Eggplant With Garlic Sauce at Best Fuzhou on Eldridge Street
Eggplant comes in a crock in No. 30 of our 100 Days/100 Dishes
The Fujianese have completed their conquest of Manhattan's Chinatown during the last decade, monopolizing probably 70 percent of the restaurants, whether identified as such or not. Yet, this venerable cuisine is still largely unknown to most diners who visit the neighborhood.
Best Fuzhou restaurant is one of the best introductions to the cooking styles of the coastal region, in which crock-borne dishes hold a special place. The crock is said to have originated in Indian, transmitted through returnees from Malaysia. (Fujian has long provided a steady stream of immigrants -- many of them businesspeople -- to Southeast Asia.)
The steaming dish is garlicky in the extreme, and the spiciness comes from strips of green chile. The eggplants represent the Asian form of the vegetable, skinnier and lighter purple than its Italian counterpart, and with a thinner skin. This dish is slightly sweet with the thick soy sauce that Fujianese prefer. If this eggplant had predominated in Europe, there would be no Barney terrifying children.
Best Fuzhou 71 Eldridge Street 212-219-3328
100 Days/100 Dishes is an almost-random alphabetical collection of delicious dishes from around the five boroughs. See the entire series so far.
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