Manchurian Cuisine

东北人家 (Dongbei/Manchurian People’s Home)
Restaurant Chain in China

Dearest NYC readers, this post is going to be somewhat irrelevant for your weekend restaurant search. This post is less of a review but an introduction to northern Chinese cuisine. Dongbei, previously Manchuria, is the most northeastern region of China. It shares a border with Russia, Mongolia, and Korea. The cuisine is rarely talked about in the US and I think that should change. Here in NYC you have your Cantonese, Shanghainese, Sichuan and maaaybe even Yunnan food. All are very different, by the way. Dongbei or Northern or Manchurian food is another major type of cuisine that is probably one of the least pretentious ones. Because the weather can get extremely cold in the region, the cuisine is very substantial, hearty and uses LOTS OF GARLIC. Northerners also eat a lot of delicious carby foods, aka. my kind of foods. Pictured above is the waiting area of the Dongbei restaurant we were at where you get free sunflower seeds and are encouraged to toss the shells on the ground. Love China.

东北人家    东北人家
Chinese cornbread. It’s denser, grainier, and less sweet than what we think of as “southern” cornbread in the US. My dad hates eating it because it was the only carb he had growing up during the Cultural Revolution in China. I, a first world child, grew up eating jasmine rice and so relish the meals where we have cornbread. This is a panfried version.

Wo Wo Tou, or directly translated as “Nest heads” … go figure. This is a steamed version of the corn bread. Often sweeter, and chewier because of its shape.

Crispy “Hand-Pulled” Pancake. It’s like a scallion pancake with more layers and no scallions. Greasy, crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, this pancake is addicting as hell.

东北人家This is a classic one. Braised Pork with Vermicelli. The pork is cooked until extreeeemely soft, giving the soup a nice porky flavor. Wilted winter cabbage adds sweetness to the soup. Fat clear noodles soak up the soup. You eat the pork, cabbage, and vermicelli, AND drink the soup.

Garlicky Eggplant. The eggplant is slightly fried on the outside with a bit of cornstarch so it forms a thin crisp layer. Center is slightly sweet and mushy.

This dish doesn’t look great but is fantastic. It is made with a type of long flat bean that I’ve never seen in the US. The beans are cooked with LOTS of garlic, potatoes, and tender braised pork shoulder.
They eat salads! Most Chinese people don’t eat raw vegetables but I guess Dongbei-ers do. The dressing here is simply Chinese vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of sugar.

Wild vegetable (cilantro-ish) wrapped in tofu skin, dipped in a chunky meaty sauce.

Steamed pumpkin, fresh corn, and lots of those long beans I mentioned earlier.

东北人家Three types of dumplings: egg and tomato, chive and egg, and leek


东北人家Dessert here is another kind of pancake. It is made with rice flour, like my purple yam recipe, stuffed with red bean paste, and fried. Just a tinge sweet, it’s a greasy delectable delight to end the already way-too-heavy meal.

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