Queens Night Market. Photo: Sharon Medina-Chavez
More than two thirds of Flushing’s population claims Asian heritage, a stat that’s reflected in the neighborhood’s culinary scene. You’re never far from a Korean, Cantonese, Fuzhou or Taiwanese restaurant serving up food that’s big on flavor and easy on the wallet (best to have cash on hand, as a number of establishments don’t take credit cards). Use the list below as a starting point, but wander into any eatery on Flushing’s busy downtown streets and you may discover a gem.
Asian Jewels. Photo: Julienne Schaer
It looks a bit like an old bank or municipal building from the outside, but things get less staid past the front doors. Find a lively dim sum banquet hall with all the traditional trays flying around, and feast on har gow (shrimp dumplings), steamed pork buns, rice noodle rolls and custard tarts.
Dumpling Galaxy. Photo: Jen Davis
An inauspicious dining room within an austere mall holds all kinds of treasures: pan-fried shrimp and celery dumplings, steamed lamb dumplings and, perhaps most wondrous of all, a flavor-packed salad of cold tofu, edamame and mustard greens.
Nearly everyone who goes here raves about the Muslim lamb chop (lamb coated in cumin and chili), but you’ll find plenty of other Northern Chinese specialties, like dried tofu with hot pepper, and pork and sour cabbage casserole.
Serving as the culinary arm of the Hindu Temple Society, this basement restaurant dishes up tasty vegetarian and vegan South Indian food—dosas, idlis and the like. Expect dishes served on disposable plates at hard-to-believe (in a good way) prices.
A string of Korean restaurants line Flushing’s Northern Boulevard and its surrounding blocks. Slightly off the main drag is Mapo, a tidy corner spot set up for group dining. For tableside grilling, it’s hard to do better; the kalbi and pork belly get highest marks.
Photo: Charles Sturges
Most Saturday evenings from spring to mid-fall, Queens Night Market sets up outside the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Its scores of vendors put out plenty of Latin- and Asian-inspired dishes—especially appropriate for the surrounding neighborhoods—as well as entries representing food from Hungary, Iran, Mauritius and the faraway land of New England. Just what you might expect from the City’s most diverse borough.
Eating your first soup dumpling is a delicious rite of passage (one that remains delicious the 10th or 100th time). You want to do it somewhere with top-shelf specimens. This spot offers up the goods—delicate wrappers encasing a savory broth and a tasty pork and crab stuffing. People will tell you all kinds of “correct ways” to eat the dumplings, but the gist is this: let them cool a bit, treat them with respect and don’t let the magical liquid inside go to waste.
Yes, the sign says it’s a flower shop. Which it is, but one with a twist. From a stand inside, the proprietors vend curds of custardy homemade tofu, tucked under all manner of toppings and sauces—making it suitable for a snack or dessert.
This small, unassuming spot—Styrofoam plates, just a handful of tables—is best known for its pork-filled wontons, splashed with a chili oil that sharpens the flavor and tingles the palate.