To say Elmhurst’s newest Tibetan eatery is easier to find than its predecessor would be a vast understatement. After all Sang Jien Ben’s first restaurant, Lhasa Fast Food, lies down a cramped hallway behind a cell phone store, while the new one is in plain sight just behind Elmurst Hospital.
It opened in August with a menu featuring the beef momos—juicy dumplings that are as ubiquitous in Tibet as they are in Himalayan Heights—and thentuk, a hearty soup with hand-torn swatches of dough that made the first spot a draw for everyone from homesick Tibetans and local foodies to Eater and Anthony Bourdain. A beaming Dalai Lama presides over the room. Enshrined on altar below it a photo of Chef Ben and Bourdain. (more…)
The Arepa Lady’s cart drew Smorgasburgesque lines.
After a week-plus on jury duty to say I was psyched for last Friday’s Viva La Comida festival is the height of understatement. The night be before I was like a child on Christmas Eve. Visions of street food—Peruvian tamales, Mexican sandwiches and tacos, Puerto Rican lechin, Tibetan dumplings, Indian chaat, Colombian arepas, Filpino BBQ, and Irish drunk food—danced in my head. The festival which took place on 82nd St. between Baxter and Roosevelt in Jackson Heights was curated by my fellow fresser, Jeff Orlick who knows a thing or two about street food in the Heights and elsewhere. (more…)
Even on a snowy night people line up for momo at A&G Himalayan Fresh Food.
Momo—the beef dumplings beloved of Tibetans—are everywhere in Himalayan Heights. So popular are the crimped top little packages that I have taken to calling the neighborhood’s Tibetan restaurants momo parlors. For more than five years there has been a lone food cart stationed underneath an Indian jewelry store where momos were steamed day and night. In that time halal food carts and trucks have proliferated along 73rd St., but for the longest time there was just that one momo cart.
During the first snowstorm of winter I discovered that another cart, A&G Himalayan Fresh Food, had set up shop right across the street from what had been the hood’s first and only momo cart. It’s run by two brothers Amchu and Gyatso who hail from Amdo in Central Tibet. In addition to momo the brothers also sell a traditional flat bread called baklep. A small one, slightly larger than an English muffin goes for a $1, while the dinner plate-sized version will set you back $8. I am told baklep is typically eaten with tea. Why there is a photo on the side of the cart of a container of Philadelphia Cream Cheese beside the bread remains a mystery.