Dining Out Magazine

He Nan Flavor (Henan Feng Wei)

By Mahlzeit
I've been meaning to blog about these places for months... only now do I seem to be emerging from my winter inertia. Much has already been written about these establishments in the meantime. Let me just add my small voice to say: go! They serve the freshest possible food at unbeatably low prices.
The original Flushing outpost is the more fun of the two, simply because if you hang around the counter after ordering, you can watch them make your food: the entire kitchen is there behind counter. You order noodles, and one of the women picks up an oval of dough and begins to stretch it, double it, and stretch it some more. Thirty seconds later she's cutting it into LONG, wide ribbons, which are dropped into a pot boiling on the stove. One evening I had the pleasure of watching the owner prepare the da pan ji (大盤鳮) I had just ordered. He obviously knew what he was doing, and the low-key mastery of his gestures was a thing of beauty. As was the final result (photos courtesy of Pete):
He Nan Flavor (Henan Feng Wei)
This dish is sensational: complex, spicy, bursting with interesting flavors. Bite-sized chunks of chicken are stir-fried, then braised briefly with some cubes of potato, a LOT of dried red peppers, ginger, garlic, scallion, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, and god knows what else, topped with some cilantro. When you're halfway through with it, get a side order of noodle and add it to the pot--the perfect companion to soak up that great sauce. Interestingly, this dish isn't even from Henan--it's a Hui dish from Xinjiang. An opera singer I know originally from Henan, studying in the States, explained to me that, since Xinjiang is such a harsh, mountainous province, a lot of people leave it to go to Henan to work, buoying the dish's popularity there (although it appears to be popular all over China).
She also took one look at the menu I showed her and said the lamb noodle soup is an especially well-known Henan dish. It is lovely and soothing (with those great, wide, hand-pulled noodles), but perhaps a little too mellow for my taste (what can I say... I like robust flavors!). However, the zha jiang mian (炸酱面-noodles with pork and black bean sauce) is absolutely the greatest version of that dish I've ever had: those noodles, with a hearty sauce of minced pork and bean paste, topped with shredded cucumber and some baby bok choy leaves. Rather like the Chinese equivalent of pappardelle with ragù.
He Nan Flavor (Henan Feng Wei)
The small size ($4.00) easily satisfies one hungry person... get the large only if you're planning on sharing it. The noodle with tomato and egg (eggs scrambled, in case you were wondering) is also fantastic--quintessential comfort food.
There's a little something for everyone here: almost a dozen noodle preparations (the Manhattan restaurant, as I recall, lists all the noodle dishes as "lo mein" on the wall menu), soup dumplings, steamed dumplings, bing pancake, bing with pork filling. The Flushing location also has a selection of cold appetizers and small casserole dishes (meatballs in broth, a couple of pork preparations). The "crispy meat casserole" ("crispy" must refer to the meat being breaded and fried... after a minute in the broth, it ain't crispy no more!):
He Nan Flavor (Henan Feng Wei)
Unusual (in a good way), and quite tasty with a fair bit of ginger flavoring things. Pete liked the sour vegetable dumplings in soup a lot (I haven't tried it yet):
He Nan Flavor (Henan Feng Wei)
You'll really have to work to spend more than ten bucks here. But if, like me, you can eat an entire da pan ji in one sitting (exciting the curiosity--and commentary--of the guy in the kitchen once at the Manhattan location), you'll spend twelve.
He Nan Flavor
68 B Forsyth St., New York 10002

(between Grand and Hester St.)
Henan Feng Wei
136-31 41st Avenue, Flushing 11355

(7 train to Main St.-Flushing, 1 block south on Main, then left on 41st Ave.)

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • 9 Revenue Models That Can Keep Your Business Thriving

    Revenue Models That Keep Your Business Thriving

    Every new business quickly realizes that revenue coming in every period on a committed basis is the Holy Grail to survival and growth. Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Martin Zwilling
  • How the West Was Stolen (USA Vs. First Nations)

    Interactive Map Shows the Seizure of Over 1.5 Billion Acres of Native American Land Between 1776 and 1887 https://t.co/XvpjmmuSpc pic.twitter. Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Bbenzon
  • Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum

    Life Cabaret, Chum

    This year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival has been in full swing with the usual eclectic mix of the traditional and the avant-garde in words, music, dance,... Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Jackscott
  • A Sunday Conversation With Dylan Jarman of Shotgun Sawyer

    Sunday Conversation With Dylan Jarman Shotgun Sawyer

    What have been your musical epiphany moments? I grew up in a very pop-friendly house. The Beatles reigned supreme, but Elvis Costello and REM lurked around... Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Ripplemusic
  • Concert Review: Extreme Orchestral Sports

    Concert Review: Extreme Orchestral Sports

    The New York Philharmonic plays Berio and Strauss. by Paul J. Pelkonen Oh what a mountain! The New York Philharmonic played Ein Alpensinfonie this week. Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Superconductor
  • Peonies by Mary Oliver

    Peonies Mary Oliver

    This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart as the sun rises, as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers and... Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Vickilane
  • Memorial Day: Remember Them

    Memorial Day: Remember Them

    "The endless rows of white stones and mausoleums command the heights of former battlefields and sprawl across the rolling course of green, under the cobalt spac... Read more

    The 27 May 2018 by   Ingrafted