Over on Serious Eats New York Max Falkowitz waxes nostalgic for boyhood dinners at red sauce mecca Park Side extolling its glitzy virtue as “one of the few remaining sources of red sauce fine dining in New York City.”
Ligaya Mishan files on Los Perros Locos, a Lower East Side Colombian hot dog emporium that features such wieners as the Pablo Escobar, which the menu says come with a dusting of Perico. There is, of course, no cocaine on the hot dog. The white stuff is cotija cheese.
Real Cheap Eats give this old Flushing hand a lesson in Chinese breakfast. There’s more to Oriental express Food Court than Tianjin breakfast wraps, like “tofu brains,” a savory northern Chinese take on douhua teeming with mushrooms, ginger, garlic and star anise. Yes, please. (more…)
Despite the name the newly opened Hot Spot specializes in shaved ice.
Come summertime one of my favorite ways to chill out is shaved ice, whether of the Dominican or Taiwanese variety. So I was pleased when Hot Spot, a new Taiwanese shaved iced stand opened on Main Street a few days ago. It’s affiliated with the late Ice Fire Land, hence the name. Situated in front of an apothecary, it’s the only grab-and-go shaved stand in Flushing’s Chinatown. (more…)
The leathery skinned mangosteen is renowned for its exquisite flavor.
The mangosteen is the Holy Grail of tropical fruit to me. For years the leathery orbs native to Southeast Asia were illegal in the United States. Several years ago I took a trip to Toronto and scored two or three. As I recall never did wind up eating them. And last year, I purchased a bag, sadly one out of five were moldy. The ones that weren’t were tasty, but not worth the exorbitant price. (more…)
I’ve always been a big fan of the gado gado gals at Masjid Al-Hikmah’s Indonesian food bazaar. Now thanks to Real Cheap Eats I know that they also make a spicier version called pecel.”
“The more we show faith, the better the barbecue has the potential to become,” Max Falkowitz writes in a mixed yet laudatory review of John Brown Smokehouse spinoff Alchemy,Texas, which due its location in the back of old man bar Legends, is “more deserving of the title ‘barbecue joint’ than anywhere in NYC.” (more…)
The other day I walked through Golden Shopping Mall, stopping to peer at the picture menu at Cheng Du Tian Fu and waving hello to the ladies at Xi’an Famous Foods, and Tian Jin Dumpling House. I left without ordering anything. This isn’t an unusual occurrence. Since I’m always on the lookout for new dishes I patrol the food court’s grotty corridors weekly. It was breakfast time and I was hungry, but nothing really struck my fancy.
So I headed over to Oriental Express Food, which lies a few storefronts south. The name on the sign—which features a locomotive chugging its way across a bowl of soup—is the only English in the joint. I headed to the last stall in the back, a hawker of thick scallion pancakes the size of manhole covers and other specialties from Tianjin. (more…)
Like many a food writer, myself included, my friend Eric Malson is often given to fits of hyperbole. Thankfully our tastes are usually in sync so when he went on record to say that Szechuan Dish in Flushing’s New World Mall had “the greatest noodle dish in New York,” I knew I had to try it. Actually I forgot all about it, but a week ago I found myself doing laps of the food court and suddenly remembered it.
Ròu shao gān nǎn miàn, sliced noodles with Szechuan chili-minced pork and peanut was indeed quite extraordinary. Frilly, translucent noodles sit in a lake of chili oil and are topped with crunchy bits of ground pork and peanut. I may never order dàn dàn miàn again, at least not in New World Mall. I’m not quite sure they’re the best noodles I’ve ever had, but they’re certainly up there. So here’s what I’m curious to know. What’s your favorite noodle dish in New York City. Keep in mind it needn’t be Chinese. Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.
Mamak House sits above the now defunct Hong Kong Noodle Shop.
At one of the many recent Southeast Asian lunar New Year festivals my good friend Dave Cook of Eating in Translation spoke excitedly about a new spot in Flushing, “Mama Khao’s.” At least that’s what I thought he said, until he informed me that the new Malaysian joint is named Mamak House, after the mamak who as I just learned from Wikipedia are “Tamil Muslims of Malaysian nationality, whose forefathers mostly migrated from South India to the Malay Peninsula and various locations in Southeast Asia centuries ago.” As Dave explained that the joint was started by a gal who runs a mamak-style catering outfit I thought, “Boy my Singaporean friends are gonna be excited about this place.” Whenever I talk to them about Malaysian food in New York City, they always say something to the effect of, “It’s OK, but it’s not the same as back home. The Indian influence is missing.”
