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.
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.
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.
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.
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.