“This is Chinese food?” said an incredulous tablemate.” Indeed, “sauteed pine nuts and corn” might be mistaken for American succotash.
This week Counter Culture forges ahead to M & T, a Flushing restaurant whose owners came from the city of Qingdao in Shandong Province, directly across the Yellow Sea from Korea.
The food is often astonishing and delicious, and challenges our ideas about what Chinese food can be. Following are some dishes my friends and I especially enjoyed. Fork in the Road earlier published a picture of “sea intestines,” a marine creature imported from Shandong. At M & T, it’s sauteed with yellow chives. (Thanks to Tazza Lenghe for identifying it.)
“Pepper with bean curd sheets (chives)” is the name of this dish, which playfully makes tofu seem like noodles.
“Boiled sliced pork with mashed garlic” demonstrates the Korean influence on Qingdao cooking, and makes a damn good bar snack, too.
“Quingdao cold pasta with special sauce” is really agar jelly cubes awash in black vinegar, with amazing quantities of crushed garlic on top.
“Pumpkin pan cake” could easily be incorporated into any Thanksgiving feast.
“Lamb with cumin” is a dish prized in many of the northern Chinese cuisines–a Silk Road recipe, par excellence.
Our crew one afternoon: (l to r) Pervaiz Shallwani, Alexandra Van Buren, Mark Ibold, and Peter Meehan.