I’m always up for an adventure, especially one that involves food. I’d like to think of it as “Destination Eating” – heading to one specific neighborhood or restaurant to eat one specific dish. I’m always up for a “Must-Have Dishes in [Insert Destination Here]” lists and I tend to go a little overboard writing recommendation after recommendation down to hopefully try one day down the road. If only there were enough hours in the day / I could afford to just eat my way around the city and world!
In any event, a few weekends ago, out in Queens after a long day in the sun watching tennis, it only seemed appropriate to hop on the 7 train and head deeper into Flushing to Queen’s own Chinatown.
Now, first of all, I am rarely in Queens and know little to nothing about Chinatown! It’s apparently bigger than Manhattan’s Asian enclave and boasts amazing, amazing food. The whole impetus for this trip was an aptly titled “The Definitive Eating Guide To Flushing, Queens” list written by adventurous foodie Andrew Zimmer for ThrillList. While this list boasts more than ten restaurants to try, I picked the four that intrigued me the most and which all happened to be within a 4 block radius of each other.
Getting off the 7 train at Flushing-Main Street, we were a bit overwhelmed. It’s a little intimidating and overwhelming in a new place such as Chinatown with unfamiliar signs and packed streets. We were definitely outsiders!
But, all in all, it was one of the most unique and coolest experiences I’ve had in New York! The food was amazing and the experience itself was incredible.
First, we went to Corner 28 for Peking Duck Buns. Each is a dollar! We got four to split but I could have eaten so many more of these. The place is a bit hard to find but it’s on the corner of Main St. and 40th and look for the sign in the take out window that reads “Rice Wrap/Peking Duck.” A great start to this foodie crawl.
Next, we headed to the downstairs food court of Golden Mall for both Xi’an Famous Foods and Tianjin Homemade Dumplings.
At Tianjin Homemade Dumplings, we had the pork, chive, and shrimp dumplings. You can get a plate of 12 dumplings for $4. FOUR DOLLARS! They were delicious and went perfectly with hot chili oil, vinegar and fresh garlic. I would have never thought to pair vinegar with dumplings, but strangely, it worked!
Next to the Tianjin stall is Xi’an Famous Foods, which is known for their homemade hand-pulled noodles. We tried the spicy lamb cumin noodles and the stewed oxtail noodles. The lamb noodles were quite spicy and so I may have preferred the oxtail a bit better. They were hefty portions, perfect for sharing, although my chopstick use needs work and those pesky delicious noodles are a bit hard to split for sharing. But, splurging noodles huddled over your plate is pretty much a happy byproduct of these places!
I will say these two dishes were the most expensive of our whole crawl but at about $8 per dish that’s saying something! Everything on the menu looked amazing and while I’d definitely go to Flushing again (as this is their original location and all), thankfully there’s a couple closer outposts of Xi’an in Manhattan for when the mood strikes!
And finally, we doubled back to 39th street and Prince to Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao for soup dumplings. The restaurant was packed even at a 9pm on a Monday night.
I love soup dumplings. They take a little practice to get the hang of eating them but they are amazing!
There’s so much more on this list that I’d definitely go back and hit up some of these other places. 4 restaurants and 4 dishes in about 2 hours (even with semi-small portions) combined with a long day left us full and satisfied and ready to hit the hay. I was pretty proud of myself for doing this!
While I’m constantly out exploring, this was definitely not my usual Sunday activity. A new environment and cheap and delicious food , what more could you ask for?! And the best thing was (while there were some tourists or like-minded foodies around) the majority of the clientele were locals – which is definitely how you know a place is good!
Now off to lunch, which will sadly not include cheap dumplings from Queens… I’ll be over here daydreaming of pork buns and soup dumplings!