Ha! Its not what you think. No, its not a review of some long forgotten Shaw Brother’s flick. This, my friends, is the premier Sichuanese restaurant of the Flushing Mall area, Queens, NY. Nestled away in a small cluster of businesses on Roosevelt Avenue, this unassuming little eatery serves up some real heat. Clearly aiming for a blue collar clientele, Chuan Ba Wang, “the Sichuan Overlord” could be easily mistaken for a typical American chop-suey joint based on it’s formal English name, the Golden Sichuan. But all jokes are off when you walk in the door. Chinese food connoisseurs will immediately notice signs of true authenticity: an indifferent wait staff focused on the basketball game on in the back of the room, a fish tanks jammed full of large barely-alive fish, and a table full of foolish laowai complaining about the amount of spice in their food.
And the food is really really good. We ordered off the Chinese-language menu and were pleasantly surprised about the choices offered, fish with pickled vegetables, spicy duck, mala fen, and all kinds of fried rice. They even had stinky tofu! Because this is a murder-free family, we strayed away from the animal dishes, but still had plenty of choices. We started with a huge bowl of mala fen and a plate of hupi jianjiao. The mala fen was peppery and intense; it had a nice rich soup, and the rice noodles has a nice gumminess to them The hupi jianjiao peppers were fried (we were hoping for grilled) but had no touch of sweetness. Clearly the chef had no intentions of cultivating a more flavor-neutral American clientele, because the jianjiao were spicy enough to burn your tongue and covered in a mild vinegar. Our main courses consisted of mala moyu, small slices of tofu-like ground firm taro jelly cooked in a numbing and spicy red soup, and our one mild dish, slivers of sponge cucumber cooked with sliced tofu, was the perfect dish to “rest on” when we needed a break from the chilies.
Don’t expect much from the service. They clearly prefer watching Tim Duncan to serving you, and they are not patient with questions, but they can be helpful in steering you to some of the more interesting spots on the menu. This is definitely not a place to go if you want to impress the ladies. But it is a nice spot to show off to your financially limited friends.