, their barbecued meats are not among the tastiest things; the pork was overcooked.

Guangyuan Jinweishifang's strangest item, after the jump.

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No, it's not a falafel ball. It's a long wan zi, or dragon's eye meatball. (Dragon's eye is another name for longan fruit.)

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A look at the innards reveal this one-dollar treat is Tianjin's answer to the Scotch egg. That's right, long wan zi, is a hard-boiled chicken egg rolled in ground pork and then fried. I'd never eaten this classic British snack, much less the Chinese version. It had been sitting in the steam table for a bit so the outside wasn't so crisp, but it was delicious, if a tad salty.

My dining companion, Chinese food expert Jaqueline M. Newman, publisher of Flavor & Fortune, had never seen anything like it. Another friend whose husband is British brought home a few for her old man, and he liked them well enough.

Clearly, the folks who work in the spot next door also like long wan zi; as we were leaving one of them walked out with four. Only in Flushing can one find a British snack by way of Tianjin.

Guangyuan Jinweishifang

135-23 40th Road, Flushing NY 11354 (map) 718-888-0880