Super HK Food Court – continued

Instagram Post 12/1/2018

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Quick bites from the opening of the new Super HK Food Court, 37-11 Main St, Flushing, in the basement of Super HK Supermarket.

[1] The Signature Sesame Ball with Red Bean Paste from Mom’s Kitchen, stall 18, was top notch.
[2] Steamed Pumpkin with Raisin bun (yellow) and Red Date bun (white) from New York Xiao Jiang Nan Bun, stall 12.
[3] Pork bun from New York Xiao Jiang Nan Bun was good; its mate was a vegetable and egg bun (vented top).
[4] An inside peek.

So much more to try; I’m going back soon!
 
 

Karam – Spinach Pie

Instagram Post 11/30/2018

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I’m usually not a fan of Middle Eastern spinach pies. Yes, I know, heresy. But they’re generally seasoned carelessly if at all, the dough is too tough particularly where the edges are pinched together, and when the spinach excretes its bitter juice, they turn into something that resembles wet cardboard with a filling my mother would have insisted was “good for me”. So when this plate appeared, I snapped a pic thinking I probably wouldn’t venture beyond that – but I would have missed out on a great treat. Karam, the Lebanese restaurant at 8519 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn succeeded in changing my opinion of this ubiquitous snack. The filling was herbaceous and delectable and the dough was tender and supple, little pillows of delight that won my heart. Get these.

The second photo shows za’atar pita crisps, there for the asking.
 
 

Karam – Falafel

Instagram Post 11/29/2018

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Falafel are customarily made from chickpeas or fava beans, ground, compressed and deep fried. The Lebanese restaurant Karam crafts theirs from a combination of both which, in the company of a proper balance of onion, garlic, parsley, cumin and other spices, is probably what makes their rendition so tasty. Served with tahini and pickled turnips, it’s one of the best versions of the crunchy treat in this Middle Eastern neighborhood. Located at 8519 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Karam has earned its phenomenal reputation rightfully; head over there and see for yourself – they’re a cut above the rest. (See photo 2 for the inside scoop!)
 
 

Lanzhou Noodle

Instagram Post 11/28/2018

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Today’s report from the pre-Thanksgiving opening of the new Super HK Food Court, 37-11 Main St, Flushing, in the basement of Super HK Supermarket. Stall 25 is home to Lanzhou Noodle (aka Lanzhou Ramen, aka Hong Kong Noodle King according to the receipt) and despite a fairly extensive menu, we opted for the Cumin Lamb Stir-Fried Noodle because Cumin Lamb Stir-Fried Noodle, right? Three photos: the dish, the obligatory noodle lift, and the gravity defying double sine wave hand pull (which deserves to be an Olympic event).

The pleasant chew of the noodles and the toss of appropriate veggies (carrot, scallion, cabbage) were promising, but more than a little lamb would have made it merry. I wish the cumin had made a stronger statement and that the meat had been of better quality but that may be due to opening week unpredictabilities. Still more to try at Lanzhou Noodle.

 
 

Shaanxi Tasty Food

Instagram Post 11/27/2018

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Finally getting around to posting about opening day (or so) at Super HK Food Court, 37-11 Main St, Flushing, in the basement of Super HK Supermarket, part of the Good Fortune Supermarket chain. So now the Big Three are the Big Four (at least until such time as things change again) and I’m eagerly anticipating eating my way through each stall in this brightly lit foodie fun house. My dining buddy and I hit Shaanxi Tasty Food, Stall 27, and got a pair of dishes which I referred to alternately as The Agony and the Ecstasy and the Zenith and the Nadir.

Starting with Oil Spill Noodle (B1), aka Oil Splashed Noodle: Incredible! If you crave ultra long, extra thick, super chewy, hand pulled noodles, this dish is for you (and me); a spicy, gingery sauce graced the noodz with a few gratuitous veggies like baby bok choy and beansprouts tossed in. Even though there’s so much to explore in the new digs, I’ll snag another one of these next time I go – it was that good.

And then there was the Spicy Potato Chip Burger (A4) that featured a few potato slices boiled al dente (as they should be), lettuce, a tiny bit of bean curd skin, lettuce, a presumably freshly made bun, and lots and lots of lettuce. Did I mention lettuce? It just didn’t hang together, either physically or culinarily; I don’t know what they were thinking.

So go for the Alpha, skip the Omega, and stay tuned for the next report.
 
 

Edible Queens Recognition

Instagram Post 11/16/2018

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What an honor to have one of my photos chosen for inclusion in Edible Queens Issue 11! And it’s even more special because I’m in the company of so many foodie luminaries, many of whom I’m privileged to call friends IRL; I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of you over something delicious in Queens! Thank you so much @EdibleQueens!
 
