Up to now, our exposure to Hunanese food has been limited to the Authentic Mao’s Food section of the Grand Sichuan menu. But no one focuses so narrowly on the region’s cuisine as this commodious Flushing newcomer, perched across Northern Boulevard from the historic Town Hall. This often spicy, sometimes sour style shows a predilection for pickled peppers, chopped and strewn liberally, and a heavy (and delicious) hand with the cumin. Two of the best things to eat are off the (translated!) specials menu: pork crusted with crunchy rice powder, meticulously wrapped up tamale-like in lotus leaves, and steamed until tender ($14.95), and smoky niblets of duck hacked on the bone and intermingled with chewy dried turnips and small, shrunken white peppers that looked like semi-dried grapes ($17.95). Should you have any questions about other obscure ingredients, the affable manager keeps a copy of Fuchsia Dunlop’s Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook behind the counter.
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