A Fascinating Take on Chinese

October 7, 2016


If there is a more brilliant use for kohlrabi, I have yet to encounter it.  I ordered this kohlrabi noodle salad with sesame peanut dressing, anchovies and crisp little bites of fried rice noodle last night at Fung-Tu.  Then I  ordered another. And then I  contemplated a third.  The “noodles” have such an appealing snap and crispness  they make every other sesame noodle dish seem limp and pathetic, and the dressing has all the right ingredients.  I’m going to try and duplicate it, but I doubt that I can.  Unlike the chef, Jonathan Wu, I am not a veteran of Per Se.

There were other wonderful dishes at this appealingly quirky restaurant.  My favorites were this


fava been curd – like tofu on steroids – with a sprightly topping of pickled mustard greens, bacon and chile oil.

And this intriguing take on pizza:


crunchy scallion pancakes topped with clams, with bacon, with chiles.

I found the smoked, stuffed dates irresistible, and I loved the taro mashed with lots of cheese (gruyere and smoked mozzarella) until it had become an Asian version of pommes aligot.  And once I got over the fact that the baby back ribs weren’t what I expected – they’d been steamed until they fell from their bones – I simply sat back and appreciated the dance of flavors: black garlic, fried scallions, and the occasional snap of chiles.

Fung-Tu is an intriguing restaurant, one that’s forging its own path. This isn’t food you’ll find anywhere else, a bold mix of cultures, ingredients and cuisines. It isn’t always successful; I pretty much hated the pork belly egg rolls, and the pastrami fried rice made me long for the Mission Chinese version.  But that’s part of the appeal of Fung-Tu; the chef, Jonathan Wu, is walking a tightrope.  You’re bound to love some dishes and hate others. What you won’t be is bored; this is not just food, but food for thought.

I can’t wait to go back.

Categorised in: