Eating Around Queens

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-8

One of the things about discovering new places to eat in an unknown city is that you spend a lot of time getting around, figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B, then to Point C, and so forth. Sometimes people are kind enough to suggest places that sound good. But when you look at the map, they’re an hour or more away. While the New York subway does go everywhere, when you’re used to living in a compact city like Paris, where if you miss a métro, there’s a very good chance that there’ll be another one in the next three minutes, I’ve been slowly getting up to speed understanding the NY subway system, including the complex weekend closure schedule.

I had a list of restaurants that I wanted to go to, many in Queens, a borough which is known for being one of the best places to experience the multicultural cuisines that all come together in the melting pot of America. While other countries and cities do have good, or great, foods from other countries, according to NewYork.com, there are immigrants from over 100 countries and more than 138 languages are spoken within the 109 square miles of this one borough. And they all gotta eat – and so do I.

So who was happier than I when my friends Marge and David, who I met years ago on a really great trip to Ireland — she teaches cooking classes and writes about food, and David is a chef and professional recipe developer — invited me (or more like — I invited them) to show me around Queens.

I never understand how restaurant reviewers remember everything, right down to the name and vintage of the wine(s) that they had, not to mention all the sauces, what was in everything, and how they liked it, while at the same time balancing carrying on having a meal with others. I can barely make sure my toast is done in the morning close to the same time my coffee is. So it was nice they had a car and knew where they were going so that was off my mind. Plus Marge writes about food for Newsday, so it wasn’t a problem snapping pictures and taking a few notes while we ate. While we weren’t able to hit all the thousands of restaurants in the borough, we hit six different places in less than five hours, doing the best we, and our stomachs, could manage.

We started at The Arepa Lady, who ran a popular street cart for many years. Maria Cano, former lawyer and judge in her native Colombia, has been known for years for her arepas and is considered a must-stop in Queens. Truth be told, I’m not super wild about street food. Because I worked in restaurants for decades and sitting down to a meal at an actual table and chair was a luxury, I have an aversion to eating while standing up, and like to sit down. So the small restaurant was perfect.

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-2

A few people took me to task on Instagram when I labeled this arepa de choclo as an arepa (I told them to take it up with the owner as it was listed on the menu under the heading Arepas, which I guess mistakenly made me assume it was an arepa) – so now when I dine out and plan to tweet or post a picture on Instagram, I have learned my lesson and cross-check everything before sending my tweets and Instagrams to a copy editor, then a proofreader, then a translator, before hitting the “Publish” button.

Back at the table, I put away the smartphone, and we dug into fried plantains with a light-tasting guacamole…

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-1

…as well as an arepa de queso, an excellent soft mound of masa (cornmeal) with stretchy mozzarella under a shower of finely crumbled queso, a dry Colombian cheese.

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-3

We managed to get through all the arepas, or whatever you want to call them, and headed to our next spot: Phayul Restaurant.

I’ve never had Tibetan food, and walking up the tight staircase past eyebrow threading salons and jewelry shops, it felt like going to some sort of speakeasy. But arriving in the compact restaurant, most tables were filled with groups eating big bowls of steaming noodles, dumplings, and other dishes that I wasn’t familiar with. Which was pretty exciting.

Taking a look in the kitchen, and watching the wise-looking cooks calmly blazing the foods in fiery woks before plating them up, I really wanted to take their picture, but was still smarting from my online scolding and wasn’t up to risking any more wrath. So sat down, and let David and Marge take over the ordering.

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I’m not a huge fan of thick, jellied noodles (these were made of mung bean flour) because the texture is a little off-putting to me, but also because the dense noodles don’t absorb the flavors of the broth. So it wasn’t my favorite dish of the day.

But the tongue with red peppers was terrific, even if you don’t think you like tongue…(I never minded it until my dad took me to a deli and I saw a big, whole tongue in the showcase, with taste buds and all on it, ready to be made into sandwiches.)

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-6

…and we had momo, Tibetan dumplings, these ones filled with mashed potatoes. They didn’t have any of the reputed spiciness I’ve heard about in Tibetan cuisine, but I think it’s a place I need to go back to so I can explore more of the menu and try the salted butter tea, and watch the cooks do their thing, which was pretty fascinating to me.

