As some of you may know, I have an on-going fascination with Chinese food from around the world. When I was living in Asia, I frequently visited Chinatowns and Chinese restaurants in whichever country I was traveling in. Some memorable experiences included eating mapo tofu ramen in Yokohama’s Chinatown, trying jajangmyeon in Seoul, and meeting a family from Yunnan at their Thai-Chinese restaurant in Chiang Mai.
In New York there are also a few notable Indian-Chinese, Cuban-Chinese, and Jamaican-Chinese restaurants. I’m starting a new feature for Brooklyn Galley that highlights great dishes and drinks from around Brooklyn (and some hits from the other four boroughs too). For this inaugural post, let’s take a look at jerk chicken lo mein.
I first tried De Bamboo Express almost three years ago after reading about it in The New York Times and wrote about it on Appetite for China. The restaurant — on the edge of Prospect Park South and Lefferts Gardens, a neighborhood with a big Caribbean population — is a pretty small, basic takeout spot with just a few tables, but it definitely gets very crowded during lunch.
(Like Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Mexico, where some of my extended family has lived, Jamaica has a sizable Chinese immigrant population, though it seems there the cultures and foods have mingled more than in other places in the Caribbean and Latin America.)
Here’s the jerk chicken lo mein with a lime rickey soda. I hope the photos do the food justice, because this chicken was immensely succulent and the lo mein noodles perfectly cooked and toothsome. The outside of the chicken was spicy without being overly so, with great flavoring from (taking a guess) soy sauce, five-spice powder, and Scotch bonnet peppers or habanero peppers. And it was super flavorful and not overly greasy, which is exactly what I look for in a great takeout restaurant.
The menu is pretty lengthy and includes Chinese, Jamaican, and West Indian dishes. A sampling: jerk lamb with fried rice, chicken with bora and cabbage, B.B.Q. shrimp lo mein, roti, dal puri, curry goat, and red snapper with coconut sauce.
I’m curious what the “chicken in de rough” on the appetizer menu is, but that can be the subject of more exploration on the next trip.
De Bamboo Express
772 Flatbush Ave.(btwn Clarkson Ave. and Lenox Rd.)
Prospect Park South / Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Subway: B, Q to Parkside Ave.