 

Cafe At Your Mother-in-Law

Instagram Post 11/12/2018

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It may come as a surprise to some that North Korea and Russia share a border: 11 land miles of “terrestrial border” and 12 nautical miles of “maritime border”, and during the Japanese occupation in the 1920s–30s, some Koreans escaped to Russia via this route. Subsequently, Stalin moved all Koreans in Russia to Central Asia, mostly Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; they self-identified as Koryo-Saram and their fusion-by-necessity cuisine is the focus of this post. You may have tasted some version of the spicy shredded carrot salad (morkovcha) offered by most Uzbek restaurants but it’s khe that I’ve come to crow about and Café At Your Mother-in-Law, 3071 Brighton 4th St just off Brighton Beach Ave in Brooklyn, does a remarkable job with it. Meaty chunks of raw fish marinated in vinegar, onions and Korean red chili are the main ingredients (recipes vary) in this delectable dish; [2] a cooked beef version is also available with slightly different seasonings but equally delicious. [3] Pegodya, a steamed bun stuffed with cabbage and meat that comes with a special house sauce, makes a good accompaniment. Khe is the reason I take folks to this restaurant on my Little Odessa ethnojunkets and I’m pleased to report that it’s always a hit.

I’m also pleased to report, speaking of ethnojunkets, that now you can book a food tour with me at your convenience without waiting for the next one to be announced. During colder weather and the holiday season, I tend to do fewer scheduled ethnojunkets, but that doesn’t mean that I stop doing them! Simply click here to find out how!
 
 

Corner 28

Instagram Post 11/11/2018

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Pretty good, pretty reliable, and pretty quick (if you get there at the right time) dim sum from Corner 28, 135-24 40th Rd, Flushing because I was hungry, harried, and in a hurry. These Pan Fried Pork Buns, Jiao Zi, Fish Balls, and Bean Curd Skin Rolls stuffed with shrimp, pork, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts hit the spot. (Love the way the meat juices permeate the bun!)
 
 

Luo Zhuang Yuan

Instagram Post 11/9/2018

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As a habitual denizen of the Flushing food court scene, I am forever bringing hungry folks along on ethnojunkets to my favorite stalls. The only downside of this practice is that I invariably order the same reliable dishes so that they can sample the best of the best, but I never urge them to try something I’ve never experienced. I found myself flying solo the other day so I took advantage of the situation. Luo Zhuang Yuan is pretty much the first stall on the left (#26) as you enter the New York Food Court at 133-35 Roosevelt Ave and one of their specialties is Snail Rice Noodle. Of the eight variations they offered, I selected pork, very spicy.

The thin noodles were accompanied by roast pig, green bok choy, peanuts and tofu skin, all very familiar of course, in a broth for which I was completely unprepared. I like snails and I anticipated this tasting like, well, snails. Luosifen (螺蛳粉), a specialty of Liuzhou in Southern China, is all about the soup made from river snails and aromatics and it’s one of those love it or hate it foul-smelling flavors that affect people the same way that durian, stinky tofu, limburger, and couldn’t-these-have-been-cleaned-a-little-better intestines have a reputation for. Now I enjoy many, shall we say, “aromatic” foods and perhaps the fact that I wasn’t expecting quite this level of malodorousness brought me up short. Strangely, the questionable charm of the broth seemed only to intensify as I worked my way through the bowl.

Needless to say, I went home and hit the interwebs in search of more info. I learned that luosifen almost never contains snail meat, but that’s beside the point. On a more curious note, many of the articles and reviews that I found didn’t even mention its pungent nature. A few, however, confirmed that my initial confrontation was not atypical.

So, my friends, I do hope you’ll join me on a food tour soon and I guarantee, as always, that anything we taste will have been thoroughly vetted – and now you know why!
 
 

Daxi Sichuan – Part 5

Instagram Post 11/8/2018

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As I’ve said, Nouveau Sichuan, if you’ll permit my neologism, seems to be the craze among Chinese restaurants these days. Classic Sichuan dishes appear beef cheek by pork jowl with fanciful presentations of innovative altered-state creations on menus that would make a coffee-table book pale into insignificance. Here’s the last in a series from Daxi Sichuan, 136-20 Roosevelt Ave on the second floor of Flushing’s New World Mall, a prime exponent of the trend.

[1] Tibet Style Lamb with Brown Sugar Rice Cake. First question: I count eight chops in compass point configuration but only two rice cakes. Those rice cakes were tasty – but were they intended as merely a flavorsome garnish? (Upon review, the menu depicted more.) The lamb was good as well, but the undergirding of spicy potatoes, peppers and onions was excellent.

[2] And finally, Stir Fried Cabbage and Bean Vermicelli. Gimmick-free, sans over-the-top-staging; simple, homespun and delicious. And maybe that’s the method in their madness at Daxi Sichuan; they aim to cover both sides of the culinary divide with some dishes that focus on eye-catching presentation and others that sustain us with mouth-watering comfort food. After all, they did just net a 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand award.