Soo Chow is an old romanization for Suzhou, a city in eastern China fabled for its canals and classical gardens, a tourist hotspot as well as a popular destination for weekend getaways from its much more populous neighbor, Shanghai. Cliffside Park, New Jersey, hasn't held a similar appeal for New Yorkers in decades, not since the demise of Palisades Amusement Park in 1971. Petite Soo Chow — heir to a Manhattan restaurant of the 1980s — today might be the tiny borough's most notable attraction. There's much less fanfare but much better food.
Shown, about two-thirds of an early afternoon feast: pork in aspic; jellyfish and celery; sheng jian bao, pan-fried juicy buns; eight-treasure duck; Shanghai lo mein; eel and pork belly; vegetables in tofu skin, complemented by chewy noodle knots; nian gao. This version of the glutinous-rice confection — also called Chinese New Year cake or simply year cake — was apparently sweetened with brown sugar before being steamed, cut into slabs, and pan-fried. Served hot.
Petite Soo Chow
607 Gorge Rd. (at Oakdene Ave.), Cliffside Park, New Jersey