Murtabak, savory little packages of ground beef served with pickled onions.
Last week Dave and I met at Mamak House for a late lunch. As I walked in I recalled that it used to be a Dongbei joint with table cooking in fact, several of the grill tables remain. The menu, is filled with mamak specialties, including an intriguing weekend only dish: nasi ulam utara, rice mixed with more than 10 types of herbs and roasted shrimp. The back of the bill of fare is adorned with pictures of spices from the aromatic to the fiery. The murtabak ($6.95) , savory envelopes filled with ground beef, were subtly flavored with clove and other spices. A sidecar of sharp pickled onions accompanied the mellow Malaysian beef blintzes. (more…)
As I’ve written before Northern Boulevard is New York City’s real Koreatown, vast and overwhelming with tons of restaurants. I can barely keep track of them, which is why I’m glad my pal Peter Cucè hipped me to Geo Si Gi, and agreed to do this guest post. I’ve been meaning to try it for years. Until I dined there with him and some friends I never realized the image on the sign was a caveman; I always thought it was a fish. Peter’s a food-obsessed coffee lover who chronicles New York City cafe culture via his website, Project Latte. Like me he is an old school Chowhound who truly lives (and travels) to eat. Peter 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 cataloging his efforts on Flickr and intermittently, on Tumblr. Catch him on Twitter @petekachu. Take it away Pete . . .
Geo Si Gi’s sign features a cartoon caveman chasing a wild boar.
Geo Si Gi is one of around 10 restaurants along a strip of Northern Boulevard in a neighborhood sometimes called Murray Hill but also referred to as East Flushing or just plain old Flushing. Collectively these restaurants are the northern beachhead of Murray Hill’s Mokja Golmak or Eater’s Alley, Korean vernacular for an area that has a lot of restaurants with different specialties.
The specialty of the house is pork bone casserole.
I’ve been gradually working my way through these establishments and finally convened a party to visit Geo Si Gi, whose specialty is gamjatang, a pork bone casserole offered in five variations including dried cabbage, kimchi, curry, and seafood. Unless you go at lunchtime, gamjatang requires a group, because as is often the case at Korean restaurants, the casserole dishes are huge and built for sharing, starting at $29.95 for the most basic version for two people and topping out at $57.95 for the seafood gamjatang for four. (more…)
This bowl of shaved ice holds a warm, chewy surprise.
Along with the cold Korean soup naeng-myun, Taiwanese shaved ice is one of my favorite ways to cool off when humidity starts to make me overheat. Ice Fire Land, a hotpot shaved ice hybrid owned by Timothy Chuang, used to be my favorite place to get a bowl of this refreshing sweet treat. Chuang has changed the name of his restaurant to Taipei 101, for Taiwan’s gleaming office tower. Hotpot’s been replaced by an ambitious menu of Taiwanese fare, but the shaved is still there on a separate menu.
I was glad to know that I could still get shaved ice when I walked in yesterday. “Pudding, pineapple,condensed milk,” I said pausing to ask Mr. Chuang, which of the many balls tapioca, taro,or yam were the chewy ones. “They’re all chewy,” he said, so I settled on yam. (more…)
“Oh, it’s so good that I friggin dream about it,” my pal enthused to me about the Muslim lamb chop ($21.95) at Fu Run. “Yeah right, I thought to myself,” filing his rave about this Dongbei joint’s lamb dish away in the back of my mind. And then one day I finally broke down and tried it. It is spectacular in many, many ways. For one thing it is not a lamb chop but rather a whole rack, butchered in what I guess would be called country style.
Imagine a mad chef-scientist turning his attention to American Chinese pork spare ribs. Naturally he’d replace lamb with pork since it’s so much tastier. Then he’d braise it, roll it in spices, and deep fry it. The crunchy spice-studded exterior encases red-tinged meat and bits of snow-white fat, all packed with wonderful lamb flavor. An order of tiger vegetables ($5.95), a cool tangle of cilantro and hot peppers shot through with teeny salty shrimp, is a welcome foil to all that rich meat.