12/02/15 11:32pm
Best spicy pork porridge ever!

Best spicy pork porridge ever!

“So it’s a bowl of rice and a soup with any of these?” I asked the waitress at Zabb Elee as I perused the 20-deep roster of rice soup that runs from such items as “salted eggs spicy salad” and “pickled cabbage spicy salad” to “ground pork omelet” and “deep fried pork with garlic and pepper.” I went with the latter and chose pandanus rice, not sure whether I’d be delivered a soup with spicy pork in it or not. (more…)

06/02/15 10:45am
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Sugar Club’s i tim ka ti is only served during festivals.

As regular readers of this blog know, Sugar Club, with its vast selection of Thai junk food, desserts, and prepared foods is one of my favorite Elmhurst haunts. On the last Sunday of the month the shop has been holding a market and festival. Somehow I’ve missed the last two festivals, but I’m glad I stopped by this Sunday. (more…)

05/13/15 12:50pm
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El Salvador’s version of the quesadilla is not what you think.

As one of the only Salvadoran spots in the largely Asian stronghold of Flushing, El Ranchito De Daisy is quite an anomaly. The pupusas are good but the quesadilla Savadoreno ($3) is really quite remarkable.

“What’s that I asked?” spying the golden brown ovoids lining the counter. “Quesadilla,” came the response. “Quesadilla!!? Quesadilla de que?” I asked in my best bad Spanish. “De arroz,” the gent behind the counter replied. (more…)

03/10/15 10:17am

People who are familiar with festival-style Indonesian food in New York City have probably visited the outdoor food bazaar held in the rear parking lot of Astoria’s Masjid Al-Hikmah, which usually begins with the first warm weather in April and runs through October, or possibly one of the one-off events such as 2013’s Forest Hills Indonesian Food Bazaar. Longtime Masjid Al Hikmah attendees were dismayed last year when the mosque didn’t manage to put together an event until September 21st and then tacked on two more in quick succession, October 12th and October 26th. I attended them all, of course.

Event Organizer Fefe Anggono

Event Organizer Fefe Anggono

The innaugural edition of the City Blessing Church Indonesian Food Bazaar, which is being planned as an (at minimum) monthly event, took place on the last Saturday in February, 2015 in Woodside, Queens. The organizer, Fefe Anggono, owned and managed a restaurant in Long Island for seven years and started this event as a way to not only bring attention to the church and its rental space, but also to provide an outlet for vendors left out in the cold by the mosque’s inconsistent event-holding policies. (more…)

12/08/14 12:34pm
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Eel hot stone bibimbap at Spa Castle.

Spa Castle, a five-story jjimjilbang, or Korean spa, in College Point is one of my favorite places in Queens. The Castle features several saunas of varying temperature, including my two favorites: the mud-walled Loess Soil room, which is a whopping 190 degrees and Iceland, whose frigid interior resembles an undefrosted walk-in freezer. There is of course spa food—grilled salmon, asparagus, fruit, even lasagna—to be had on the same floor as Sauna Valley. I never eat it. That’s because there is a decent Korean cafeteria of sorts on the top floor. And when in Rome, or College Point . . . (more…)

12/10/13 9:53am
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Bella Roza’s plof is real stick to your ribs fare.

Unless you count the crusty caramelized part, which adheres to the bottom of cooking vessel and is prized by Puerto Ricans and Koreans alike, plain white rice holds little appeal. Chinese takeout fried rice is much tastier. It’s been years—OK maybe six months—since I’ve eaten it. That’s because in Queens there so many other rice dishes from all over the world from biryani to bibimbap. Today, a look at two less common ones. (more…)

09/10/13 10:13am
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Dhaulagiri”s fantastic fish thali.

Dhaulagiri Kitchen, a tiny Nepalese outfit that’s the latest eatery to take up residence inside roti bakery Tawa Foods, is easily my favorite place in Jackson Heights these days. It’s named for the third highest mountain peak in the world, but as far as I’m concerned  the flavors here—fiery pickles; sukuti, an air-dried beef jerky; and spicy chicken choila—are the tops. Lately I have been partaking of this eight-seater’s  thalis. Thali literally means plate and it consists of a mound of rice ringed by various accoutrements, including pickles, daal, fried bitter melon, mustard greens, and a center of the plate item like chicken beef, or goat. The rice and the sides are refillable.

One day I was eating a fish thali ($11) whose main attraction was two crisp fried hunks of fish, a nattily dressed gent entered. As I ate my fish and rice while picking at the gudruk, a Nepalese kimchi of sorts, and other pickles arrayed around the circumference of the thali he rolled up his sleeves and washed his hands. And then he got down to business. (more…)

03/25/13 12:30pm
Rokhat’s plov, a taste of home for Uzbeki immigrants.

Rokhat’s plov, a taste of home for Uzbeki immigrants.

In a neighborhood that seems to have a Central Asian kebab house on every block Rokhat Kosher Bakery is one of the more unique establishments. While other purveyors of samsa, Uzbek meat pies, hide their igloo-shaped tandoors in the kitchen, Rokhat’s sits proudly in the window. In fact there are two ovens in two storefronts.

The newer satellite location functions as a makeshift restaurant. It serves up an excellent version of plov ($7), Uzbekistan’s hearty one-pot rice dish. A few chunks of boneless beef shank sit atop rice that’s fragrant with sweet carrot, cumin, and coriander. Black pepper and chili and lend just a touch of heat. The rice has a wonderful chewy texture and flavor from absorbing the flavors of the meat, along with sautéed onions, and flax seed oil. (more…)