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THE BEST: Flushing Chinatown


Fat Guy
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Today we were in Flushing for the first time, our vegetarian friends took us to the Buddha Bodai for dim sum.

I know that we were at the "quiet end" as they said of Chinatown, on the main street.

The dim sum was pretty good, even though we are not vegetarians.

There was a lot of soft rice wrapped dishes, with spinach and other things-also a sort of spring roll, a fake BBQ meat, something sesame...other tasty tidbits. I really don't know what we had, but it was pretty good.

Later we went up the main street a bit and off on a side street shopped at a large-ish Asian supermarket. I bought cilantro for 2 for $1.00 and some soft ginger root, which I'd never seen before.

I must admit we missed some of the tasty looking meat dishes we saw - or rather smelled- while walking around...

Philly Francophiles

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My wife is Chinese, and her uncle and grandpa live outside of Flushing, so we go meet them for food a lot. The one place we always go to is called:

Imperial Palace

(Chinese name is East Lake something?)

136-13 37 Av

It's better than any food I've had in Manhattan. Everyone eating there is pretty much Chinese, and it's most suitable for larger parties (i.e. definitely not couples). AFAIK, this isn't the place for dumplings or the like, though in fact nothing that I'd normally order from standard Manhattan take out get's ordered here (her family does the ordering)

My personal favorites are:

- Some sort of fried Seafood patty appetizer

- Sticky Crab Rice (huge thing of rice with a cracked crab plopped right in the middle of the table. No need for any other rice if you get this)

- Mayonnaise Shrimp (deep fried, covered with mayo and served with candied walnuts - absolutely sinful)

- Deep fried pork chops/pieces

- Sizzling beef with black pepper sauce

- soft tofu cubes in some form of egg yolk sauce

Other popular items are lobster stir fried with garlic and ginger, steamed fish with soy sauce, chinese broccoli or pea shoots, roasted chicken (eh) and roast duck.

Her family manages to get reservations by calling, but otherwise I'd just show up early.

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  • 2 months later...

Did a little food outing in flushing today, mostly in the basement of the Golden Shopping Mall, and then some dishes at Spicy & Tasty which were mostly both (although not really super spicy - did they go light because we weren't asian? I could have handled more heat). Will post photos when I can. The food stalls in the basement of the Golden Shopping Mall were AMAZING. When I'm back in flushing next I'm spending the whole day there.

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Did a little food outing in flushing today, mostly in the basement of the Golden Shopping Mall, and then some dishes at Spicy & Tasty which were mostly both (although not really super spicy - did they go light because we weren't asian?  I could have handled more heat).  Will post photos when I can.  The food stalls in the basement of the Golden Shopping Mall were AMAZING.  When I'm back in flushing next I'm spending the whole day there.

A bunch of us spent noon-2pm on Sunday in the newish Roosevelt Mall (small, 8 stall place around the corner from Fu Ran aka Waterfront and 1/2 block from S&T) checking out the food. By and large, as interesting as Golden, but much more open & well lit. Posts on CH about it. I miss the J&L Mall but the food at Golden and now Roosevelt will fill the void.

As an aside, I've grown to like Fu Ran better than just about all the other Flushing places, with Little Pepper right behind and S&T in third.

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  • 1 year later...

We made an excursion to Flushing recently, intending to wander and graze from several places. We ended up losing all self-control in the food court in the basement of the Flushing mall. We didn't even manage to get to many spots there, we got carried-away at our first two.

Xi'an Famous Foods has indeed gotten pretty famous in the last few years. Bourdain visited on his TV show, Kelly Choi did a piece for NY television, and they're pretty well-known amongst the Yelpers and Chowhounds. There are now three shops, two in Flushing and one in Manhattan, at 88 East Broadway. We'd planned on just getting a plate of noodles from here, either their signature Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles or something with lamb. But while waiting to order, I kept seeing intriguing things being passed over the counter, and I lost my resolve.

We did indeed get noodles, in this case, Cumin Lamb hand-pulled noodles. We'd had the Liang Pi noodles before and they're excellent, nicely spicy and chewy, so we decided to try something new. The hand-pulled noodles have a wonderful texture, and I think I like them hot even better than in the cold dish. I'm surprised, the hand-pulling consists of just a tug or two, not the laborious multi-stage stretching of finer noodles. This leaves the dough as a fairly large, flat shape, which nonetheless cooks-up into a tender, yet chewy noodle in a relatively short time. Toss them with a stew of cumin-laced lamb shreds, and you end up with a hearty, vibrant dish. The noodles are very long, and just pliable and tangly enough to make them a bit of a challenge to eat neatly, but they're worth the trouble.