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-7

By the time we hit Chao Thai, I was ready for some caffeine and ordered a Thai iced coffee. Thai cuisine is something not well-represented in France, perhaps due to its spiciness, but Romain told me it’s his favorite cuisine. So while the new wave of Korean restaurants in Paris remain timid in the seasoning and spicing department, I think if Thai restaurants are the next wave, maybe give people a taste of the beauty of Thai cuisine, with all the chiles, herbs, and seasonings that make it a favorite amongst others, too.

That said, when I lived in San Francisco, I thought the Thai food in the restaurants there was great. That was until I went to Thailand. After that trip, I wasn’t able to eat Thai food anywhere else. The food was incredible and was like the difference between eating a baguette in Paris versus a baguette in Manhattan. You can get a close approximation, but it’s just not the same thing. (I bought a baguette at a bakery in NYC where the baker had worked for a French boulanger, which looked promising in the basket on the counter, but when I pulled off the quignon – the tip – to eat on the way home, I discovered that the beautiful baguette was, ugh, heavily sweetened.)

The jury is undecided whether SriPraPhai or Chao Thai has the best Thai food in Queens. And since we had a serious list of places to visit during our afternoon, here we were. I was very happy to be fueled by the icy Thai coffee, while we dove into the Som Tom (green papaya salad).

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-9

The green papaya was freshly shredded, and like a good Caesar Salad, all the ingredients and seasonings were well-balanced. But I ate something in it that had a very odd flavor, which none of my tablemates picked up on or got, which left a funny taste in my mouth. (It might have been some odd piece of papaya detritus.) However when I ate the leftovers a day later, that taste was gone and the salad was really good. Go figure.

Deep-fried tidbits of tofu with a sweet chile sauce came out with crisp, crunchy outsides, and spongy insides.

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And beef larb with lime and chiles was spicy and moist, great spooned up with sticky rice.

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The green curry with eggplant and a lot of bamboo shoots could have used more shrimp paste as a background flavor, but pacing ourselves, we knew not to finish everything as we didn’t want to overdo it, because our next stop was for Chinese dumplings.

If you’re expecting atmosphere, or a restroom (especially if you’ve had a large Thai iced coffee beforehand…gottago…gottago…gottago…), White Bear isn’t the place to find them. Some say these are the best dumplings in Flushing and/or one of the top 7 dumplings in Queens, and we ordered the famed #6 – a dozen wontons with spicy chile sauce.

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We weren’t losing our minds over them, perhaps because we’d been eating so much. So I need to go back and give them another try.

After hitting the restrooms at a nearby shopping center (one of the great things about America, in addition to the exciting multicultural cuisine, is that there are bathrooms that you are free to use practically everywhere – with the exception of Manhattan), we hit our last stops, which included a Greek grill in Astoria, that was a fun finish, especially with an ice-cold carafe of retsina to polish off the day.

A few days later I found myself heading back toward Flushing, this time via the subway. After an hour and fifteen-minute ride, I exited at the last stop on the 7 line in Flushing to meet my friend Ann at Galaxy Dumplings.

Ann used to live in Paris, as well as in Beijing (she wrote Mastering the Art of French Eating, a charming gastronomic tale about her time in France), and I was happy to meet up with her at this modern dumpling house, located on the second floor of a nondescript, gray shopping center. The restaurant opens out onto the small mall, with a large semi-circular table that faces outside. Individual booths line the wall behind it.

Unlike other dumpling houses, there are no dumpling carts rolling through the aisles that you pick and choose from. And my Chinese “sister” in San Francisco told me that the Chinese food in Flushing is Northern Chinese, not the Southern Chinese that I’m accustomed to from San Francisco. So leave my expectations, like my heart, in San Francisco.

I was also upbraided online recently for not having dined with Chinese people. Even though I worked in a Chinese restaurant and spent 2-3 years eating with my co-workers, as well as my makeshift Chinese family in San Francisco, I would say that’s not necessarily the case. But I’m always happy to get more experience : )

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Ann, who is Chinese-American (…does that count?) and I picked several plates of dumplings from the extensive list of over a hundred on offer, mostly from their “Signature Dumplings” list.

