When travelers to New York ask me where to eat, I send them to Flushing. When locals ask me about a new restaurant I'm excited about, the answer's often there. But let's say you have just one day to take a whirlwind tour of the neighborhood. What do you need to try?
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The key to a successful experience at Crazy Crab is twofold: flexibility and knowledge. If you're looking for a full-blown Burmese or Yunnanese experience, you will be disappointed, as the menu offers only a handful of dishes from each cuisine. And if you're in the market for a legit Cajun seafood fiesta, then I have to ask what exactly you're doing in Flushing. But if you enter Crazy Crab with a plan of attack, an open mind, and a willingness to make a cross-cultural mess on your plate, you won't leave disappointed.
This Seoul-based chain is founded by comedian, MC, and former professional wrestler Kang Ho Dong, which may lead you to believe that Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is something of a gag. But on my visit that couldn't be further from the case.
Of all the Burmese specialties at Flushing's Crazy Crab, this salad of shredded young ginger and fried crunchy bits is the most compelling.
The five boroughs are dotted with numerous cuisine-unspecific kosher restaurants, serving everything from shawarma to pizza to sushi, all rabbinically approved for Orthodox Jewish consumption. Benjy's Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Flushing is one notable example. According to the restaurant's extended name, a woman I spoke to while having lunch there, and this blog post (picked up by Gothamist), the pizza is the thing to order at Benjy's. And having read that post, there was no way I'd be ordering anything other than the Falafel Pizza.
Yee sangis a large-format salad of raw fish, shredded vegetables, and crunchy bits eaten exclusively during Lunar New Year. It originated in mainland China, but these days it's most commonly found in Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. And in Flushing at Malay Restaurant, which serves my favorite version of the dish—Malaysia included.
As one of the city's Asian food meccas, Flushing has no shortage of good food courts. But one of the best receives little attention from Yelp or small food blogs, likely for one simple reason: it's a 25-minute walk from the 7 train on Flushing's Union Street in a Korean supermarket chain called H-Mart. Unless you have a car (it's five minutes from the Whitestone bridge that way), Namoodol, the H-Mart's lunch counter, is a trek, but the Korean barbecue and free tea alone are well worth the trip.
Coffee and Danish lovers rejoice. Paris Baguette has you covered with their new all-in-one Coffee-Danish ($2.50). The lightly sweetened pastry combines an almond flour dough and a thick coffee coating.
This mild dish at Biang! acts as a refreshing pause in between bites of fiery noodles and more assertive salads
There's plenty to recommend at this downtown Flushing bakery, but the distance between the hits and the misses is a great one.
When Theresa Wong experienced a Chinese tea ceremony for the first time, she hadn't considered "the difference between drinking tea and tasting tea." Five years later, the former insurance saleswomanguides customers through tastings at a small gourmet tea shop for a living.
These "pumpkin" rice dumplings don't have much real pumpkin flavor, but they're great little desserts stuffed with molten black sesame paste, a fitting end to a meal of dumplings at this tiny basement stall.
Sometimes you gotta have your coconut chicken soups or char kway teow or crackly oyster omelet, and when the craving strikes, Curry Leaves is there for you. But the real star of a meal there is the vegetables.
This dessert is really a cross between a verrine (parfait) and a fruit tart. Two layers of green tea sponge cake are surrounded by a delicious green tea pastry cream with just a hint of sweetness.
Kabul Kabab doesn't nail every detail of pro kebabery, but it hits, turning deceptively simple grilled meat into a worthy night out.
Your average Sichuan restaurant may turn out a decent, if not exceptional, plate of dry-fried cumin lamb, a dish that tastes pretty solid even when it's not that inspired. But at Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan, it's the must-order plate.
When out-of-towners ask me where to see "real New York," or when I'm looking to feed eight people for $40, or when I've decided that my cholesterol is just too damn low and in need of some butter, I have one easy answer for where to go: an out-of-the-way temple in suburban Flushing that just happens to make the best dosas in New York.
This decidedly unconventional canele has a lot going for it for less than $2 a pop, including real vanilla beans and a delicious custard-like interior.
Brian Tsao grew up in Flushing, Queens, with a Chinese father and Korean mother, and he still lives there today; the great selection of food is just one reason. So it's no surprise to anyone who dines at Mira Sushi and Izakaya that the menu mirrors his multi-ethnic background. Tsao, who is 28 and worked for his family's restaurants and at Telepan, gives us his recommendations for eating in Flushing. The restaurants are as varied as his tastes.
The heart of the Tiramisu Pastry ($2.50) is essentially a very well executed croissant, with plenty of buttery laminated dough layers that are filled with mascarpone cream and topped with cocoa powder.