I suspect I’m not alone as a food writer in having guilty pleasures I never write about. One of my favorites is the Singapore mei fun from Asian Bowl, a takeout pan-Asian spot next to an Uzbek kebab parlor, around the corner from my house. I’m well aware that there is little or nothing Singaporean about the tangle of yellow noodles, shrimp, pork, and egg, but that doesn’t stop me from eating it at least once a week.
The other night I stopped in to get my mei fun on. The place seemed different, for one thing the lights were turned up high and there were new tables. “Are you open I asked?” of a guy who I’d never seen working the counter. “Yes, but we’re under new management,” he said after taking my order. “We are going to start serving Burmese food and sushi too.”
“If you make mohinga I’ll come every day,” I responded. “How do you know mohinga,” he said quickly grabbed my hand and kissing it in a fit of pure joy because I namechecked the fish noodle soup from his homeland.
So on Sunday, after two days eating almost my entire weight in meat at Charcuterie Masters I returned to try the newest and only Burmese restaurant in Queens. While I waited for my mohinga, I listened to my new friend John take orders for standard American Chinese fare like General Tso’s and beef lo mein.
He soon brought a bowl of brownish soup with rice noodles and a plate with cilantro, hardboiled egg, crispy chickpea crackers, and lime. After adding everything, I dug into what’s surely the best mohinga I’ve had on Queens Boulevard, and not just because it was the only one. It was a little lacking in the chili department, but that was easily remedied by a few shakes of red chili.
After polishing off the most Asian bowl to ever come from Asian Bowl’s kitchen, I delved a little deeper into the menu. Under the somewhat arcane heading “A La Carte/ Group A,” I hit paydirt: 13 thoke, or Burmese salads. The most famous of these is latphat thoke, or tea leaf salad, but I went for gin thoke, whose star is ginger. The tangle of shredded cabbage, ginger, and tomato shot through with briny dried shrimp and crunchy broad beans was an explosion of texture and flavor.
I can’t wait to work my way through the rest of Asian Bowl’s new Burmese menu, just don’t hate me if still order Singapore mei fun!
Asian Bowl, 101-11 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, 718-275-1888