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NJ eGullet Chinese New Year Dinner at China 46

Kim WB

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Come celebrate the Chinese New Year with your fellow food groupies!

It's a BYO, so plan to bring some to drink and some to share.

Last time, it was $40pp with tip..it will be in that range, possibly slightly higher, this time.

Directions, info and pix on our last dinner can be found here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...00entry447906

Jason and Rachel Perlow will be working with China 46 on the selections. Kim WB will coordinate the RSVP's.

Here is the list so far. If there are changes to the list, you can post them or PM Kim WB and they will be updated periodically. Please try to arrange transportation via PM.

Rosie and Lowell

Rachel and Jason Perlow

Fat Guy


Suzanne and HWOE


Jo Mel

Blondie +1

Double 0


Kim WB


M and M Chefreite

Katie Loeb

Howard 88 +2

22 people

Maybe's: SuziLightening ( work related, not hawk related :laugh: ) and Herbacidal.

Also, as per Mark's suggestion, you might want to check out this thread and make a stop before dinner: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=20950

Edited by Kim WB (log)
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~~~~~~~~ I'm partial to the Shanghai Casserole or the Pork w. Szechuan Pickle Soup. And the duck is their Peking Duck. It's very good. I'll make sure we get that.

Ditto on the Shredded Pork with Sichuan Pickle. One of my favorites.

What is in their Shanghai Casserole?

I'll go long with whatever you all come up with, but just a comment on duck. Peking Duck is always a treat. Who doesn't like it if it is well done? But Shanghai has their own version of that famous dish. The duck is braised, dried overnight, then roasted in a hot oven. It is served with steamed buns and the braising liquid. I see Braised Duck on their on-line menu, but I don't know if it is the same/or about the same.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to going there. Shanghai foods are my latest fancy. Good, stick to the ribs food. There aren't that many places. (that I know of) Before Joe's Shanghai came long, in NYC, there was "Say Eng Look" that had wonderful Shanghai food, but they closed long ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was the second time, actually. I was there last Sunday with Rachel and Jason. Who better to be with for the first time??!!!!!!

It is a wonderful place, and the food is great. Last Sunday we had Chicken with Yellow Chives, Lamb with Scallion, House Special ?? (small diced pork/bean curd/chives and chili with Sesame Buns) and Shanghai Noodles. Today my friend and I repeated the first two, plus had Salt/Pepper Shrimp. All top notch. I got some dishes to go, for DH's dinner tonight ---- the lamb, noodles and Shizi Tou --- Lion's Head Meatballs. The meatballs had a great sauce and was made with baby Bok Choy, but the meatballs themselves lacked a certain texture that I've had before that I've liked.

I plan to go as often as I can, because there's a few things on the menu that I really want to try. Dishes I've had before, but which are rarely seen.

The owner was very nice, and was explaining his logo to me, as I had a couple of questions about it. He also pointed out the painting which gave his restaurant it's name. He has a lot of art work, plus some caligraphic art originals. He has some potteryware along wall shelves, too. What a place to browse!!

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Chicken with Yellow Chives

one of my favorite dishes. so subtle. so wonderful. i enjoy it with shrimp as well, even though they're the little shrimp that i generally hate.

this dish shouldn't be eaten after anything really spicy, though, as it loses some nuance. knowing jason, you probably had it after the spicy capsicum noodles. :biggrin:

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He also pointed out the painting which gave his restaurant it's name.

He's got a painting of Rt. 46? :blink:


Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Oh, and you didn't mention the jiaozi, the little steamed dumplings that aren't on the menu. They frequently make up the staff meal. Mmm.

Ooh, can we have those at the dinner? Those are a few of my favorite things, and I have yet to find a really first-rate jiao ze in Philly...

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JIAOZI! OMG-- How could I forget jiaozi!!! The staff of life!

Tommy -- You are so right about Chicken with Yellow Chives. It is often unappreciated because of its subtleness, and understated texture, but it is a good dish on its own. I like to think of it --- not as a dish to balance those chilis, but rather that the chilis awaken you to it's sublime flavors.

Did I say all that --?? I should be a food critic!! LOL!

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OK, jiaozi instead of the other dumplings. We've had the soup and pan fried dumplings at the last few outings anyway.

Haven't discussed with Cecil yet, but here's what I'm thinking for the menu so far:

Appetizers: Jiaozi, Capsicum Noodles, and I'm sure Cecil will want to include some cold cured meats, like the lamb tureen or duck tongue

Soup of some kind, maybe the Shanghai Casserole or Stuffed Bean Curd Sheet w. Pork Soup?