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When they brought them out, it was hard to tell which was which. They all looked pretty much the same; thick dough surrounding a ground meat filling, so I just took a snapshot of one dish and you get the idea. Eating them, it was hard to distinguish the duck meat with mushrooms from the lamb with cilantro as everything was finely ground up and boiled. But after a cold salad of mustard greens with 5-spice tofu, our dumplings landed and we managed to get through most of them.

Our favorites ere the dill and egg dumplings, with had a scrambled egg filling and plenty of fresh dill chopped and added at the last minute. It was so bright and fresh that I wish they had done that with the cilantro in the lamb dumplings.

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We also had pork and chive pan-fried dumplings, which is made by frying dumplings then adding a slurry of corn starch and water to make a crisp skirt. I liked them a lot, although I wasn’t so sure about Ann.

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We were also kind of dumpling’d out, so passed on the peanut tang yuan and other dumplings, including the ones filled with red bean paste or pumpkin, and on the way out of the shopping center, reconnected via France with a stop at Tous les Jours, a French-inspired Korean bakery and café. Most of the pastries were of the puffy variety, and I suspected their French breads were on the sweet side, so we stuck with the honey brioche with a clever beehive shape.

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Alas, it was a bit on the sec side, in spite of the moist honey center. But no matter, it was a fun exploration of Queens and Flushing, catch up with some friends – and with a bit of encouragement from one of Flushing Queens’ most prominent (and most fabulous) ex-residents…

The Arepa Lady
77-02AA Roosevelt Avenue
(347) 730-6124

Phayul Restaurant
37-65 74th Street
(646) 915-5188

Chao Thai
95-03 Whitney Avenue
(718) 424-4999

White Bear
135-02 Roosevelt Avenue
(718) 961-2322

Dumpling Galaxy
42-35 Main Street
(718) 461-0808

Tous les Jours
42-35 Main Street
(718) 358-0288

Eating around Queens, New York - the best dumplings...and more!

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55 comments

  • David
    March 27, 2015 3:38pm

    Loved spending time with you. Great to laugh and feast. Wonderful post :-). See you soon.

  • Bebe
    March 27, 2015 3:46pm

    David, there will always be self-styled “experts” who hit the internet and smack down rather than contribute. Real experts don’t indulge themselves in that kind of behavior. And most of us know you don’t visit someone’s home and correct the host’s English grammar, color scheme, or anything else he does … Bad manners.

    This is an interesting article. In the past I found that the Thai food I liked best had MSG in it (a favorite ingredient of theirs?) but it gave me a whopping headache. It really does enhance flavors, though.

    In China I found Northern Chinese food to be blah. Bland. Rather unsatisfying.

  • March 27, 2015 3:54pm
    David Lebovitz

    Bebe: I don’t know that much about the differences in North and South but that seems to be the general opinion. But everyone has their own likes and preferences, and China is such a diverse place and cuisine, there is so much on offer.

    The owner of Mile End deli just did a very good interview and talked about certain voices out there, saying in some cases “…there’s this unstoppable competition for who’s the best.” And so forth. The internet is actually a pretty amazing place to share food, restaurant addresses, pictures, and experiences – globally – and it’s nice to interact with people in comments and on social media for the most part. And as much as people want to assert their preferences and opinions, sometimes strongly, in those cases, I usually advise them to start a blog and do it there. That’s what I did! ; )

    David: Yes, a great day! Lots of food, fun…dumplings. (And a little tongue.)

  • March 27, 2015 4:18pm

    Glad you had some great eats in Queens! I was excited to hear you came to Astoria, also. Though I’ve never been to Taverna Kyclades (not a seafood person), I hear it’s wonderful. MP on the next corner over is lovely as well, and makes a pretty amazing Greek-inspired fusilli — tomatoes are dotted with feta and topped with dill and spicy bread crumbs. But next time you’re out, come thirsty for a good latte and hit up Astoria Coffee on 30th Street and 30th Avenue. They make a wonderful cup with beautiful, sturdy microfoam. Fantastic flavor and mouthfeel. I dare say I like it better than any I’ve had in Manhattan!

  • March 27, 2015 4:45pm

    Great post, full of terrific addresses! I’d be delighted to help prove your Chinese (American) dining companion creds again any time. (Also I lived in China for four years — that must increase my Chinese-person net value, right?)

