Nha Trang and Little Fuzhou – Restaurant Review and overview of one of Brooklyn’s Chinatown neighborhoods, Little Fouzhou
Everyone knows Manhattan has a Chinatown and most locals also know of the Chinatown in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, but not everyone knows that Brooklyn has a Chinatown also, commonly referred to as Little Fuzhou, due to the predominance of immigrants from the Fujian province of mainland China.
NY has one of the best transportation systems in the world, but if you live on one of the train lines that go outside, as well as underground, you are subjected to environmental conditions. Yesterday, due to a fallen tree on the tracks, the B train I was riding home in became a D train and ultimately, an N train. The N train runs nowhere near my house, so no matter where I got off, I would have to take a bus. I decided to get off of the N train in Little Fuzhou. I was starving due to having a busy day and not having the opportunity to have lunch. What better place to find a good meal in Brooklyn?
Manhattan’s Chinatown is like running an obstacle course. On your way to grocery shopping or dining, you must dodge the merchants coming out of their stalls to lure you to buy cheap perfume, ladies with photos of knockoff handbags that they have hidden in a little room (away from the cops) and the street vendors. Dodging them and the tourists is an art form. Little Fuzhou has all of the necessities of Manhattan’s Chinatown, without the crowds. Some of the same establishments like Hong Kong Supermarkets and Nyonya Malaysian Cuisine have locations here.
In addition to Chinese dining establishments, there are also Malaysian and Vietnamese restaurants. Nha Trang is a simply decorated Vietnamese Restaurant with the glossy paintings, characteristic of these establishments. I have to say this was one of the worst Vietnamese meals I have had, but don’t hold Little Fuzhou responsible. There are some other really good restaurants there.
The service was excellent, with a friendly, English speaking staff. However, the food left a lot to be desired. It was just bland. The spring rolls were greasy with a flavorless ground pork filling. No vegetables or any other flavorings were added to the ground pork. Served with lettuce and wilted mint leaves, the best way to stomach these grease rolls were to place them on a lettuce leaf with a few mint leaves and make lettuce rolls stuffed with spring rolls. Dip in the accompanying sweet fish sauce and it was actually very good, balanced with the fresh lettuce leaves.
The curry chicken soup, which is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, was bland. Once I added some Sriracha pepper sauce, it had some flavor. The Sriracha brought out the flavors of the scallions and the curry. It was apparent the potatoes were boiled separately in plain water, before being added to the curry at the last moment. When you bit into the potato, it had no curry flavor whatsoever. It tasted like a plain potato. In addition, the cheapest part of the chicken is used so that you get are chicken wings in the soup. My other experiences with this dish include a variety of chicken pieces, as it is usually made with the whole chicken.
Little Fuzhou is a great little neighborhood to explore, at a leisurely pace without the frenetic pace of Manhattan, but there are better dining options than Nha Trang. Like all neighborhoods in NY, there is always multi-culturalism. Even in Littel Fuzhou, there is a large Turkish Market. You can shop for both Turkish and Chinese products by visiting Little Fuzhou.