08/28/14 1:54pm
JAVANOODLE

Java Village’s kwetiau Jakarta.

Chow fun—broad Chinese rice flour noodles—was as much a staple of childhood trips to Chinatown with my father as it was the local takeout. He cooked it at home too, purchasing wonton skins that he cut into noodle-sized strips. I have a feeling he’d have liked the kwetiau Jakarta ($9) I tried at Java Village the other night. It eats like chow fun’s spicier Indonesian cousin. (more…)

08/25/14 11:00am
CANTONCHICKEN

This Chinese fried chicken deserves to be described as famous.

As much as I go on about a certain  secret Taiwanese fried chicken, I do have another favorite Chinese fried chicken. It comes from Canton Gourmet. A poster sized come-on for this dish first encouraged me to try it. “Famous garlic aromatic crispy chicken,” read the English name. The poster depicting an entire golden fried bird showered with fried garlic, shallots, and scallion had me at “crispy chicken.” Throw in those three not so little words “famous garlic aromatic,” and I was sold.

Whoever’s on the fry station at Canton Gourmet knows what they’re doing and does it well. The salty skin is shatteringly crisp, yet the meat remains juicy. It was a great pleasure to crunch my way—bones and all—through an entire $11.95 platter. This top flight Chinese fried chicken is entirely deserving of its lofty moniker. I resolve to eat it more often.

Canton Gourmet, 38-08 Prince St, Queens, 718-886-9288

07/28/14 2:08pm
MWELLSBEET

Beet tartare, as refreshing as a summer’s breeze.

The running joke about me and M. Wells Dinette is that if I had an editor they’d tell me not to write about the place so much. Since I don’t, here goes. Yesterday I stopped by to check out their pig roast and petanque scene in the courtyard of at MoMA PS1. Finding myself in the mood for neither, I headed into the restaurant.

“I kind of want beef tartare, but can’t justify having it since I ate my body weight in red meat last night,” I said to Aidan O’Neal. “You should try the beet tartare,” he said. I flat out refused claiming somewhat hyperbolically that it goes against everything I believe in. It sort of does since I am no fan of mock meat and veggie burgers. “Try it, I think you’ll be surprised,” the chef persisted. Eventually  I caved and ordered the $14 vegetable tartare. And I am glad I did. (more…)

07/14/14 10:30am
sichnoodles1

‘Sweet noodles’ lashed with sesame sauce and topped with garlic paste.

Cold sesame noodles are an American Chinese staple that I haven’t eaten in quite some time. It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s just that the hyper-regional, hyperauthentic hawker stands that I frequent don’t serve them. Yesterday I learned that there’s a warm Sichuan version of this dish. It goes by the moniker sweet sauce noodles. Or at least it does at Cheng Du Tian Fu, my favorite Sichuan snack stall in Flushing’s Chinatown. (more…)

07/07/14 12:27pm
TCPRAINBOW

Dorothy and the Wizard would no doubt approve.

“Let’s go for Thai,” I said to my pal Adrian the other day. “I’ve got a place over on Woodside Avenue,” he said. Never one to trust another’s taste in Thai, I countered with a better place also on Woodside. “Oh, no not that big place, that won’t do,” he said. “No not Sripraphai,” I said. And that’s how we wound up at Thailand’s Center Point where I discovered something called Over the Rainbow ($13.95).

It had been months since I’d visited Aom “Annie” Phinphatthakul’s cute little spot. And I was eager to see what new creations would be highlighted in multicolored chalk on the specials board. And then I saw it: “Over the Rainbow, diced crispy fish with Thai herbs in special spicy lime.” (more…)

06/20/14 10:32am
KATSUNO2

Katsuno’s carpaccio made me rethink salmon.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ordered salmon at a sushi bar. At least one of those times was a monstrous Philadelphia roll. Novelty rolls are common at Japanese restaurants in Queens, but not at Katsuno. Yuka Seo and her husband Chef Seo pride themselves on authenticity at their Forest Hills sushi haven. (more…)

06/09/14 10:17am
CRAZYCRABSOUP1

Crazy Crab’s ohn-no kout swei eats kind of like a Burmese kari laksa.

When I walked into the Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation’s Seventh Annual Burmese Food Fair yesterday I had a familiar feeling of being overwhelmed. There were nearly two dozen items from tea leaf salad to various noodle soups and some 10 desserts. Burmese food is quite rare in New York City, but I knew there was no possible way I could try everything. So rather than be engulfed in foodie FOMO I settled on just one item ohn-no kout swei, a spicy chicken noodle soup in a coconut-enriched broth. (more…)

05/20/14 10:46am
PLOYMK1

There’s a reason miang kana is number one on the chef’ specialties.

“Do you have miang kum?” I asked the chef of Ploy Thai. She was chatting outside the kitchen door chatting with her staff. I don’t usually accost chefs while the gates are still down, but I didn’t want to disappoint my friends who were joining me for a Thai food crawl in Elmhurst. My Thai is beyond limited, but I definitely  heard her say something with the word miang. I was very excited to introduce my pals to the savory flavor bomb that is miang kum—dried shrimp, tiny skin on lime wedges, chilies, peanuts, dried shredded coconut, and a sugary fish sauce spiked paste—designed to be wrapped up in a leaf and enjoyed. (more…)

04/21/14 12:10pm
MANOK2

This tinalong manok rocks.

 During this year’s never ending winter I’ve turned often to soup as both comfort and cure. Last week it was tingalong manok, at Manny’s Bake Shop, one of my favorite Filipino restaurants in Queens. The gingery chicken soup always manages to clear my head and lift my spirits. And Manny’s tinalong manok is quite special indeed. For one thing it’s a ginormous serving that’s best shared, or enjoyed by one food writer trying to kick a cold. (more…)

04/14/14 10:48am
RICEROLL2

Noodle Village’s rice rolls are a sweet chewy delight.

“I never get anything else there,” she said, “because my inner six-year-old makes a bee line for the rice rolls.” We were talking about Noodle Village So Good, a stall just at the bottom of the escalator in New World Mall, which traffics in congees, soups, and noodles, with a side line in xiao long bao. I told her that as a six-year old I’d eaten my fair share of shrimp and pork chang fan at Mei Lai Wah Coffee House in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I’d always thought of them as more of snacky type meal than a treat, but I could tell from the way she spoke about them Noodle Village’s rice rolls fell clearly in the treat category. (more…)