MOST RECENT DINNERS
Nose to Tail at A Fan Ti
By Farzad Kapadia
Fact: Testicles in peanut sauce are delicious.
I chose to take the local train out to Flushing instead of the express because I was psyching myself up for my first Gastronauts experience. After pleasantries, the night started out mildly enough with an opening round of many Koo Lai’s. A Fan Ti itself was a tiny joint in the heart of Flushing so let’s just say it was not the norm when 15 non locals just happened to come in and order the craziest shit they had on the menu. The air was electric, you could tell by the speed at which the staff was opening Koo Lai’s.
After pleasantries, things got straight down to business. The opener was Parsley with Pepper, seemingly weak in name but it knocked the hell out of most people. The dish was scrumptious in its simplicity, it’s both peppery and sweet tastes hit you simultaneously which later in the meal, acted as a palate cleanser for many. Next we were hit with the one-two combo of Sautéed String Beans and Seaweed in Fresh Garlic, both held their own, particularly the seaweed with its unique texture and garlicy character. Up to this point the night was pretty tame, but not to fear, some serious bats were stepping up to the plate shortly. The appetizers were rounded up nicely with a Tofu Omelet and some amazing Gizzard’s in a Brown Sauce, which looked like thorny death balls on a plate and maybe some onions here and there. However, brown sauce prevailed and proved that even the most intimidating of innards can be made into something mind-blowing if cooked well.
With the first half of the night in the books, most of the crew looked to be in great shape for the second half, there were no injuries and no one seemed to be suffering from dehydration. This was good news, because we would have to be in peak gastronomic shape for what our opponents (mild mannered Asian ladies) had in store for us. The second half kicked off, with a serving of some extra thin and beautifully marinated Tripe, many at the table were in agreement that it was possibly the best Tripe they have had, EVER. Enter the big dogs, AKA: Lamb Head Meat and Lamb Eye in Brown Sauce. After seeing the eyes, I had to check if I needed a new pair of shorts. Not needing any Huggies, the night continued unabated, the Head Meat went over with mediocre reviews. Courtney and I’m not sure who else, actually found pieces of teeth in their helpings, I wish I had been that lucky. Safe to say that this dish was not one the highlights of my night. Time for some damn eyeball – this proved difficult for many at the table, Na picked out an eyeball with a busted iris and placed it on my plate claiming it was lucky, who was I to argue. When you bite down on an eyeball of that size (roughly the size of a nickel), you expect “sexy time explosion”, this however, was not the case. The eyeball doesn’t explode, but it does maintain a creamy texture in the mouth. The toughest part was getting the image out of my head when eating it, that and chewing on, as Alex put it, the ocular nerve. That’s some real shit.
Next were testicles, which we ate and loved. I’ve just realized how long this has become, so let me wrap up. Other standouts included: Salted Hunch and Grilled Lamb Kidneys. The Lamb Leg, was the only normal cut we had all night and was quite sub par. Overall, each of the dishes at A Fan Ti were prepared superbly despite the fact that no one should eat those bits on the regular. It was a magical night and I look forward to doing it again in the ’07. A Happy Koo Lai to everyone.