  • berit
    March 27, 2015 4:59pm

    Another post that just goes to show you never stop learning. I haven’t heard of Arepas yet, but thanks to you I have an idea now :)

  • Christy
    March 27, 2015 5:24pm

    I love that it takes a “foreigner” to show me where to get yummy meals in my own backyard. Will add these to my list of destinations in Queens and make some visits this spring–thanks as always! Any chance of a visit to Jersey City?

  • Gloria
    March 27, 2015 5:25pm

    I’ve never heard of dumpling carts before. Would love to hear more. Were you thinking of dim sum carts?

  • March 27, 2015 5:29pm
    David Lebovitz

    Ann: Yes, for sure. Yes, for sure. I don’t know what I can offer you in exchange for your “cred,” but maybe I can working on finding a better brioche…? : )

    Gloria: Yes, dumpling carts deliver dumplings, called dim sum. The carts get wheeled around dining room and you can pick and choose what you want. It’s a great way to eat, and you get to see what’s available, then make your choice as they circle the room.

    berit: Well, I learned (the hard way) something, too; That an arepa de choclo isn’t an arepa.

    • Gloria
      March 28, 2015 5:43am

      Thanks, David! I do know what dim sum is (more than dumplings!). Just never heard them called that. Interesting.

  • tomato
    March 27, 2015 5:33pm

    David, next time please go to Ayada Thai. Eat the fried soft shell crabs. See God.

  • vrinda
    March 27, 2015 5:36pm

    Coming to Paris and Nice from Alice Waters neighborhood this weekend.
    Wondering if you have any ideas about must eat places in the Fifth and must shop food ideas to bring back for a foodie living in Berkeley.
    Much appreciated
    thanks

  • March 27, 2015 5:57pm

    David, it looks like you’ve been in New York for quite awhile. When are you heading back to Paris?

  • Rick
    March 27, 2015 6:02pm

    In your posting about pastrami, you mentioned several well-known delis in NYC. However, you failed to mention Katz’s Deli which is the oldest, I think, of the spectacular Jewish Delis in New York. It is also famous for its killer pastrami. Give it a try.

  • Alessandra
    March 27, 2015 6:06pm

    When I first read the title, I though it was about the etiquette of eating in the presence of royals… I have been in the UK too long obviously.

  • Barbara
    March 27, 2015 6:08pm

    Aloha David, I want to send you some liliko’i treats, pm me a stateside address to ship to.

  • Marguerite
    March 27, 2015 6:49pm

    Who thought that the life of a food blogger meant sharing information and making recommendations that a grateful readership was happy to receive? In just this post you mention being taken to task and then upbraided. Gee, people, it’s just food!

  • Mary F.
    March 27, 2015 6:58pm

    Its nice to be reminded that there are wonderful places to eat right here in my backyard, while I look longingly across the ocean…however Paris really does have the best baguettes…along with other things…oh, here I go again!
    Really looking forward to your upcoming class; I might bring you a jar of our maple syrup for you to take home, the sap is running like crazy now in upstate New York. (not sure if they allow it on the plane however….I hate to think some homeland security guard will be enjoying it instead of you!

  • Amy
    March 27, 2015 7:14pm

    David, you mentioned a Greek grill in Astoria, but not its name. I’d love to know which one it was…

  • Bev
    March 27, 2015 7:29pm

    Please do not be upset by self-styled critics of your blog. My friends and I love it, as it takes us to cuisines and countries we can’t get to ourselves.

    I have a question about Chinese or Korean dumplings, something which I have never tried. They look so unappetising because of their colour (or lack of same) and apparently raw dough. Of course, I realize that they must have a lot going for them, as millions of people love them. Could you explain to those of us who have never tried them why they are so good? It would help me be braver about trying them.

    Cheers!

  • Alison
    March 27, 2015 7:33pm

    Hi David,
    Former Queens girl here… next time in Astoria, try Agnati Restaurant. The food (Greek) is amazing!

