Wednesday, May 13, 2009

flushing chinatown

shazzer and i had been gunning to go to flushing for weeks before i even stepped foot on american soil. i was so excited about the prospect of going to flushing chinatown i bored my dad, my boss and my neighbours endlessly about going to flushing chinatown. you had no idea. thing is, you can't get real chinese food in london. you can't get the gut busting, tear jerking, heart warming chinese soul food. and flushing Chinatown promised this real chinese food. so for weeks, i had been drooling over food porn in blogs and online articles written in awe of this mecca of real chinese food in Queens.

leaving the 7 train and exiting the bowels of the subway station, i felt like i had been beamed into downtown mongkok in kowloon - bikesterbud was the only white guy to be seen for miles and all around us, throngs of chinese people doing their food shopping, signs all written in mandarin, grocers selling dried mushrooms and seahorses, street food vendors plying scallion pancakes, crullers, chinese kebabs. it was surreal.

we headed first to the Golden Mall (41-28 Main Street, Flushing NY 11355) - a nondescript building that housed a warren of the most amazing eateries in its basement. shazzer and bikesterbud had first chanced upon this place when they had followed a troupe of dragon dancers (all of whom were white men, naturally) during chinese new year. here in the Golden Mall was Xi'an Xiao Chi (), a stall that sold food from Xi'an (where there are pandas). i went up to the stall owner and ordered a hot and sour noodles and dumplings. and liang pi (). the conversation with the stall owner went something like this:

"你一定要点凉皮!" - "you have to order the liangpi"
"我刚点了一盘." - " i just did."
"好! 你一定会喜欢!" - "good - you'll love it"

and i did. we all did. shazzer and bikesterbud were probably a little perturbed when i said i was going to order the liangpi - and understandably so, the picture of the dish stuck up on the wall or the idea of cold noodles didn't seem very appetizing. but i loved the stall owner's pride in his dish - it's the stall's signature dish and everyone orders this amazing concoction of cut up noodle sheets doused in the most amazing sauce - a sauce which was spicy, savoury, tingly, nutty and slightly vinegarish all at once. interlaced with the crunch of courgette strips and beansprouts, the soft and chewy noodles and the firm tofu slices soaked up this amazingly wonderful sauce. it was so good i went back to the stall owner to tell him i absolutely adored it, and took a pack to go for eating on the plane ride home. it was great plane food - no heating up necessary, and all that rolling about in my handbag on the way to the airport just gave opportunity for the sauce to reach every crevice between the noodles and the tofu.

we ventured out into the streets again after lunch in search of more chow. we stopped off also at the Flushing Mall (13331 39th Avenue, Flushing NY 11354) - yet another uninspiring building with a random selection of retail tenants, but in its basement, a food court with an array of food stalls selling shaved ice, japanese filled pancakes, scallion pancakes, hand pulled noodles, rice pots. i could have easily spent an afternoon just watching the various stall owners cook their yummy grub. the rest of the afternoon was spent meandering round the streets of chinatown and its koreantown annex - there are whole blocks where from downtown mongkok, you're suddenly beamed into suburbian seoul - nothing but rows of korean eateries interspersed amongst korean retailers, korean churches, korean laundry shops.

it was with a little sadness that i boarded the subway back to manhattan - i almost didn't want to leave. bubble tea in hand, a serve of scallion pancakes and pack of liang pi to go in my satchel, an afternoon with shazzer and bikesterbud and lots of chow - there couldn't have been a better way to spend my last full day in new york.


Post a Comment

<< Home