Hold the Dumplings—Go for the Tendon

Stellar soup dumplings have made Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao a huge hound favorite since it first opened five years ago in Flushing's Chinatown. But regulars have also discovered deliciousness beyond the steamer basket. Nan Xiang's cold beef tendon, sliced wafer-thin and served in chile oil with Sichuan peppercorn, is "quite addicting," says ForestHillsFresser. Combine it with a serving of excellent tripe "if you really want to go crazy," advises Polecat.

In fact, says Lau, all of Nan Xiang's cold appetizers are worth a try, especially pig ear, sliced thin and tossed with spicy oil and cilantro, and fried wheat gluten with shiitake, wood ear, and onion in sweetened soy.

Like Nan Xiang, nearby Mapo Szechuan is best known for something other than its cold plates: soul-satisfying hot pots, perfect for wintry weather. But it also serves fine beef tendon, more crudely cut than Nan Xiang's but more flavorful, packing a wallop of Sichuan pepper, says ForestHillsFresser. Look for it among the appetizers, listed as "spicy beef tender."

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao [Flushing]
38-12 Prince Street (between 38th and 39th avenues), Flushing, Queens
718-321-3838

Mapo Szechuan [Flushing]
37-04 Prince Street (between 37th and 38th avenues), Flushing, Queens
718-939-3808

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