Flushing-CuminLambNoodles.jpg

That same saucy lamb can be had in a "burger" which is almost as good, and much more portable. I got a couple to go, and they've been great lunches, even though the bread gets a little tough on reheating.

Something about the name of the dish Spicy and Tingly Lamb Face Salad was intriguing, so we ordered that too. It wasn't especially spicy or tingly, it had some chili presence, but I was expecting a more assertive heat, like the Lian Pi Noodles have. But the chunks and shreds of lamb meat, presumably cheek and tongue and who knows what else, were very tasty, and the cold salad of bean sprouts and squash was a nice contrast to the hearty noodles.

Flushing-LambFaceSalad.jpg

The guy at the counter had noticed us admiring someone else's order of Lamb Ribs and Spine and suggested that we really should get some. Of course we should, and we didn't regret it a bit, they were big and meaty and falling off the bone. In fact, we got several questions from passers-by as we ate, asking what those were and where they could get them. We didn't end up with any spine, it was all ribs, but I suspect the ribs are easier to eat anyway...

Flushing-LambRibs.jpg

This was a ton of food, for not much money: those three dishes cost less than $20 all together. We got fixated on lamb, but there are some similar preparations using beef and pork too. It'll be hard to deviate from the lamb versions, but maybe someday...

Xian Famous Foods

http://www.xianfoods.com/

locations here>>

Then we couldn't resist grabbing a couple of things from the Taiwanese place next to Xi'an, at the end of the row. The Steamed Taiwanese Sandwich is the most delicious iteration of the pork belly bun that I've ever had. It's not saucy, or slicked with mayo, but the pork itself is meltingly tender, there are candied peanuts and pickled vegetables, and the bun itself is slightly sweet. Somehow the whole package just knocks me out. Surprisingly, these travel fairly well, although they're best when eaten immediately.

Flushing-SteamedTaiwaneseSandwich.jpg

We also couldn't resist trying a meat bun thing that wasn't bad, but had an odd glutinous texture and a very funky flavor that we couldn't quite nail down, maybe fermented cabbage? Oyster? Stinky Tofu? I didn't see any of that except for cabbage, so maybe it was just that...

Flushing--MeatBun.jpg

And what? You expect us to not snack on sausage if it's available?

Flushing-TaiwaneseSausage.jpg

We then wandered around several more blocks of Flushing, intrigued by many other places, hoping we'd work up appetites, but it just wasn't happening. Too many noodles and buns. No problem, we'll just have to go back and try again. It's just going to be hard to not make the same mistakes all over again, and fill-up at Xi'an Famous Foods! I'm definitely getting those lamb ribs again.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I think he did mention the NYC location (2nd paragraph).

Nice report and pics. I have to get on those ribs. Speaking of lamb a favorite of ours is the ground cumin lamb at Hunan House on Northern Blvd. I recommend you take your crew and sample some cold ox tongue and tripe, pickled cabbage, cucumber, white pepper smoked duck and/or chicken, fish stomachs, slow braised tofu, scorched rice w/seafood. Everything on the specials (last) pg is interesting. Its our favorite place in Flushing.

Much buzz over the Dongbei places that have sprouted. I know nothing of this cuisine but dying to try some. Times did a nice little break down a couple months ago. They seem to do a lot of lamb which always sparks my interest. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/dining/10chine.html?pagewanted=1 I think M&T will be our next stop. Anyone been?

Edited by Eatmywords (log)

That wasn't chicken

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The cumin handmade noodles at Xian Famous Foods might be more delicious than the liang pi, IMO.

As for the steamed Taiwanese sandwich, it may be better known as a Gua Bao or Taiwanese hamburger.

BTW, BaoHaus on the Lower East Side might be the only place you can get them in Manhattan (worth a try).

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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  • 2 weeks later...

We did a double header with 4 past/present EG'rs on Sunday. Started at Ocean Jewel for dim sum then crossed the street to Flushing Mall for Xi'an Foods and the other stalls. (I couldn't get Philadining's lamb ribs pic out of my head).

We'd been meaning to get to Ocean Jewel for years. (We tried a couple times but the waits were long and we happened to be starving. Plus, with all the great Szechuan and Hunan food, we've grown kind of bored with dim sum). Anyway, based on consensus we headed over and got in around 12:45 with only a 15 min wait.

OJ is said to be one of if not the best or most upscale in Flushing. Even with our small sampling I tend to agree. My pool of comparison is not huge but I've been to a few such as East (in Flushing), Manhattan's; Jing Fong, Silver Palace, Golden Unicorn, Dim Sum Go Go and a few others (and a couple places in Hong Kong but that's in another league).

