01/31/14 10:51am

GOLDENCNY

Gong Xi Fa Cai! The year of the Wood Horse is upon us. To aid in your celebration of the 15-day Chinese New Year, here’s  a short list of some of my favorite dishes in what I humbly consider to be the tastiest Chinatown in America.

FURUNCORN

Fu Run’s festive looking golden corn pancake.

1. Golden Corn Pancake, Fu Run
The granddaddy of Dongbei cookery in Flushing is best known for the Muslim lanb chop, but it’s specials, like the festive looking huang jin yu mi lao, or golden corn pancake ($15.95) that keep me coming back. Despite the name it’s not stack of hoe cakes, but rather some lovely fried corn croquettes. The loosely bound kernels are interspersed with carrots and peas and laid out in a star pattern. Other standout specials include the spicy fried crabs. Fu Run, 40-09 Prince St, Flushing, 718-321-1363 (more…)

01/28/14 11:14am
Hly's version. XXXXXXXX

Sichuan ox tongue and tripe is a classic spicy Chinese dish.

Welcome to the fifth installment of C+M’s ongoing series of audio guides on how to order authentically spicy food in ethnic restaurants. As a service to C+M readers Anne Noyes Saini has been compiling a series of audio guides demonstrating phrases in several relevant languages, which can be used to navigate ordering situations fraught with tricky cultural and language barriers.

Today just in time for the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities, a primer from Rain Yan Wang on how to order spicy food in Mandarin. At most of my favorite Flushing haunts, like Lao Cheng Du and Cheng Du Tian Fu, they don’t pull any punches when it comes to fiery chili heat and tingling Sichuan peppercorns. That’s not the case everywhere though. Click through to learn how to get real deal spicy Chinese. (more…)

02/19/13 12:00am
A crunchy, spicy, fishy snack from Malaysia.

A crunchy, spicy, fishy snack from Malaysia.

One of the reasons I love Curry Leaves apart from the fact that it’s the closest thing Flushing has to a Malaysian night market is all the snacks and desserts that line the counter. The other day I spotted a package labeled “spicy shrimp knots.” Inside the clear plastic container were dozens and dozens of tiny wontons tied in knots. “It’s for Chinese New Year,” the lady behind the counter said as I handed her $8.

The delicate fried bundles have a shatteringly crunchy skin filled with intensely shrimpy dried shrimp. There’s just a hint of chili heat. Crunchy, salty, fishy they are in my Malay junk food wheelhouse. For the first few days I controlled my appetite for these intensely flavored treats. “They’d make a great topping for soup,” I thought to myself, being sure not to polish off the container. Tonight I threw self-control to the wind and polished off the rest. I will probably check back at Curry Leaves this week to see if they have anymore. If not I’m sure I’ll find some other form of Malaysian munchables.

Curry Leaves, 135-31 40th Road, Flushing, 718-762-9313

02/08/13 12:04am
You know Chinese New Year's almost here when they start selling red panties outside Golden Mall.

Chinese New Year’s nigh. They’re selling red panties outside Golden Mall.

This Sunday is the beginning of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration. To kick off the Year of the Snake The Gastronauts and C+M are hosting a very special banquet at Uncle Zhou’s. As a way to reward the burgeoning C+M community I’m giving away two seats to the February 12 dinner at 7:30.

What’s on the evening’s very special menu you ask? The fête kicks off with a cold platter of beef tendon, chicken heart, beef tripe, tofu skin, quick pickle, and headcheese. Then in true Gastronaut fashion, there will be lamb testicles, quick fried beef genitals, red and white carrot with pig tripe, spicy rabbit, and pig kidney.  As a friend of mine likes to say, it’ll be a meal of many parts.

To win the dinner for two, write a haiku that references Uncle Zhou, offal, and whatever else you find apt. The writer of the winning poem wins two seats at the banquet table. Please be sure to place responses in the comment section of this post. The contest ends Monday at 12:00 p.m. That gives you a whole snowy weekend to find something poetic to say about beef penis.

02/05/13 10:02am
This carb on carb number was pretty good, but it’s not my favorite.

This carb on carb number was pretty good, but it’s not my favorite.

Despite my ever-present Mets cap, I am by no means a sports fan. This is why I chose to celebrate Super Bowl Sunday by eating dim sum in Flushing with two old friends.

By the time we got there, Grand Restaurant (New World Mall, 40-21 Main St., 3rd Floor) was packed. I like Grand because there’s something for everyone: a good half dozen types of dumplings, various steamed buns, large plates ranging from fried whitebait and sauteed baby octopus to roast pork, several preparations of chicken feet, and many desserty type items. And I almost always find something new there, like the sticky rice bun pictured above. Sadly they did not have one of my favorite items: a giant seafood dumpling in a bowl of soup that one adds red vinegar and ginger to

With Chinese New Year fast approaching here’s what I’m curious to know. What are your favorite items to eat when you go out for dim sum? Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.

01/28/13 12:00am

In about two weeks it will be Chinese New Year, specifically the Year of the Snake. Around C+M headquarters I have taken to calling it the Year of The Snack. It’s with great pleasure that I introduce a new column, Midnight Snack. Sometimes I think that I eat meals between snacks, instead of avoiding between-meal snacks as I was told to do in grade school. Often these treats fall into the category of irrestible international junk food. That’s certainly the case with today’s entry, Kurkure. Think of it as India’s answer to Cheetos. I think Frito-Lay may have discontinued the Kurkure Extreme flavor. Not to worry, the flavors that are available—Masala Munch, Chilli Chatka, and Hyderabadi Hungama—with ingredients like ginger powder, black salt, and chili powder are plenty extreme,with a great crunch and serious heat level.  I score mine at Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights, Queens,  but you can find the this unique Midnight Snack at any decent-sized Indian grocer.

 Patel Brothers, 37-27 74th St., Jackson Heights, 718-898-3445

01/11/13 11:04am

Quite possibly America’s best potstickers. Image source: The SunBreak

Here’s a newsflash: “Find Some of America’s Best Chinese Food … in Flushing.” Or so Jay Friedman declared last week in The SunBreak. Pondering next month’s Chinese New Year Seattle-based Friedman writes:

But what if I could be anywhere in America for Chinese food? The San Gabriel Valley in the Los Angeles area would tempt me (and wouldn’t disappoint), but at this point, I find myself leaning toward Flushing, New York. …There’s an international melting pot of food in the borough of Queens, and Flushing’s the place if you want a full array of Chinese cuisine.

I had the pleasure of showing Friedman and his brother around downtown Flushing back in August. It was an “absolute feeding frenzy” that started out with the magnificent guo tie at New World Mall. The winged dumplings never fail to impress. We also managed to fit in a taste of Tianjin pork tongue, fresh tofu, and even a visit to Biang!, among many other things.

Friedman’s kind words about my enthusiasm for downtown Flushing warmed my heart and his slideshow of our whirlwind day of eating made me hungry. Check it for yourself here. It was an honor to show him around. But the real honor goes to Flushing and its amazing Chinese food.