The line for genuine Sapporo style Ramen from Ramen Ezo Fukuro.
It’s been about a decade since I visited Mitsuwa, the sprawling Japanese supermarket located just across the river in New Jersey. I remember being intrigued but not terribly impressed by the megamart’s food court. So when my friend Kaori—who is my go-to gal when it comes to Japanese food—told me about Mitusuwa’s Hokkaido Gourmet Food Fair, being held this weekend I decided to check it out. Yesterday was the festival’s first day. So after pregaming with an early Filipino breakfast, I was soon on my way to Port Authority’s Gate 51 to the board the complimentary shuttle to the mystical land of Edgewater, N.J.
The first thing I noticed when I entered was the line for Ramen Ezo Fukuro. It stretched to the exit door beneath a banner proclaiming, “We are open this weekend only! Miso ramen from Sapporo, Japan. The chefs flew in from Japan just for this weekend! That’s how special this is!” (more…)
The Arepa Lady’s cart drew Smorgasburgesque lines.
After a week-plus on jury duty to say I was psyched for last Friday’s Viva La Comida festival is the height of understatement. The night be before I was like a child on Christmas Eve. Visions of street food—Peruvian tamales, Mexican sandwiches and tacos, Puerto Rican lechin, Tibetan dumplings, Indian chaat, Colombian arepas, Filpino BBQ, and Irish drunk food—danced in my head. The festival which took place on 82nd St. between Baxter and Roosevelt in Jackson Heights was curated by my fellow fresser, Jeff Orlick who knows a thing or two about street food in the Heights and elsewhere. (more…)
I should really stop eating, do some stomach stretching exercises, or hit the gym real hard today. I say this not out of any desire for physical fitness, but because I feel ill-prepared for Viva La Comida! The street food festival being held tomorrow from 4 p.m.to 10 p.m on 82 St. between Roosevelt and Baxter Aves., promises a dozen undersung street food superstars from Queens and beyond. Street foods of many nations will be represented, including the supersized Mexican sandwiches of Tortas Neza to Tibetan momos from the Potala cart. I am most impressed by the fact that festival curator Jeff Orlick has been able to lure Lechonera La Piraña away from the Bronx. The machete-wielding Piraña makes the best Puerto Rican roast pork I’ve ever had. (more…)
Malaysian mooncake with pandan filling and a salted egg center.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of taking tea at Yumcha Yoga in Flushing. It’s a monthly ritual (yumcha means to drink tea in Cantonese) over at the newish yoga school established by the creators of Dim Sum Warriors. This month’s theme? Mooncakes, the dense, sweet Chinese treats eaten to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Theresa Wong of Fang Gourmet Tea paired the cakes with a lovely aged pu-er tea. Afterwards she told me that she’s not really a big fan of mooncakes. So with the moon hanging heavy in the sky and the festival falling this Thursday here’s what I’d like to know. Do you dig mooncakes? Or do you liken them to hockeypucks? And if you do like them what’s your favorite? Mixed nut, Malaysian pandan flavored, the platter sized discus that is Fujianese mooncake,or some other variety? For the record my favorites are the Malaysian ones.
The gado gado grannies at Masjid Al Hikmah’s Indonesian Food Bazaar.
Hog Days of Summer Saturday, September 14, 2013, Long Island City Tyson Ho, the whole hog cookery wizard who taught me to love to North Carolina ‘cue hosts the final whole hog blowout in Queens. Expect fine swine, fine tunes, and fine brew from Founder’s. Tickets are still available here. Indonesian Food Bazaar Sunday, September 15, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Outside the Al-Hikmah Mosque, 48-01 31st Ave. (at 48th St.), Astoria, Queens The O.G. of Indonesian food bazaars features scores satay, freshly made gado gado,and much more.
Šri Ganeša Chaturthi Parade Sunday, September 15, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
45-57 Bowne Street, Flushing Flushing’s Ganesh temple, Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam to its devotees, is known among foodies for the dosa served up by its Temple Canteen. It is first and foremost though a temple. Come watch as the elephant headed deity gets paraded through the local streets in a festive celebration.
Volunteers ladling out bubur ayam, a lovely chicken and rice porridge.
Like many of my food-obsessed friends in Queens I’m fascinated by iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast observed during this Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In Jackson Heights it makes its presence known in the form of so-called iftar boxes sold on tables outside the Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants. While they look tasty there’s little variety among them. Most include a pakora, some rice, dates, and a sweet or two. So I’m grateful Anne Noyes Saini wrote about our borough’s other more diverse iftar offerings, including a gratis buffet held every weekend at Astoria’s Masjid Al Hikmah. (more…)
Matt Gelfand and Tyson Ho prepared Eastern North Carolina BBQ.
