Lao Dong Bei – northern Chinese food in Flushing

muslim-lamb-chops

Cumin-rich and ridiculously delicious Muslim Lamb Chops – lamb and cumin is a common pairing in northern Chinese cuisine. These are from Fu Run, another Dongbei restaurant in Flushing, but the wisdom on Chowhound suggests the Xinjiang Style Lamb Chops on Lao Dong Bei’s menu is a similar dish. 

Flushing currently has and has had a nice selection of northern Chinese spots. A couple of our favorites are Golden Palace (try the shredded beef in spicy sauce - 140-09 Cherry Ave – GMAP) and Fu Run (famous for its delicious cumin-loving muslim lamb chops – 40-09 Prince St – GMAP), both of which serve cuisine from Dongbei, which has also been known as Manchuria in some parts of the world. We also enjoyed the food at SN New Restaurant that served food from Quingdao (a city in China that is home of the Tsingtao brewery); they closed back in November and in its place opened Lao Dong Bei, which joins the small group of Dongbei restaurants in Flushing. The NY Times checked it out recently, and seems to like it quite a bit.

They came away recommending the following – “Blotch soup; green bean sheet jelly; fried pork in orange sauce; lamb chop in Xinjiang style; crispy sliced fish with cumin; spicy quail; chicken with mushrooms and vermicelli; triple delight vegetable.”

They seemed delighted with Lao Dong Bei’s version of “sweet and sour pork” which does not really resemble the Chinese American version that is dripping with cloying sweetness. In their words, “it is pork that dominates the dish, not sauce.” It’s made with pork loin that is fried, yes, but with a potato starch batter and combined with a sauce made of garlic, ginger, rice vinegar and sugar. Without the corn syrup, you can imagine how much lighter this dish would be. It’s also called “fried pork in orange sauce” on the menu (photo).

We’ve had green bean jelly sheet noodles before at Golden Palace and enjoy the spiciness and the element of thin bits of cucumbers – they are quite tasty. At Lao Dong Bei, they sound scrumptious, too, and very familiar – “chile-flecked translucent, chewy bands of mung bean starch that snake and loop around strips of cucumber and pork, cold yet rippling with heat.” Yum (photo). The “blotch soup” (photo) also sounds pretty good, brothy with greens, minced pork and little bits of dumplings called mian geda. They had us at broth, greens, and pork, frankly.

The chef is An Hong Li, and he is from Harbin, capital of the Heilongjiang province, which is one of the provinces that makes up Manchuria (the others are Liaoning and Jilin). Chowhound reports that Chef Li used to work at Fu Run! Apparently he has brought over some dishes from Fu Run, including cumin sliced fish and the aforementioned blotch soup. The waiter at Lao Dong Bei used to work at SN New Restaurant.

Additional factoid: the restaurant’s location also used to be home to celebrated M&T Restaurant, which served Quingdao food.

FYI, here is the region of China where the food discussed in this article comes from:

dongbei-map

Note the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, which make up Dongbei/Manchuria

We are definitely intrigued by Lao Dong Bei, and judging from our penchant for northern Chinese food, we expect to be dining here very soon.

Lao Dong Bei, 44-09 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11355 (GMAP), (718) 539-4100

Get It Before It’s Hot [NYT]
Lao Dong Bei slideshow [NYT]
Flushing: Lao Dong Bei replaces short-lived SN New Restaurant (former M & T) [Chowhound]
Restaurant: Lao Dong Bei | Kissena Blvd | Flushing | Queens [Flickr]

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