09/15/14 12:23pm

With such a diversity of culinary cultures Queens boasts all kinds of noodles from all kinds of places. Cold, hot, spicy, even dessert they come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Here are seven of our favorites.

BIG-TRAY

1, Da pan ji, Su Xiang Yuan
One of the most surprising things about da pan ji, the Henanese specialty known as “big tray of chicken,” is that it’s actually a big tray of poultry, potatoes, and noodles. And not just any old noodles either, they are the very same springy broad ribbons that grace the specialty of the house at this stand whose name is often translated to Nutritious Lamb Noodle Soup. There’s no soup to be found in the tray though. Instead find hacked up bits of bird and chunks of potatoes atop a bed of hand-pulled noodles. The whole thing is crowned with fresh cilantro and shot through with dried chilies awash in a curry-like concoction with just a touch of star anise along with pleasant bursts of saltiness from preserved beans. The noodles are a perfect vehicle for all that sauce. Nutritious Lamb Noodle Soup, No.28, New World Mall Food Court, Flushing (more…)

05/27/14 1:24pm

Offal—tongue, tripe, heart, even face, among other so-called off cuts—happens to be one of my favorite things to eat. As with most of my stranger culinary predilections, I blame it on my old man who always made sure to include plenty of hearts whenever he cooked up a batch of chicken soup. Thus I present a list of some of my favorite nasty bits.

FUQIFEIPIAN

Husband and wife offal slices at Golden Mall.

1. Fu qi fei pian, Cheng Du Tian Fu
The story goes that fu qi fei pian, or husband and wife offal slices, are so named because the couple who created this classic dish back in Chengdu, Sichuan, had an especially harmonious union. While that tale may be apocryphal the union of meaty beef tongue; funky chewy ribbons of tripe; and translucent swatches of tendon bathed in chili oil and shot through with peanuts cilantro, and just enough Sichuan peppercorn to set your mouth atingle is especially delicious. My favorite place to dig into this fiery heap of beef offal is Cheng Du Tian Fu in Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall. Cheng Du Tian Fu, No. 31, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing (more…)

11/06/13 11:14am
CM-SUKATI1

The sukati roll’s the very essence of Himalayan Heights.

For as long as I have been eating my way through Queens, Tawa Foods has housed a small battalion of South Asian ladies rolling out scores of paratha and roti. As Jackson Heights has morphed to become Himalayan Heights the tiny Tawa has taken on a co-tenant, the wonderful Nepalese restaurant Dhaulagiri Kitchen.

Nepali in the front and Pakistani in the back Tawa tells the story of the neighborhood. As Nepalese and Tibetans diners seeking a taste of back home tuck into exquisite thalis—mounds of rice ringed with various pickles and curries—South Indians stroll in to stock up on some of the freshest Indian bread in Queens.  The space is a fusion of two cuisines that have seldom, if ever, mingled. To my mind this is a great shame. Thus was born the sukati roll. (more…)

08/15/13 9:54am
Mohammed Malik traveled to Jackson Heights to feast on Pakistani offal for his 25th birthday.

Mohammed traveled to Queens to feast on Pakistani offal for his 25th birthday.

Hey Joe I saw you on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern eating that Pakistani dish. My parents are from Pakistan and I haven’t had the opportunity to try tawa kata-kat. I can’t find the name of the restaurant so I can go there. Can you please provide me the name and address? I will be visiting New York this coming Saturday for my 25th birthday. Thanks.
Mohammed Malik, St. Louis, Mo.

Young man, enthusiastic offal eaters like you are the future of our nation. Tawa kata-kat, the fry up of goat brains, kidneys, and heart seasoned with ginger and chili can be had at Kababish, 70-64 Broadway, Jackson Heights, (718) 565-5131. (more…)

05/31/13 1:50pm
Taste of Lahore's falooda takes care of your refreshment and noodle needs.

Taste of Lahore’s falooda took care of my refreshment and noodle needs.

Yesterday I went on a fascinating crawl of South Indian and Pakistani hot spots in Jackson Heights with Suketu Mehta. Mehta was raised in Bombay, but grew up in Jackson Heights. He had many valuable insights about the neighborhood’s history,which will come in handy for the book I’m writing, “Queens Cuisine Along the 7 Line: World’s Fare.” Plus, he turned me on to the sev puri at Bombay Chat. I’ve taken many a tour group to the Tibetan/Indian spot for chaat,but we always get the pani puri. He also showed me the proper way to eat a paratha, with butter, raita, and pickle. (more…)

03/21/13 12:20pm
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Jaal muri, a Bangaldeshi chaat makes for a great late-night snack.

What are you your favorite late-night eateries in Jackson Heights?-Harry H.

It depends what kind of eats you’re craving. If it’s street food the taco vendors right outside the 74 Roosevelt terminal on Roosevelt Avenue are pretty good. Not far from them are two carts specializing in momo, or Tibetan beef dumplings. For a truly unique street food experience hit up Baul Daada Jal Muri shop on 73 St. near 37 Ave. Despite the name it’s not a shop, it’s streetside Bangladeshi chaat operation run by one Baul Daada. Three bucks gets you an order of his specialty, jal muri, or spicy puffed rice. It’s a sensory overload of a snack consisting of puffed rice, kala chana (black chickpeas) chopped tomatoes, cilantro, green chili paste, red onions, crunchy dried soybeans, cilantro, spicy fried noodles, and squirts and shakes from the various and sundry bottles, including some sinus-clearing mustard oil. (more…)

02/08/13 10:02am
Sukuti hanging in the window makes Tawa Food seem like a Nepali salumeria.

Sukuti hanging in the window makes Tawa Food seem like a Nepali salumeria.

Recently I had the pleasure of showing Elyse Pasquale, aka Foodie International, around what I like to call Himalayan Heights. We went to several of my favorite places, including a stop at Merit Kabob & Dumpling Palace for some dropa khatsa, or spicy beef tripe. We also visited Tawa Food. For years myself and other Chowhounds were fascinated by what was essentially a paratha and roti factory staffed by a legion of South Asian grannies. These days the small shop is even more fascinating because it tells the story of Jackson Heights, a symbiotic relationship between the relatively new Himalayan (Bhutanese, Nepali, and Tibetan) community and the long-standing Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi communities. The front of a shop that was once nicknamed “Pakistani bread ladies,” is now occupied by a family turning out some really wonderful Nepali food. I knew it was something special was going on at Tawa when I saw all the sukuti, a spicy beef jerky hanging in the window.

(more…)

02/01/13 10:06am
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Merit Farms in its more old-school incarnation.

I’ve always wondered what was the story behind Merit Farms. For a long time the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian restaurant with a Tibetan, Nepali, and Bhutanese counter in the back had a super old school blue and white sign. I could never quite reconcile this 1960s style signage with the food being served inside. The disconnect was on the order of walking into B&H Dairy in the East Village to find dan dan noodles.

A while back the name of this grand Himalayan-South Asian wonderland changed to Merit Kabob and Dumpling Palace. Still I wondered about that name. One day a guest on one of my food tours told me Merit Farms was an old school Queens grocery chain. A Google search reveals that there was an outlet in Forest Hills that sold that classic old school Jewish immigrant snack, the knish. I find it pretty cool that what was once Merit Farms in Jackson Heights stills serves immigrant snacks, albeit Tibetan momos and South Asian kababs.

Merit Farms, 37-67 74th St., Jackson Heights, 718-396-5827