So, there's an attention to detail here a bit above the others. I.e presentation, brighter, fresher ingredients, lighter/cleaner sauces. As well a less hostile or acoustically challenged room. Some highlights: baked pork buns (with the pink dot on top) were very good, contained a few addl ingredients from what I'm used to like carrots and shredded greens. There was a steamed bun which turned out to be a dessert we would have preferred at the end. It was filled with a sweet marzipan like paste and was excellent. An assorted seafood dumplings basket with each topped either chinese mushroom, cuttle fish or squid. Really good. Shrimp crepes were standard and fine. Clear spinach dumplings were exemplary with an anise like flavor I couldn't id. Bacon wrapped scallops with spicy mayo were standard but of fine quality and delicious. My favorite though were the clams in black bean sauce. A little bigger than the tiny's usually offered. These were big and plump, super fresh and not drowned in salted sc or corn starch. We could have easily kept going but I persuaded the group to quit while we still had an appetite. Next time we have visitors requesting dim sum we'll take them here. Btw, it was $12 pp including tax and tip for some 10 dishes.

So with the silence of the lamb ribs calling we made our way to the mall stalls, specifically Xi'an Foods. (The Mr and I had been once before but only for a lamb bun after feasting on pulled noodles with mixed offal in a spicy broth from a stall name I can't remember located at the end to the right but connected to the others). But before entering the mall, the parking lot was having a Korean fair and handing out samples. We could have made a meal of them but I encouraged all to stay on course. We sampled a pounded rice paste shaped in a tube coated with a very lightly sweetened dry powder which I couldn't discern. It was nasty and I spit mine out as did the others. There was a consistent line of 20 people waiting to sample it. I wanted to but could not get it.

From Xi'an foods we shared fresh tofu in spicy red chili soup, a lamb bun, pork pun and the lamb ribs and spine. The soup was very good with a rich szechuan pepper broth and the tofu was good if a bit soft and bland. I know, it's tofu. The lamb ribs where juicy and well seasoned but tough to pull apart and share. This is a one on one affair for sure. It was fatty and very nicely seasoned with Asian spices and cumin. The lamb bun, heavily adorned with cumin, herbs and a bit of chili sc was excellent. The pork bun was also pleasing with an even amount of fat and meat It could have used an acid component. The lamb is more interesting and bolder by far. Didn't get a chance to try the noodles but will do so next time. I think if we weren't so squeezed in (the seating area was packed) we might have tried some more. It can be tough with a baby as we had ours along. Anyway, I would like to try the stalls of the Golden Mall next time as well get to M&T.

That wasn't chicken

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So, there's an attention to detail here a bit above the others. I.e presentation, brighter, fresher ingredients, lighter/cleaner sauces.

My feeling is that Flushing Chinatown's dim sum tends to be fresher and cleaner than Manhattan's overall.

There was a steamed bun which turned out to be a dessert we would have preferred at the end. It was filled with a sweet marzipan like paste and was excellent.

I'm assuming this was a "nai wong bao" or literally "milk yolk bun." And you may also hear them called "lai wong bao."

So with the silence of the lamb ribs calling we made our way to the mall stalls, specifically Xi'an Foods. (The Mr and I had been once before but only for a lamb bun after feasting on pulled noodles with mixed offal in a spicy broth from a stall name I can't remember located at the end to the right but connected to the others).

Probably this one:

Lan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodles Flushing Mall

Lan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodles Flushing Mall

Never tried it as I'm always drawn to Xian Foods and Temple Snacks when I'm there instead.

I think if we weren't so squeezed in (the seating area was packed) we might have tried some more. It can be tough with a baby as we had ours along. Anyway, I would like to try the stalls of the Golden Mall next time as well get to M&T.

The Flushing mall is way more spacious than the Golden Mall, so be forewarned. I think the Xian Foods stall in the Golden Mall has maybe 5-6 tables, tops.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Re dim sum I can't confirm Flushing is better. My only other experience was East and it was no better than the Manhattan places. But it is reasonable given the demographics, less tourists more discerning Asians, lower rents, more space, etc. We surely love Hunan House and Spicy and Tasty but Grand Szechuan is on par.

Yes on the Flickr pics, that's the place, thx. (And I meant to say "not" connected to the others) Certainly worth a try.

We know about the Golden Mall, thx again. We walked in once (baby in stroller), looked at my wife and turned right back around. We'll have to grab a sitter for that one or wait till she's old enough not to make a (total) scene or break stuff.

