Minzhongle, R.I.P. – Goodbye Corn!


This is Chinese food? Looks more like American succotash: the dish called “fried popcorn pine nuts” at Minzhongle.

Yesterday, Counter Culture covered Zero Otto Nove, a pair of southern Italian twins, one in the Bronx, the other in Manhattan. That piece had to be moved up a week because the restaurant that was the subject of the scheduled review had closed only a few days earlier. That restaurant was Minzhongle, one of Flushing’s foremost (and most interesting) northern Chinese restaurants.

The above was styled “pork rips and corn” on a menu littered with hilarious typos.

The food served there issued from an autonomous Chinese province occupied by Koreans on the North Korean border, and was a fascinating mash-up of Korean, Chinese, and fusion flavors. There were organ meats galore, available for charcoal grilling on brochettes, including bovine penis, lamb heart, chicken livers, and pig bung, and a scrumptious North Korean blood-and-rice sausage rarely seen in the city.

Some of the entrées of beef, lamb, pork, and chicken were recognizably Sichuan, others part of the cumin-scented northern Chinese canon. There were hearty, thick-skinned dumplings in various denominations, and there were vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables, including an astonishing number of dishes featuring corn. How the corn got to far northern China is anyone’s guess, but decorating this piece are three maize dishes that my friends and I tried — all of them strange and strangely delicious.

Well, the place abruptly closed for no apparent reason. Though I guess the most obvious one is probably the right reason — not enough money to meet the rent. Stayed tuned for further info.

“Fried popcorn eeg” [sic] might make a great movie snack.