    Thanks for documenting your culinary adventures!
    Alison

  • Kelly Monaghan
    March 27, 2015 7:49pm

    I would have loved to hear your take on Paris Baguette, a Korean chain of French-style bakeries, which has a Flushing outpost. We took French friends to the one in Fort Lee and one of them pronounced the Cannelés as good as the ones he gets in his hometown of Lille.

  • Martha
    March 27, 2015 9:07pm

    David, I love all your posts, articles and blogs but this one had to be nearest to my heart.
    I remember years ago, Molly O’Neill (Paul’s sister) wrote an article in TNYT on traveling on the #7. You could get off at every stop and travel around the world. It’s true even more so now. Sunnyside with Turkish, yum. Woodside for Sripadpai (sp) (next time try the watercress salad and beef with Chinese broccoli in the backyard garden). Also Restaurante D’Ischia for wonderful Italian without the red sauce. 69th street for Korean chicken, addictive and Filipino. Jackson Heights for fabulous Indian. You get the idea.
    You just scratched the surface. Go back and start all over.

  • shelley matheis
    March 27, 2015 9:28pm

    All those photos of dumplings made me happy!

  • Marybeth
    March 27, 2015 9:30pm

    Those critics must learn to relax!

  • Chandler on Las Vegas
    March 27, 2015 10:40pm

    Daveed, Queens THE CITY. I was so confused.

  • March 27, 2015 11:07pm
    David Lebovitz

    Martha: Queens is pretty incredible and I think one could spend a lot of time walking around and discovering places. Then do it over and over again. (On my last visit, I discovered the Peruvian chicken places with that amazing green sauce, too!)

    MaryBeth + Bev: I don’t mind various opinions or corrections even, because I live between two cultures and know that it’s hard to get it right all the time when toggling between the two. But when people write in ALL CAPS and yell, rather than explain or enlighten, it’s a waste of time on both ends and not interesting. Fortunately most people are super : )

    Bev: Once you’ve had dumplings – Korean, Chineses or otherwise, you find they’re pretty addictive and you crave them more and more. Lucky Peach just published and interesting Guide to Chinese dumplings that explains them well, and Andrea Nguyen is a dumpling expert, and her site has a lot of information about making, and eating them.

    In my opinion, it’s best to go to a dim sum shop and try them with friends, so you can taste a variety. Usually you can tell if a place is good if it’s very busy, especially weekend mornings. Blogs and websites can also yield good information on addresses where you live, but like anything, it’s what you like so best to sample what you can. (Reliably good places to start are sui mai and har gow.)

    • Bev
      March 27, 2015 11:23pm

      Thanks for the info, David. I will make it my mission to find out more about dumplings and of course, so try some.

  • Caitriona
    March 27, 2015 11:16pm

    EEK – great timing! Going to NY Monday from Ireland for a week. Thanks for the tips. Love your blog.

  • Judi Suttles
    March 27, 2015 11:35pm

    Ah Queens-I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Queens. Years ago I arrived at LaGuardia and got on the wrong bus. I wanted to go to the Port Authority and somehow ended up in Queens. It was February at about 5:00 pm. I was alone and lugging a large suitcase. At the last stop, I reached in my purse and found I didn’t have enough money for the fare. No one on the bus spoke English-lucky for me I majored in Spanish. These sweet people saw my delema and quickly took a collection and paid my fare! I love Queens.

  • V
    March 28, 2015 12:15am

    I thought about asking you if you had found any good baguettes in Manhattan, but I suppose it is something that is hard to get right out of France.

    Those Korean bakery chains make good pain de mie type milk breads, if you ever go again.

    • Martha
      March 28, 2015 1:15pm

      To V who’s looking for a good baguette in NYC, try third avenue in the seventies. Maison Kaiser comes to mind first but there are scads in that neighborhood. There used to be a wonderful bakery in Woodside, La Marjolaine. The bakery is still there but the baker, Andre Guillotin, is gone. I mention this as an homage to a true craftsman. He made the best baguettes, batards and his gateau St. Honore was peerless.

  • Shelley
    March 28, 2015 1:46am

    How do you stay so thin????

  • Ma watkins
    March 28, 2015 3:41am

    Lost your blog for a while This was the perfect reminder of why I used to enjoy your bloog so much Good to be back. M Wakins, Socorro NM

  • Hillary
    March 28, 2015 3:49am

    Everyone else has said all the food-related things, so I’ll just note the humor of waxing rhapsodic about public restrooms in a post about Flushing.

