I’ve dubbed the sector of Jackson Heights bounded by 72 and 74 Streets, between Roosevelt and 37th Avenues, Himalayan Heights due its profusion of Tibetan and Nepalese eateries. There are now three carts specializing in momo, the steamed dumplings beloved by all members of the Himalayan diaspora. My tendency is to downplay the area’s remaining Indian restaurants, but the truth is that those few blocks of Jackson Heights are a rich tapestry of interwoven ethnic enclaves. There’s even a Little Bangladesh on 73 Street. It’s favorite part of my food tours of the neighborhood,particularly when the Baul Daada Jaal Muri shop is open.
It’s one of the most exciting street food experiences to be had in Queens. Despite the name it’s not a shop, it’s streetside Bangladeshi chaat operation run by one Baul Daada. Three bucks gets you an order of his specialty, jal muri, or spicy puffed rice. It’s a sensory overload of a snack consisting of puffed rice, kala chana (black chickpeas) chopped tomatoes, cilantro, green chili paste, red onions, crunchy dried soybeans, cilantro, spicy fried noodles, and squirts and shakes from the various and sundry bottles, including some sinus-clearing mustard oil.Find Daada on 73 St. near 37 Ave. from late afternoon to around 10 p.m. weather permitting. And to find out even more about this neighborhood’s diverse foodways, why not enlist me as your culinary sherpa.