I love Asian food. I have literally traveled across the globe in order to eat Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Japanese dishes like a local and I would do it all over again. However, before I do it again, I realized I should take a jaunt over to Flushing, Queens which is a mere 35-40 minute drive or hour subway ride away from me. Slightly closer than the opposite side of the world.
Why Flushing? Flushing is a neighborhood in Queens, NY that has long been home to many immigrants and refugees. In the late 20th century there was a huge surge of Asian immigrants that led to Flushing holding the title for the largest “Chinatown” in the NY area. There are countless restaurants that specialize in food from a varied number of regions around China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea. I went during a weekday and the streets and food courts were still buzzing with people speaking all sorts of languages. To be honest with you, I briefly felt like I was on a trip somewhere and had to remind myself which country I was in! Bring as many mouths as possible because you’ll want to try a little bit of everything in this Asian food (mainly Chinese) mecca!
If you’re coming from Manhattan you can either take the 7 train or a car. I took a Zipcar that I picked up and dropped off at a car garage down the block from me [sponsor]. When I made the move to NYC I, like most transplants, gave up owning a car (breaking my Midwest heart). I didn’t realize how much I missed the freedom of getting in a car and just going wherever I needed and more importantly wanted to go. The subway system is great but when you want to reach some of the further away boroughs or suburbs and freely explore, I would highly recommend checking out Zipcar. I wanted to take full advantage of my mobility so I popped an antacid pill, hopped in the car, turned on 106.7, drove on the FDR (yikes), ate as if I was eating for me, you and your friend, and then swung by the iconic Spaceship towers from Men In Black – In order to call yourself a local you gotta explore the neighborhood. Here’s my list!
Tiger Sugar Tea – Get in line and wait for what was truly the best boba tea I have ever had. I had the brown Sugar Boba + pearl with cream mousse. Make sure to save room in your stomach for this treat that is refreshing and not too sweet!
New World Mall – When you come down to the basement of New World Mall and see all of the stalls, you’ll be extra happy you brought your friends, or their stomachs rather. Get the lagman (handmade noods) and lamb skewers at Tarim Uyghur Food and feast at the Mala Dry Pot spot. I got very spicy and it was HOT and numbing but not unbearable – true spicy lovers will appreciate. I didn’t get to eat at the stall with the 3 ducks logo on it. I saw so many people get soups there and definitely want to try it next time. It’s right next to the mala dry pot!
Tianjin Dumpling / Dumpling Galaxy – I had some trouble finding this spot. It’s located in the basement of the Golden Shopping Mall and recently changed names to Dumpling Galaxy. This is where I had ~*~THE BEST DUMPLINGS IN NY~*~. The smallest set they come in is 15 for $8. I ordered the lamb and green squash – sounds untraditional but its flavors are perfect, the dough is chewy but thin and crisped and the meat is so tender. DrooOooOl.
The Coop – If you need a break from shopping centers and are looking for something more modern, The Coop is a great place to grab afternoon or late night beer and wings. It’s a Korean restaurant that feels pretty trendy for the neighborhood. The wings are great – perfectly crisped and flavorful.
HaiDiLao Hot Pot – So you know when I said I forgot what country I am in? It happened here. If you want amazing Hot Pot and a fun experience go here, but not at peak time unless you are ok with waiting a few hours. This is a huge global chain and you can feel that it’s a well oiled machine. While you wait you can have tea, sit in a massage chair and apparently even get a manicure! We got two broths – pork bone and a mala beef. Order your meat and veggies and go get crazy at the sauce station and make some flavor packed mixes. Also make sure to order a dancing noodle – I promise I won’t pop out 🙂
Szechuan Mountain House – This is another spot I didn’t go to in Flushing because they have one on St. Marks in Manhattan. The St. Marks one was really great so I assume the Flushing one is just as good if not better.