Despite the somewhat generic name Sushma Thukral’s New Asian Food Products tucked away on Cherry Avenue just of Kissena Boulevard, has a specialty, Indian food, specifically roti and such vegetarian snacks as savory samosas packed with potatoes and herbs and crunchy fresh fried pakora as well as sweets, chai, and other snacks.
Over the course of my two decades of exploring downtown Flushing, I’ve probably stopped in two or three times, but now thanks to Sixty First Productions and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce I’ll be stopping by more often and have even added it to my food tour itinerary.
The second episode of First Stop on the 7, chronicles Thukral’s journey, from starting at home by making 20 pieces of roti at a time to expanding beyond her home kitchen to the shop. It’s also a tale of survival in the face of adversity. In 2013 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her son Sorabh dropped out of college to run the show at New Asian. “Why would she hire someone else, when I know how to handle the business,” he said.
Thukral returned to work in May 2015 and she and her staff continue to churn out more than 1,000 packages of roti a day “It’s not tough, it’s very easy. Anybody can make it,” she says, almost as if she’s talking about the American Dream itself and not running a wholesale food business.
As for Sorabh, he continues to work alongside his mother. He insists his samosa chaat—mashed samosas topped with a pantry’s worth of chutneys—including mint and tamarind—yogurt, crunchy bits of sev, cilantro, and red onion is better than his Mom’s. Next time I visit I’ll try hers to see if he’s right!
New Asian Food Products, 140-13 Cherry Ave., Flushing, 718-359-7148