Mains: Peking Duck, Ruby Pork with Sesame Buns, Shrimp (the Sauteed Plain Shrimp is actually really good, or the almost as subtle Shrimp with Young Chives, or we could just do the Salt & Pepper Shrimp again, or the Shanghai Jumbo Shrimp).

Do we want another seafood dish? The whole steamed fish dishes were the least touched at the previous dinners. The crab or lobster is very good, but very messy -- I think it was another item which people avoided.

For chicken, I think we should do the Chicken with Young Chives if we don't do it with shrimp, since we've been discussing it on this thread. We should definitely have the whole braised chicken stuffed with fried rice. We had that at the last dinner, but it is something we discovered there at Chinese New Year last year.

Finally, we need a noodle dish. I really like the Stir Fried Rice Cake with Pork, but for New Years, I believe long noodles are the tradition. The Stir Fried Shanghai Noodle is very simple, with a little bit of pork and spinach leaves. I think that or the Seafood Pan Fried Noodle would be appropriate. I'll also check to see what the noodle dish is on the Chinese New Year menu, that would probably be a good choice.


Also, for those wanting to check out China 46 before the dinner, they are now doing Hot Pot. You order from a menu of meats and vegetables, they bring you a hot plate, with a pot of broth. You cook the meat, noodles and vegetables at your table, like Japanese Shabu-Shabu. At the end you finish your meal with a bowl of the enriched soup.

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Rachel, we CAN'T have an outing at C46 without either the crunchy puffies or the soup dumplings as well.

I also would avoid the weirder cold appetizers. They were not popular last year, I'd rather have more dumplings.

There arent enough main dishes. We need at least 3 or 4 more. This is chinese new year, not rosh hashana.

Jason Perlow, Co-Founder eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

Foodies who Review South Florida (Facebook) | offthebroiler.com - Food Blog (archived) | View my food photos on Instagram

Twittter: @jperlow | Mastodon @jperlow@journa.host

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I see Fish 'Center Cut' on their menu. Any one know what that is? I assume it is not the whole fish, nor is it a fillet, as they have 'fillet' on the menu. Maybe just a headless, tailess, finless piece with bones?

The next time I go there, I want to try their Honey Glazed Ham Chinese Style. It is steamed and served with little slices of bread, that act as sandwiches. I've had it as part of a banquet, and it is interesting 'finger food'.

Also, I want to try their Fresh Bacon Sauteed in Spicy Sauce --- which is simply Twice Cooked Pork with pork belly instead of dried out lean pork. Not fatty -- the fresh bacon is simmered to get rid of the fat, then pan fried until it is brown. (At least, that is the way I do it.)

And I want to try ------ And I want to try ------


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"Fresh Bacon Sauteed in Spicy Sauce"

Jon & Jason like that dish, it is heavy on the Sechuan Peppercorn.

Hmmm --- I've never had it with the peppercorns -- only with some sort of hot bean paste.

bbqbrisket---- I agree!

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, here's what we're thinking so far for a menu:

1) Three kinds of hot dumplings:

  • Jiaozi (these are simple steamed dumplings that are frequently the staff meal at China 46, they are so good)
    Crab Soup Dumplings (tommy's favorite!)
    Chive Box Dumpling (Vegetarian: cellophane noodle, chives, egg, tofu. It's a thin flat dumpling, something similar was mentioned in the Times review of Hunan Cottage.)

2) Cold: Capsicum Cellophane Noodles

3) Superior Seafood Soup

4) Peking Duck (by request)

5) Superior Ruby Pork with Sesame Bun (half order per table, that's more than enough for 1 bun per person, otherwise you get too full from it and we've got a lot of courses to get through!)

6) Fried Tofu-skin Wrapped Flounder

7) Stuffed Blue Crab (Special New Year dish: Blue crab meat is removed from shell, mixed with other seafood and stuffed back into the crab backs. Steamed and served with Shanghai Bok Choy.)

8) Braised chicken stuffed with sticky fried rice (Special New Year Dish)

9) Three Treasure Shrimp (with Fresh Shiitake, Fresh Bamboo, and Ham)

10) Stir Fried Rice Cake with Pork and Fresh Bamboo (not the regular menu version, special for New Year)

11) Fresh Fruit Platter for dessert

Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)
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OK, I've edited the menu above after discussing with Cecil & Rosie. The price will be $40 per person, which includes tax & tip and soft drinks. BYO Beer & Wine to share with the group.

