02/24/15 3:18pm
CHIKOR1

The stars of Shandong dumpling making have a new home.

After years of being on the chopping block, Flushing Mall finally closed its doors late last month. I can’t say I’ll miss the odd collection of retailers, but the main food court was always a favorite food tour stop, particularly for Diverse Dim Sum’s excellent xiao long bao. And then there were the Shandong Dumpling Ladies located on the already sleepy mall’s even sleepier side. (more…)

12/31/14 4:41pm

As 2014 draws to a close rather than offer up a roster of resolutions—less chips more gym, save money, etc.—C+M presents a list of 14 of our favorite things, a highlight reel of the year that was. Let the mostly Queens-focused cavalcade of offal, mashups, secret eats, and overall deliciousness begin.

RUGELSSAINT

The rugelssaint at Andre’s Hungarian.

1. Sweetest mashup
Part pain au chocolat, part rugelach, all decadence the chocolate croissant—aka rugelssaint—at Andre’s Hungarian Bakery was my go-to guilty breakfast this year.

BANGANSOUP1A

Ban Ga Ne’s got your large format goat feast needs covered.

2. Best goat meat bonanza
Not only was the three-course black goat meat feast at Ban Ga Ne one of the best Korean meals I’ve had in a long time, it was some of the best goat I’ve ever had. Plus as the proprietor pointed out, it’s um, invigorating.

NHZUPP2

Zuppardi’s glorious fresh shucked Little Neck clam pie.

3. Best pizza
Some friends and I made a pizza pilgrimage to New Haven this fall. Everything we tried was good, but the real revelation came when we dug into the fresh clam pie at Zuppardi’s Apizza. Fragrant with Little Necks and oregano atop a crackling thin crust, it was simply astounding. (more…)

12/02/14 4:56pm
MANJOO1

At the new Deli Manjoo Korean sweets are selling like hot cakes.

“Is there a Korean donut place like that one in Eater,” my doughnut obsessed pal asked via text message the other day. “Not sure,” I responded, but there are at least two places that sell piping hot Korean sweets. Deli Manjoo, the newest, opened in the bustling J-Mart supermarket a few days ago and is doing a brisk business. (more…)

07/22/14 12:57pm
RICECRACKLING2

Is that chicken crackling atop my rice rolls? Why yes, yes it is.

I can trace both a passion for Chinese food and a tendency toward dietary excess to my old man, who was of the more is more school of cooking and eating. Oh Craig Claiborne’s recipe calls for a teaspoon of preserved black beans? I’ll put three it’ll be better, right? Wrong! Which brings me to the subject of today’s post, a calorific, cholesterol-laden little number I call hung jiang chang fen ji pi, or mixed sauce rice rolls with crispy chicken skin. (more…)

11/04/13 9:43am
BIG-TRAY

A potage of poultry and potatoes sits atop a bed of hand-pulled noodles.

Dà pán jī—or “big tray of chicken” is a Henanese dish I’ve been meaning to try for some time.  I’d forgotten all about dà pán jī until I started seeing it at the New World Mall Food Court, notably at the purple curvilinear stand Stew where it goes by the rather ungainly yet specific English name “chicken potato noodle.” For an additional four bucks one can procure beef, lamb, or fish potato noodle.  As I snapped a photo of the Chinese language sign for the dish, which shows Stew’s chef giving a thumbs up and some characters that likely translate to “Best big tray of chicken in the free world,” my friend from the neighboring Stall No. 28 waved me over. (more…)

10/14/13 12:15pm
SichuanWonton

Surely this is the subtlest Sichuan seafood soup ever.

When it comes to Sichuan dumplings two words spring to mind: chili oil. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover a subtle wonton soup at Szechuan Dish in the New World Mall Food Court. The stall serves what are to my mind the best Sichuan noodles in New York City and its exquisite cold dishes, including cucumbers in chili and surprisingly smoky strips of gluten, are a staple of my Flushing food tours.

On the picture menu, where all the others item are tinted a fiery red, haĭ weì chāo shoŭ ($7), looks out of place. Although there’s no chili to be found in seafood flavor wonton soup,  it has a steady buzz of spice thanks to black and white pepper. And there are so many delicate (more…)

05/28/13 12:11pm
Are These the bestnooldes in New yoerk City

Are these the best noodles in New York City?

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.

03/18/13 12:00am
Amazing Sichuan ‘Beer Nuts’ at Flushing New World Mal

Each savory flavor bomb sings with sugar, chili, and Sichuan peppercorn.

Every now and then I happen upon a Midnight Snack that I simply cannot stop eating. These guài wèi hūa shēng, or “queer taste peanuts,” are so eminently snackable I should have bought two, or even three, containers instead of one. The English name on the sign reads, “stir fried peanuts with sweet and spicy sauce.” A better description would be “sweet and savory flavor nuggets that will haunt your dreams.”

Each roasted peanut is coated with a mixture of sugar, chili, Sichuan peppercorn, and garlic among other things. Crunchy, toasty, sweet and singing with the classic numb-hot flavor think of these babies as Sichuan beer nuts. They are available for $4 a container at Szechuan Dish in the New World Mall Food Court. Get there before I corner the market on their supply.

Szechuan Dish, No. 25, New World Mall Food Court, 40-21 Main St., Flushing

02/26/13 11:04am
The Chinese name for these crawfish translates to ‘spicy little lobsters.’

The Chinese name for these crawfish translates to ‘spicy little lobsters.’

Even though I pride myself on being an adventurous eater, it took a good 30-plus years before I tried crawfish. It’s not that I have a problem with seafood. After all I grew up with an Italian-American seafood bonanza—shrimp scampi, seafood salad, lobster, fried calamari, and baked clams—every Christmas Eve. The opportunity just never presented itself. Then one day crawfish, a delicacy most often associated with New Orleans, appeared in a most unexpected place, a Henanese noodle stand in Flushing’s New World Mall food court.

I handed over my $9.99 and was soon presented with a bowl of má là xiǎo long xiā. Bathed in chili oil, and shot through with palate-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and bits of ginger they were simply amazing. Little lobster is an apt name for these succulent crustaceans. Simply pop the tail off and pull out a nugget of sweet meat. They are truly the spiciest, tastiest Henanese crawdads in all of Flushing. And, I want a bowl of ‘em right now.

Li’s Lanzhou Hand Stretched Noodles, No. 12, New World Mall Food Court, 40-21 Main St., Flushing

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.