Thursday, May 14, 2009

Take me to China Town, via the 7 train.

I have never ventured into Flushing before, call it snobbish or lazy, but Queens never held any real appeal to me. Why would I spend over 40 minutes on two trains to get food, when I could be in Mid-town chowing down in under 30 minutes.

It turns out there are two good reasons why I should. First, the ability to sample some pretty authentic Chinese cuisine, from all over China without fake Louis V's shoved in your face every two seconds. The second reason is the value for money.

Immediately after getting off the 7 train on Roosevelt street and Main street is this tiny shack serving up crispy Peking duck with hoisin sauce and shallots in a soft and fluffy rice pancake. The price? $1.00! I did a walking/eating tour of Flushing with a group of girls from NYU. We all pitched in $15 into a collective pot and went from shop to shop sharing our goodies. Our first stop included the duck wraps and also rice pancakes with either pork, shrimp or beef topping, and scrambled eggs. To best describe the later dish, it was like a lazy version of dumplings. You had the slick and gummy texture from the rice pancake and the beef or shrimp on top of the pancake had the same flavor you would expect in a dumpling.

We found a whole in the wall food court, and sampled some food from Western China. Due to Muslim influence, there was no pork, but delicious cumin spiced lamb in a flat bread. The vegetarian cold noodles called Liana-pi were spicy and the combination of mung beans and fat noodles was great. We washed it down with a plastic container filled with warm soy milk, fresh and slightly sweet.

Across from our stall we watched a man making hand pulled noodles. I admired how he could take a mass of dough and transform it into long thin strands of noodles.

Our last two stops on the eating tour were bakeries. I got my mandatory bun filled with red bean paste at Sun Mary Bakery (133-57 41 Road, Flushing). I love how it's savory with a hint of sweetness. We also bought some sugar seaweed cookies. Interesting flavor, but one is definitely enough.
Next we went to Paris Bakery (38-19B Union Street, Flushing), a Korean take on French pastries. The dough is perfectly flaky and golden, only the fillings are more Asian inspired. I tried a sweet potato and a sweet pea filling. I wouldn't say that it was my favorite filling, but I always like trying something once. I would definitely give the chocolate filling a try next time.

In the end, we had only spent a total of $5 dollars each. Unbelievable. We were so stuffed and had such a variety of food. I may be heading to Flushing more often than I thought.

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