  • Rev. Dr. Michael O'Grady
    March 28, 2015 5:04am

    Go for the tongue. Tacos del lingua are not only delicious and inexpensive, but their texture adds volumes to the saucing and preparation of the tonguey meat. Always a request when I go to a mexican/mexicali/texican/flexican restaraunt. If they don’t have it, they’re immediately taking a ratings hit. But if they do it poorly, the hit is articulated in order to ensure an improvement in the quality of the dish. Tacos del lingua can be magnificent!

  • Jing
    March 28, 2015 7:52am

    I AM SO THRILLED to see this post! So happy that you visited Queens and my hometown of Flushing! If you ever want a great baguette and find yourself in Queens again…there’s a place in Forest Hills called La Boulangerie. Very authentic. Watching the bakers work behind the glass windows is always a joy! Also, should you visit Flushing again, be sure to stop by Nanxiang Xiaolongbao for wonderful soup dumplings. Please visit Queens again, this was a joy to read!

  • Colin
    March 28, 2015 12:36pm

    “Thai cuisine is something not well-represented in France”
    It is certainly much better represented in Paris than the Indian dishes I have had.
    In spite of the sometimes long queues to get in at more popular Indian restaurants the food was universally bland and uninteresting compared to India and even UK.
    I also never had a decent Indian meal in the USA and the best was so full of MSG I ended up with a migraine.

  • Jing
    March 28, 2015 1:39pm

    I AM SO THRILLED to see this post! So happy that you visited Queens and my hometown of Flushing! I was also thrilled to see that you trekked well around Jackson Heights too. If you want vegetarian Indian cuisine, Samudra is delicious with their dosas. If you ever want a great baguette and find yourself in Queens again…there’s a place in Forest Hills called La Boulangerie. Very authentic. Watching the bakers work behind the glass windows is always a joy! Also, should you visit Flushing again, be sure to stop by Nanxiang Xiaolongbao for wonderful soup dumplings. Flushing is also famous for a Hindu temple that has a dining hall in the basement with amazing cuisine. Don’t forget to visit the original Xi’an famous foods for their famous lamb burger. Excited to see your future Queens visits. I would love to hear how you navigated Flushing’s sidewalks. My friends are always intimidated by the massive amounts of people walking around.

  • Gerry Freeman
    March 28, 2015 5:36pm

    Loved your meander through Queens. The best guide is my son, Jeremy Freeman, The Reggae Impressario. He would take you to the basement food courts, the pop-up lady who does Chinese chicken on a stick, the unbelievable Korean restaurant that is part of a chain founded by a wrestler. The Forest Hills section has a number of Uzbekistan restaurants that have great kebabs and other wonders. If you long for the Jewish pastrami of yesteryear, there are still some old style delicatessens that do it right. However, the ultimate Queens treat is Sunday dim sum in Flushing. A maelstrom of families, rolling carts and exquisite treats.

  • March 28, 2015 9:56pm

    Hi David,
    I am a big fan. Recently read your cookbook on savory foods and was gifted a copy of your dessert book many years ago when I lived in Bermuda. I read Ann Mah’s book around Christmastime and find it terrific that you are both friends. Loved the Flushing blog post. Very impressed at the variety you and your friends were able to try. The photos are top-notch too. Bon voyage et Bon Appétit! Just yesterday I published a blog post about eating various foods in and around Flushing too.
    Kathy

  • March 28, 2015 11:49pm

    My first–and only, to date!–experience with Tibetan food was actually in Paris. The place is called Lithang, and it’s on Rue St. Jacques, near Port-Royal. I was studying at the Schola Cantorum across the street and I always walked past this restaurant and wondered about it, so one day I treated myself to lunch there. I had the mo mo, and an incredibly good mango lassi, and also a cup of Tibetan tea which is actually made with yak butter, so it’s salty and a little gritty, but so, so satisfying.

  • March 29, 2015 6:55pm

    David,

    So happy to see your blog again….somehow it was removed from my inbox, and I found your site while trolling for gluten free brownies (which are baking right now, thank you very much).