Last night Edible Queens celebrated its relaunch with Summerbeat in Sunnyside Gardens Park. The event’s theme “Eat meat, drink beer,” echoed that of the magazine’s summer issue, which includes some great articles about local butchers and brewers as well as my new column, At the Table. It was a very special evening on many levels. For one thing summer has always meant cookouts. Over the years the cookouts in my life have grown in scale from backyard grilling to the smoking of hogs, but the aroma of roasting meat in summer remains as welcome to me as the sight of the first fireflies of July. (more…)
This chicken with chili is a specialty of North Sulawesi.
Southeast Asian food bazaars pop up like multihued summer orchids throughout Queens. The bustling events offer a window into such cuisines as Burmese that are rarely seen in restaurants, even in this most delicious and diverse of boroughs. And even when the cuisines are represented in the borough’s eateries, there are many home-cooked dishes, seldom seen on menus. Take ayam rica rica, a fiery Indonesian chicken dish, that I tried for the first time at the Pasar Kuliner Nusantara, or Archipelago Culinary Market, held at Flushing Town Hall on June 29. (more…)
When it comes to food Queens has Brooklyn beat. After all, the diversity and quality of the grub in Queens is simply mind-blowing. Plus, we have M. Wells Dinette. And as of this past weekend Queens is giving Smorgasburg a run for its money with the newly opened LIC Flea & Food. Here’s a look at some of the market’s food offerings.
Alobar’s big dog topped with ginger pulled pork and carrot slaw.
On Saturday morning I was actually at Smorgasburg performing a Thai chicken skin mitzvah for my friends over at Scharf & Zoyer. They also turned me on to a sandwich and I sampled some wonderful couscous from NYSHUK. And then, I had some ice cream from nearby Oddfellows. So, by the time I got to Long Island City the old food tank was pretty full. Good as it looked there was no way I would have been able to take down Alobar’s Big Dog ($12) a frankfurter topped with ginger pulled pork and carrot slaw. (more…)
Last Saturday I still had a whole hog hangover and had a food tour to lead, so I knew there was no chance I’d be able to attend the Forest Hills Indonesian Food Festival, even though it was practically in my back yard. So I’m very glad that my pal Peter Cucè agreed to do a guest post about it. Peter Cucè is a food-obsessed coffee lover who intermittently chronicles New York City cafe culture via a variety of internet outlets. He has eaten his way through nearly every cuisine available locally and beyond and is now systematically working his way through regional Chinese and Korean food in Flushing and Sunset Park and cataloging his efforts via Instagram. You can also catch Peter on Twitter @petekachu. Take it away Peter . . .
The Queens-based southeast Asian food festivals have been coming thick and fast now that spring has sprung, beginning with the mid-April Songkran New Year festival at the Thai temple in Elmhurst, followed a week later (Sunday April 21st) with the inaugural 2013 date of the monthly outdoor Indonesian food festival at Astoria’s Masjid Al Hikmah, and Myanmar’s Lunar New Year fair rounding out the month.
May hasn’t been slouching in this department either, with this past weekend seeing another Burmese festival, one that happens periodically in the warmer months, at Aviation High School; a one-off Indonesian food festival this past Saturday, a fundraiser for the Roslin Orphanage in Kupang, Indonesia, held at the First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills; and this coming Sunday, the second iteration of the monthly Indonesian mosque festival held in the parking lot behind Astoria’s Masjid Al-Hikmah.
Besides being indoors, compared to the monthly mosque festival, this past weekend’s Indonesian event was conceptually different, because pork was on the menu. Although Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, Christians make up around 10% of the population. The church vendors were mostly Javanese/Chinese, while the people cooking at the mosque tend to be Sumatran, although there are also some Javanese at the mosque and vice versa. This ethnic religious influence reflects on the food available at each event, with the church’s Central Java leanings generally resulting in overall sweeter food, seasoned with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and palm sugar, compared to the mosque, where dishes tend to be spicier and more savory, with flavor enhancers such as shrimp paste. One major exception is the sate padang, a well-known Sumatran dish, which is almost always available at the mosque event and was notably available at the church, as I’ll get into a little more below.
Since there wasn’t anywhere for the participants to do more than the most rudimentary cooking (in actuality just reheating), this event for the most part offered food cooked ahead time and assembled at the church, whereas at the mosque a good portion of the food is cooked from scratch on site.
Once my Indonesian posse and some other friends arrived, we armed ourselves with $20 or so worth of tickets each and spread out, hunting for tasty items and bringing them back to the group for sharing, a useful strategy for trying lots of things without getting full too quickly.
On the side of the dimly lighted, cavernous room opposite the door, one of the first tables was staffed by several generations of women ladling soto babat, a yellow tripe soup with glass noodles, into quart-size plastic containers. (more…)