That wasn't chicken

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Definitely try out some of the other well known Flushing dim sum spots like Guang Zhou, Gala Manor, etc.

Where else have you been? Usually my Flushing crawls hit up a subset of these 10 spots:

1. Guang Zhou Restaurant (136-59 37th Ave)

2. Corner 28 duck bun window (40-28 Main St)

3. White Bear (135-02 Roosevelt Ave #5)

4. Zhu Ji Guo Tie (40-52 Main Street is the technical address, but the actual window is on 41st Avenue)

5. Xian Famous Foods in the Golden Mall (41-28 Main Street, stall #36, lower level)

6. Chengdu Heaven in the Golden Mall (41-28 Main Street, stall #31, lower level)

7. Temple Snacks in the Flushing Mall (133-31 39th Ave, food court is on bottom floor, located on the way left hand side)

8. Sun Mary Bakery (13357 41st Road)

9. Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (38-12 Prince Street)

10. Best North Dumpling (135-08 Roosevelt Ave A4 BUT I think they moved to 41-42 Main Street)

Anybody have opinions on:

Sifu Chio (40-09 Prince street) for Hong Kong hawker style fried wontons or wontons in soup.

A place to get Taiwanese style open pot stickers aka "Zhonghua Road" pot stickers or kai kou guo tie now that Nan Bei He has closed? Apparently Lu Xiang Yuan has them?

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Definitely try out some of the other well known Flushing dim sum spots like Guang Zhou, Gala Manor, etc.

Where else have you been? Usually my Flushing crawls hit up a subset of these 10 spots:

1. Guang Zhou Restaurant (136-59 37th Ave)

2. Corner 28 duck bun window (40-28 Main St)

3. White Bear (135-02 Roosevelt Ave #5)

4. Zhu Ji Guo Tie (40-52 Main Street is the technical address, but the actual window is on 41st Avenue)

5. Xian Famous Foods in the Golden Mall (41-28 Main Street, stall #36, lower level)

6. Chengdu Heaven in the Golden Mall (41-28 Main Street, stall #31, lower level)

7. Temple Snacks in the Flushing Mall (133-31 39th Ave, food court is on bottom floor, located on the way left hand side)

8. Sun Mary Bakery (13357 41st Road)

9. Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (38-12 Prince Street)

10. Best North Dumpling (135-08 Roosevelt Ave A4 BUT I think they moved to 41-42 Main Street)

Anybody have opinions on:

Sifu Chio (40-09 Prince street) for Hong Kong hawker style fried wontons or wontons in soup.

A place to get Taiwanese style open pot stickers aka "Zhonghua Road" pot stickers or kai kou guo tie now that Nan Bei He has closed? Apparently Lu Xiang Yuan has them?

I don't know the places on your list but thanks for sharing. Yea, I mean we've really only touched on the endless Flushing options. If the baby wasn't so young we'd probably be there and Jack Heights/Woodside every other wknd. We did pass by your #9; Nan Shian Dumpling House on Sunday noticing the Michelin rec in the window for the soup dumplings. It was packed and a wait outside (Asians only as far as I could see). I would very much like to try them as well the aforementioned Dongbei places. And of course I wish Hunan House would take the place of all 50 shitty places in my neighborhood. Echoing Sneak, it rocks!

That wasn't chicken

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  • 9 months later...

What kind of food do you want? Shanghainese food & soup dumplings at Nan Xiang? Cantonese seafood at Imperial Palace? Sichuan at Spicy & Tasty? Hunan at Hunan House? Dongbei at Golden Palace? Shandong at M&T?

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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  • 2 weeks later...

Not that anyone asked, but my current favorite places in Flushing are Imperial Palace, several of the stalls in Golden Mall and Fu Run (used to be Waterfront) on Prince St. I've personally never found a dim sum out there that is worth going out of my way for but the mall's stalls are better for snacking anyway.

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I switch between a few dim sum places but, as of the last few months, i have been going to Jade. I think it is exceptional. The mall is still a really nice place to get soup dumplings and some noodles at the Xian place. My favorite might be those lamb sticks for a buck on the street though. Still really want to try the burger place but, its closed on Sundays.

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK

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  • 1 year later...

Can anyone update me on some of the places mentioned in this thread, and where else might be worth going to for a meal? We'll be downstate next month, and with luck, we'll be hopping on the 7 train one day.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Guang Zhou has closed, not sure who is the reigning dim sum king these days.

Also Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao is still quite good but I now consider RedFarm in Manhattan to have the best ones in NYC.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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