salt & pepper fried squid/seafood rolls. the first appetizer is usually something fried and crunchy. these rolls were filled with squid and other seafood with some mayonaisse. i’m not crazy about mayo but these were hot and crunchy so they were still good.
Imperial Palace is my favorite Cantonese restaurant in Flushing, NY. Flushing is the second largest Chinatown in New York City, after the one in Manhattan. It is a great place to eat Chinese food in terms of authenticity and price value.
walnut jumbo shrimps are delicious. the big shrimp are usually dusted with lotus flour and deep fried. then it is doused with a mayonaisse sauce, and served on top of a bed of steamed broccoli. at imperial palace restaurant they add candied sesame walnuts which add a nutty and crunchy counterpoint to the succulent shrimp. this is one of my favorite classic dishes.
king oyster mushrooms and snow pea shoots – this dish combines 2 of my favorite foods. i love eating mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms are large mushrooms that can be cut into slabs. they have a smooth texture and are chewy. snow pea shoots are the tiny shoots of the snow pea plant, it is the tip of the growing plant with small leaves and thin curly tendrils. it is very tender and have a great deal of flavor.
DUNGENESS CRAB OVER STICKY RICE – the BEST dish – cantonese division!! i arranged this chinese banquet at imperial palace for THIS dish. as the dungeness crab is streamed over the sticky rice, it’s juices infuses into the sticky rice, and the scallion adds just the right touch of freshness to the sweet toothsomeness of the sticky rice. i grabbed an empty dungessness crab shell that had crab juices in it, scooped some sticky rice inside the shell to absorb all the crab juice – a sublime experience.
this dish is worth a trip to flushing. the #7 subway train takes almost an hour, but the LIRR from Penn Station goes to Flushing in 16 minutes. (i time it every time) and it’s only $3 each way. i arranged this chinese banquet for 90 people, and the only non-Chinese people in the restaurant were in my group. I noticed that at nearly every table in the restaurant, they had ordered this dish!! if you like dungeness crab, and you like sticky rice, i think you will absolutely love this dish.
hugel et fils gewurtztraminer 1975 vendange tardive - a delicious honeyed mellow late harvest gewurtztraminer wine which went really well with this menu. the thing i love about most chinese restaurants is that they allow you to BYOB and do not even charge a corkage fee. riesling and champagne is also a good wine to drink with cantonese cuisine.
shark’s fin soup. a normal item on any chinese banquet menu. for those of you who object to the idea of eating shark’s fin, you should know that the monterey bay aquarium’s seafood watch had an article which shows that 50% of sharks are killed as a by-catch of fishing for the other more ‘acceptable’ species of edible fish and seafood like tuna and bass. so if you really care about not harvesting sharks for food, then stop eating all the other ocean fish because the fishing industry for the OTHER fishes and seafood kills 50% of all sharks.
crispy skin chicken. another typical chinese banquet dish. chinese people like the chicken to be cooked just barely this side of pink so that the meat is moistly soft and silky tender, and the bone is bloody, while the chicken skin is thin and has a crunchy snap. it’s a simple dish, and when executed correctly, is wonderful. this is one of those dishes that cannot easily be made at home because it takes skill to get that crispy skin while not overcooking the chicken meat.
he’s not pretty but he’s soooo sweet!! this 3 lb. steamed black fish had the most sweet succulent flesh. freshness is of paramount importance in chinese cuisine, which is why good chinese restaurants have tanks of live fish, crabs, shrimp and other sea creatures swimming around in. i call them crab condos. this black fish had some serious dentition but it was one of the silkiest fish i can remember ever eating.
abalone and black mushrooms. another classic banquet dish. abalone was always one of my 3 favorite foods as a child and still is now. chinese black mushrooms (shiitake) is also great if you love mushrooms, which i do. both abalone and mushroom have a similar smooth and firm chewiness so it’s textually compatible. they are braised in a brown oyster sauce over long skinny chinese broccoli called ‘gai lan’.
sake. this bottle of sake is from one of the liquor shops in flushing on main street. most chinese restaurants serve beer and a very limited wine list because they are family restaurants and most chinese families do not drink booze with dinner. if you go to flushing chinatown for dinner and you’d like to bring your own wine, this is a convenient option.
E-Fu noodles are the best noodles – ever! i have always associated E-Fu noodles with chinese banquets because it’s usually served at the end of the 10 course meal along with fried rice. E-Fu noodles are braised noodles – the braising gives the noodles a soft texture which you cannot get with sauteed or boiled noodles. also being braised in soy sauce and stock allows the noodles to absorb the flavor which is why E-Fu noodles don’t have a sauce slapped on top of it like other noodle dishes – it doesn’t need it. this is my favorite type of noodle. at imperial palace you don’t need to book a chinese banquet to try it, you can just order it off the menu! i was too stuffed to take a photo of the fried rice or the sweet buns and sweet soup served at the end.
imperial palace restaurant is my favorite cantonese restaurant in flushing. 136-13 37th ave. flushing,ny
copyright Jo Jo Kwong 2009. all rights reserved.