    Loved the post with all the ethnic foods, including my favorite, Som Tom. So sorry about the critics. They are everywhere, not just on food blogs. I find that if I am with one, it doesn’t matter what I say or do, there will be something wrong in what I did. I could do the correct thing the next day, and it would have become incorrect within a few short 24 hours. Carry on!

  • Toni Lee
    March 29, 2015 8:29pm

    I’m so glad you posted this prior to my second visit to NY. I have a family reunion there this summer and will plan on trying to visit some of these location while in Queens!

  • March 30, 2015 2:48am

    You had my head spinning. Here, there, and you went everywhere! Thanks for the education. The last time I had Thai food was about twenty years ago. I’m breaking the dry spell.

    Here’s hoping you are enjoying your visit stateside.
    ☕️

  • Christopher Measom
    March 30, 2015 10:22am

    My fundamental rules about weekend subway travel in New York are: 1) Don’t go to Queens on the weekend (ever—or at least until the MTA finishes upgrading the system in 10 or 20 years)—except if someone gives you U.S. Open tickets, 2) Take the first train that comes along (whether express or local), and 3) if it’s not snowing or raining, bike!

    • March 30, 2015 3:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, while the subway is extensive, depending on where you are in New York, it can be quite a trek – especially on the weekends with all the subway closures and rerouting!

  • bk
    March 30, 2015 9:01pm

    I’m responding to an aside in the post on restaurants in Queens. It’s about your biting off the end of a baguette bought at a “boulangerie” in New York City & finding that it’s only a visual facsimile to any ordinary baguette in France. I live near a Francois Payard boulangerie in Manhattan & rented an apartment in Paris last fall that was very near one of the Parisian Francois Payard locations. Nothing tasted the same there as here, notably the croissants. Here, they are just dry, turned rolls. There, they were light, flaky & buttery. What happens when French breads & pastries are made in the U.S.?

  • March 30, 2015 11:34pm

    The fact that you and Ann are real life friends (as opposed to those who just write sweet notes for each other’s books) makes me so happy! I’m looking forward to heading back to NYC to take some of your restaurant suggestions into action! Thanks for sharing!

  • March 31, 2015 1:56pm

    I am in love with the plantains and guacamole idea!

  • March 31, 2015 5:48pm

    David,

    All sounds so yummy and makes me think of the millions of street cart meals, empanadas, dumplings and tortillas I had in Queens while Joe lived there. Thanks for helping me relive them! If you have a chance, try Salt and Fat in Queens. I used to go there often, haven’t been in a year or so. The popcorn/bacon fat appetizer is, well, you can imagine.

    Miss you. Susan

  • Karen
    April 3, 2015 4:38am

    Loved this article David, thank you for sharing your adventures and braving the haters. Also wanted to second the shout-out to Nanxiang Xiaolongbao. All my chinese and non-chinese friends love the place and make the pilgrimmage to Flushing just for those soup dumplings. All their other food is amazing too – noodle stir fries, cucumber pickled salads, fried bread. And it’s never bland, I promise.

  • Sofia
    April 8, 2015 8:33pm

    Sorry David, but that *is* an arepa. It’s a Colombian arepa de choclo…don’t let Venezuelans tell you otherwise just because they’re more likely call them cachapas instead. That’s like an Italian telling you your lo mein is actually spaghetti (or insert whatever more appropriate pasta shape here)…you know, minus the whole fraught Colombia/Venezuela relations thing.

    • April 8, 2015 8:40pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for clearing that up. It’s kind of unfortunate that people can’t accept differences in what other cultures call things. I know that people fiercely like to hold on to what is “theirs,” but it’s nice to accept differences.

  • Marny CA
    April 18, 2015 9:08am

    When in Singapore in 1995, 2.5 months – went to one specific dim sum / dumpling shop at least twice a week.

    Absolutely deeeeelicious!!

    We had a pharmacy on Steinway Street … and my dentist was in Forest Hills. Love hearing about good old NY. Miss the appetizing – but found a great place in Dana Point for pastrami/rye and pickles – only 45 minutes north of me!!

    If I had money I’d take all my friends to S’pore to eat, especially the satay.

    San Diego is wonderful – but I miss the NY bagels and appetizing and easy access to kosher delicatessens.