I'm really looking forward to trying some of the New Years Specials, which include Fried Tofu-skin Wrapped Flounder, Stuffed Blue Crab, and Three Treasure Shrimp. We've also included some eGullet favorites like Ruby Pork and Braised Chicken stuffed with sticky rice.

Since this is an evening when the restaurant would normally be sold out (being Chinese New Year and the night with the dragon dance), we need to confirm our numbers several days before the event. Therefore if you have to cancel, you must do so in writing (on this thread is fine) by Thursday, January 22, or you will remain responsible for the cost of your meal.

Everyone getting excited?

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The "foodie" question is interesting at China 46. On one hand, most people, "foodie" or not like Chinese food In fact, many foodies, who haven't had the "good" stuff sometimes look down on Chinese, but will still usually eat it if encouraged. China 46, for the most part, is "the good stuff"--no make that "the great stuff", although I think they've perhaps fallen a tiny bit since the heady days of their opening--if only because I'm fairly certain they've changed Chefs. But only a tiny bit, and with the pickup since the empty SARS days, I think it's regained some of that edge too.

Regardless, China 46 still does stuff very few other places do. Sichuan Peppercorn, to the extent that they can get away with it, is used judiciously. Dumplings are made in-house and are stellar. Exotic soups show up at banquet dinners and holidays. Unusual in-season vegetables are rotated on and off the menu (something common for, let's say Italian Restaurants around here, but not for Chinese ones I think). Banquet style foods like Peking Duck or Ruby Pork have been perfected and are served year round. Noodles are served in styles other than "Lo Mein" or "Chow Fun", and Tofu, Bean Curd, Mung Bean and Wheat Gluten are used ambituously and in ways we aren't used to.

The owner, Cecil, is also willing to trust his non-Chinese patrons to an extent that is rare--and rewarding. Whereas many owners will pretend to lose all of their English or tell patrons that they won't like something (or even worse--maintain "seperate" menus for Chinese patrons), Cecil is about as good as I've seen in actually spotting a real "foodie" and will take the person at their word. He will make stuff off-the-menu (I suppose that also helps satisfy any Chinese who really DO want stuff too bizarre for even adventurous non-Chinese) and has a huge specials board.

Anyway, to FINALLY circle back to the "Foodie" question, a non foodie will find plenty to eat. The question you must ask yourself is whether you think they are capable of discerning the differences between the good stuff and Your Friendly Neighborhood House O' Gloppy Chinese. Some stuff will be too weird, much will not (besides, we tend to leave the stuff with the fish eyeballs out of the eGullet gatherings). But even the stuff which will not, will be made differently than what they are used to if they can catch on to the differences.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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The first NJ eGullet Dinner at China 46 was organized to help the restaurant, recover from dramatic drop in business, after SARS.

Actually, that was the second dinner at China 46. The first China 46 dinner was the second NJ eGullet dinner, we have also gone to a rodizio restaurant in Newark and an Italian place in Morris county.

Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)
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Regarding the foodiness level, unlike the last two times, there's no fish maw or beef tendons on the menu. The menu is posted above (page up a bunch of times), and unless you have a specific aversion to fish, pork, or duck, there's nothing weird or ordered for the sake of finding out what it is on there.

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this menu does seem a bit "tame" compared to others. i'd agree that anyone would like most of these dishes. although if you're not into food, i have to wonder how much fun you'll have surrounded by 40 idiots like us.

i'm wondering if they're still using sichuan peppercorns. on a recent visit, i detected none in the tripe and tongue. iirc, this dish usually has some.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Thanks. I am not Chinese, but married a Singaporean Chinese whom I met on the internet (he was living in Jersey City when we met). I grew up in Bergenfield (Bergen County), but now live in the South Orange area. We do not have children yet, but I asked about children at the dinner, because my hubby's best friend has a 6 y.o. girl, and I'd like to ask their family to join us (they are Chinese as well). Can you put us down for a SueWho +4 on the waiting list? Thanks!

I enjoy reading the board here as I settle into my new hometown... learning all the neat places to eat/shop locally (and which to avoid!).

Edited by SueWho321 (log)
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There isn't. While I like the whole fish at C46, we've ordered them at both of the past two dinners and they were the most leftovered item (besides the beef tendons and sea cucumber). Instead we're having the fried tofu skin wrapped pieces of flounder.

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