Fung Tu’s Smoked and Fried Dates, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes


Dish no. 82: Smoked and fried dates from Fung Tu (22 Orchard Street, 212-219-8785)

Fusion food often amounts to a plate of mismatched ingredients. With fusion done right, though, like it is at Chinatown’s Fung Tu, familiar flavors become ribbons pulled together in a series of beautiful new bows. This is well represented across the menu, but it’s especially clear in the smoked and fried dates. Here, chef Jonathan Wu takes a traditional Chinese ingredient — umami-laden Peking duck — and presents it in a fresh light. Morsels of smoky bird are stuffed into sweet dates then coated in batter and deep fried. A bite begins with the snap of the golden brown outer coating, sinks into the sugary meat of the date, and pushes further to the center of rich, chewy duck.

In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we’re traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They’re presented here as a countdown, but we’re listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what’s good to eat in this town right this very second.