06/11/15 10:30am
One of Lord Ganesh’s favorite snacks.

One of Lord Ganesh’s favorite snacks.

The canteen located in the basement of the Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam, more commonly known as the Ganesh Temple, is one of my favorite non-Chinese haunts in Flushing. I’m especially fond of turning tour groups on to the 2-foot long paper dosa. In addition to many varieties of the rice and lentil crepes there is an abbreviated selection of snacks and sweets. The other day I tried a ladoo. Slightly smaller than a handball the golden hued treat is made from chickpea flour, and is the elephant-headed god’s favorite mithai. (more…)

09/13/13 12:40pm

The gado gado grannies at Masjid Al Hikmah’s Indonesian Food Bazaar.

Hog Days of Summer
Saturday, September 14, 2013, Long Island City
Tyson Ho, the whole hog cookery wizard who taught me to love to North Carolina ‘cue hosts the final whole hog blowout in Queens. Expect fine swine, fine tunes, and fine brew from Founder’s. Tickets are still available here.

Indonesian Food Bazaar
Sunday, September 15, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Outside the Al-Hikmah Mosque, 48-01 31st Ave. (at 48th St.), Astoria, Queens
The O.G. of Indonesian food bazaars features scores satay, freshly made gado gado,and much more.

Šri Ganeša Chaturthi Parade
Sunday, September 15, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
45-57 Bowne Street, Flushing
Flushing’s Ganesh temple, Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam to its devotees, is known among foodies for the dosa served up by its Temple Canteen. It is first and foremost though a temple. Come watch as the elephant headed deity gets paraded through the local streets in a festive celebration.

04/15/13 12:00pm
Songkran,or Thai New Year, is one of the most popular festivals iin Queens.

Songkran, or Thai New Year, is one of the most popular festivals in Queens.

The ornate gilded roof of Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram rises majestically above squat brick apartment buildings. The temple, its grounds, and the shrine room with its Emerald Buddha is so spectacular that I always include it in my tours of what I like to call SEA Elmhurst. Even more amazing though is the temple’s annual Songkran—or Thai New Year—festival featuring music, kick boxing, a beauty pageant, and an immense Thai buffet that draws an equally immense crowd.

Servers preparing to serve the hungry horde.

Preparing to serve the hungry Songkran horde.

In years past “before the Internet,” as a friend likes to say, the crowds were manageable. These days the line snakes around the corner. Yesterday I arrived at around 10:45 to find a huge crowd waiting to feast. Long tables laden with larb, currys, grilled fish, and many, many other dishes were arrayed in front of the temple.

Fried fish, duck, and pork with larb.

A heaping Songkran helping, including larb, fried fish, duck, and stewed pork.

Apart from larb I don’t the names of any of the dishes I tried because they weren’t labeled and the crowding made it next to impossible to engage the servers. I do know that everything I ate was excellent, singing with the flavors of Thailand: fish sauce, chili,lime juice, and kaffir lime leaves to name a few. (more…)