On a busy stretch of East Broadway, the main door to Yung Sun opens onto a steep staircase leading down past an imposing fish tank into a casual, low-ceilinged dining room. Yung Sun specializes in the cuisine of Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province in southeast China. Drawn by the promise of economic opportunity in the U.S., tens of thousands of Fuzhounese migrated to New York City in the 1980s and 1990s — many of them brought over on ships by complex human smuggling networks.
The Fuzhounese now outnumber Chinatown’s Cantonese residents; however, due to differences in regional origins, language, economic resources, political inclination, and even legal status, the new immigrants have often been at odds with the early Cantonese settlers. The Fuzhounese therefore build homes and businesses on the edges of Chinatown, particularly on East Broadway — outside the Pell and Mott Street area where the Chinese immigrants of the 19th century built their community.
The Fuzhounese brought with them a cuisine that was previously unknown in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Fuzhou — formerly romanized as “Foochow” — dishes are considered the lightest among the four major styles of Fujianese cuisine, best known for its soups, seafood, and sweet and sour flavors. In addition to its “Foochow” section, Yung Sun’s extensive menu includes Westernized Chinese dishes as well as plenty of seafood specials. Try any of the Fuzhou specialties, including fish balls stuffed with pork, noodles with peanut sauce, and fried oyster cakes.Megan McGowan
Chinatown’s Little Fuzhou — centered on East Broadway and comprised of immigrants from the Fujian province and its capital, Fuzhou — was established as recently as the 1980s, when droves of young men left the Fujian province to work in the U.S., lured by the promise of higher wages. Fujianese immigrants took jobs at construction sites and in restaurants, settling in Chinatown and bringing their culinary traditions with them.
Food from Fuzhou is considered lighter than Cantonese food, and it celebrates sweet and sour flavors. Perhaps the most ubiquitous Fuzhounese dish is the pork-stuffed fish ball. Across the region, you can find them fried, steamed, served with noodles, and served in broth. They’re essentially dumplings, where the dumpling skin is typically made from a mild white fish. To make the dough, the fish meat is pounded or ground, which, with the addition of some starch, yields the famed springy texture. Bite through the bouncy fish exterior and you’re rewarded with a rich pork meatball inside.Madeline Muzzi