Fu Ran – Flushing
Fu Ran might look like any other Chinese restaurant on the surrounding blocks, but they are a significant step up in terms of food quality. You will find some very interesting dishes here that are not on the usual radar. The cuisine here is from Liaoning province, in the northeast of China bordering North Korea.
The restaurant is a small, dining area is very nicely decorated and spacious between tables for Flushing standards,well-lit box just south of Roosevelt on Prince, and stands across the street from a city housing project called the Bland Houses – though the menu is anything but bland. In fact, Dongbei diners love powerful flavors, including strong vinegars, green chiles, fermented vegetables, Asian cumin, and pungent fresh herbs like cilantro, green onions, and Chinese celery. (These last three go into a refreshing, palate-cleansing salad called “tiger vegetable.”)
One of a half-dozen Flushing restaurants that hail from Dongbei in far northeastern China, this one excels at cumin-encrusted lamb ribs, fat juicy dumplings, pork stews with sauerkraut, green bean sheet jelly, and anything made with bean-curd skin. Additionally, you can zap your mouth with Sichuan peppercorns at this cheap and plain spot.
What sets it apart is a few signature dishes that keep the crowds coming back for more. Fu Ran restaurant offers a wide array of fine Chinese dishes, ranging from Dumplings, Crispy Beef with Chili Pepper, Sesame Chicken, Pancake, Lo Mein and a whole lot more Dong Bei Food. The Most popular dish is the Muslim Lamb Chops made with really tender lamb, which is smothered in cumin seeds and other spices. The dish really has an interesting kick to it though I found it a little too overwhelming.
If you liked the translucent noodles in the pork with sour cabbage, don’t miss country style green bean sheet jelly , the first offering in the appetizer section. This giant salad arrives fashionably deconstructed into symmetrically arrayed heaps of cucumber, carrot, cilantro, pork, hijiki, shredded omelet, cloud ear fungus, and the namesake noodles, which have nothing to do with green beans — they’re really fettuccini made with mung-bean starch. At the last minute the server tosses them with toasted tahini, making you feel like you’re in a Middle Eastern joint.
The most adventuresome diners will want to try jelly flowers with shallot – jellyfish hearts that look like strange translucent blossoms, possessing a soft-crunchy texture and tasting like almost nothing. Jellyfish is cheap and sustainable, and may become a popular seafood choice in the future.
Other noteworthy dishes are the pancakes filled with glass vermicelli and the country-style green bean sheet jelly.
Fu Ran is not exactly easy for English speakers, but you can get across what you want, and the menu is sufficient. Just don’t expect to order from the specials or signs on the walls. They are very friendly though, and you will feel welcome, something that can be missing from southern Chinese restaurants at times.