Fare from Tibet, Xinjiang, and Thailand make it the most diverse food court in New York City’s most diverse borough.
Like many of my fellow Queens food nerds I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of HK Food Court in Elmhurst. It’s been in the works for so long, that I didn’t think it was going to happen especially since the owner also operates a less than stellar food court in the basement of Hong Kong Supermarket in downtown Flushing.
Then last Saturday my buddy Ron and I poked our heads in to see almost all the booths set up. “Come back Monday,” a worker told us. So I came back. In fact I’ve been back four times so far. You might expect to find HK food, but the name refers to the fact that the culinary wonderland is built on the former site of Hong Kong Supermarket’s Elmhurst location.
The Chinese name “xiang gang mei chi cheng,” actually translates to “Hong Kong Gourmet Food Court.” Even thought it’s not even fully occupied I haven’t been this excited about a food court since I took Fuchsia Dunlop to Golden Shopping Mall. “It’s one thing to have to go to Main and Roosie for something like this, but to have this around the way is amazing,” I overheard someone say to their tablemate. Indeed! Here’s a look at what I’ve eaten so far.
Lamb ‘polo’ by way of China’s Xinjiang Autonomous region and Elmhurst.
Xinjiang House (No. 17) sits between one of the food court’s numerous Thai vendors and the sole Vietnamese outfit. It specializes in fare from China’s Xinjiang autonomous region. The Chinese name “Hui Wei Xinjiang” translates to “Xinjiang Muslim taste,” and the bill of fare features plenty of lamb. I tried a lovely Xinjiang lamb pilaf ($7.99), or polo as as the gent behind the counter called it. The fat grains of rice were shot through with fatty chunks of lamb, raisins, and barberries and just enough carrot for sweetness. Next time, I’m getting the spicy lamb feet ($15.99).
On the day I tried Xinjiang House I took a peek at Khao Ka Moo NYC, a Thai pork specialist to the left. A burnished pork shank redolent of five spice and other aromatics sat luxuriating in a steam table with eggs and greens. I was already full, but plotting my return.
“It took many years before New Yorkers began to know Thai food,” says Wanne Pokpoonpipat executive chef at Jaiya in a mouthwatering promo video for Thaithentic, New York City’s first ever Thai-themed food and cultural festival being held tomorrow night at eSpace. VIP tickets are sold out, but $45 general admission tickets can be purchased here and should also be available at the door.
“There is so much more to Thai food and culture than is currently known in the States. With support from our sponsorship partners, the Thaithentic Food and Culture Festival will elevate people’s perception of what it means to be Thai, said Manus Chaorinuea founder and CEO of the festival’s organizer Gotham Food Network. (more…)
With a menu that includes Italian-inspired fare from Famiglia Chiarelli and German-inspired dishes from Familie Dieterle Harold Dieterle’s The Marrow is a deeply personal restaurant. It is also deeply delicious at least based on the dish I tried, The Bone Marrow ($16) Chef Dieterle’s genius combination of uni and bone marrow with baby celery leaves, Meyer lemon aioli, and crunchy little potato cubes. The man in charge of what is surely New York City’s first Teutonic-Italian eatery took some time to answer Seven Questions as he prepped for dinner service last Friday afternoon.
The Marrow’s menu is a nod to your lineage, you’re half German and half Sicilian right? My paternal grandmother is actually Irish but her husband was 100% German. I grew up eating two very different styles of cuisine. Half the time I’d eat very German, schnitzels, spaetzels, a lot of braises, very peasant style food. The other half of the time I would eat very southern Italian style food.
What do your folks think of the half German half Italian menu? They love it. It’s a very personal restaurant to me. They’re very excited about it. They’re proud that this is what I decided to go with for the next place.
Why did you name the restaurant The Marrow? A lot of our restaurants have double meanings, so The Marrow really means the center of or the best part of. It’s very much a meat-focused restaurant, so we thought it would be a fun name. (more…)