Some Like It Hot: 'Stewed Hot Pepper' at Northeast Chinese Food

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The magnificent plate of "stewed hot pepper" at the new Dongbei restaurant in South Flushing.

One of the hottest dishes I've enjoyed this year appeared the night before last at Northeast China Food (aka East North Food Culture), a new restaurant just north of the Queens Botantical Garden on Main Street.

The place serves the cuisine called Dongbei, issuing from three far-northeastern provinces of China. This is the second establishment in the immediate neighborhood to do so, the first being Golden Palace.

The chiles shown are of the long green variety, similar to what is often used in Turkish, Uzbek, and Indian food. Though the peppers vary tremendously in hotness, every third one or so will blow the top of your head off. I would recommend the dish for vegetarians, except I suspect there are some porcine juices in the brown gravy, which nevertheless tastes mainly of soy and garlic.

I tried nearly 20 dishes there with a table of seven, and found lots of seafood, especially, in very pleasing contexts, prime of which was the citrusy and cilantro-ey tasting "hot and spicy fish soup." Somewhat ironically, the soup wasn't hot in the slightest. 43-18 Main Street, Flushing, Queens, 718-539-3061

The "hot and spicy fish soup" may look dull as dishwater, but the flavor is zippy in the extreme.

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