Little House Redux

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I’m toying with the idea of launching a Bensonhurst ethnojunket in light of the many international food opportunities along 86th St in Brooklyn. I’ve been visiting all of them in search of the best of the best and one of my favorites is the new incarnation of Elmhurst’s now closed Little House Café. The signage touts “Little House Restoran”, the press refers to Little House Malaysian Kitchen, but the owners are the same folks that operated the original venue that we would frequent on my Elmhurst food tour and that I posted about at least eight times – so yes, I liked it!

Kuih are Malaysian snacks – sweet, savory, salty, and ubiquitous throughout the region. A particularly striking example is Little House’s Nine Layer Cake and it tastes as delightful as it looks.

Little House is located at 2012 86th St and you know I’ll be back soon!

And, a serious question: do you think I should do a Bensonhurst ethnojunket? Please comment below!

Amayar Kitchen

A couple of months ago a few friends and I ventured out to Amayar Kitchen, a Burmese restaurant in Maywood, NJ (a rather remote location – or so it seemed to me). Here’s a quick overview of our lunch that day.

From the Appetizers section:

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Veggie Fritters – a tempting assortment for starters.

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad – known to all at the table as Lahpet Thoke, but the menu shied away from all but a few Burmese designations.

Tofu Salad – the yellow tofu is a clue that we’re doing Burmese cuisine. It gets its color from yellow split peas and turmeric.

From the Noodles section:

See Jet Noodles – roast duck with garlicky noodles.

Bait Noodles – named for the seaport on the southern tip of Myanmar, the noodz are topped with shrimp, sausage, a fried egg, beans and bean sprouts.

Aung San Fried Rice with roasted beans, a fried egg, and Three Layer Pork Curry – the special of the day. (I’m guessing that “three layers” refers to the pork belly stripes!) The best dish of the group IMO.


Assorted Burmese Cakes/Jellies

Coconut Sticky Rice Cake in Banana Leaf – sweet roasted coconut inside a dumpling made from pounded sticky rice, the most intriguing of the lot.

I do wish the food had been a little more hard-core, but I’m guessing that they offer what the location would likely accommodate. Delightful folks: we wish them all the best!

Amayar Kitchen is located at 111 East Passaic St, Maywood, NJ.

Oh K-Dog

You know about K-pop, right? This is K-dog. “Oh K-Dog” to be precise, and it seems like there are dozens of outposts across the country (this one can be found at Queens Crossing Food Court, 136-17 39th Ave in Flushing) and from what I see, it’s a thing.

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In their own marketspeak, “Korean rice hotdogs have become a craze in Korea, quickly becoming one of the most popular street foods. Unlike a typical hot dog, we specialize in using a stick to deep fry our signature item until it crisps golden brown.”

So instead of a bun for a dog carrier, it’s battered, yielding a soft, bready interior and a crispy exterior. Not into hot dogs? Me neither, but you can swap in a cylindrical Korean rice cake or a log of mozzarella for the dog. To gild the lily, you can add diced potato or sweet potato to embellish the delicacy.

I opted for a sweet version: mozz inside, sweet potato chunks outside. I was asked if I wanted sugar or cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. “Half and half?” I ventured, dodging the decision, and I was rewarded with an unexpectedly tasty treat.

And only then did the real fun begin. Off to the side, there’s a variety of condiments with which to experiment including ketchup, honey mustard, sweet chili, gochu hot sauce, garlic sauce, and cheese mustard among others. Cheese mustard? It tasted of neither cheese nor mustard but it turned out to be the perfect complement to my order.

But wait there’s more! For the final act, you can sprinkle on your choice of toppings like honey butter, parmesan cheese, onion sprinkle, snowing seasoning, and coconut.

When flying solo, I am physically incapable of positioning a camera, holding a chunk of food and doing an Instagram cheese pull, but hopefully you get the idea. At the counter, there’s a mesmerizing video loop of a young woman handily demonstrating those skills. Dinner and a show.

I wanted to dismiss this as an exercise in silliness, but I got hooked on it – as did some guests on my Flushing ethnojunket.

And I haven’t even tried their other specialty, Egg Toast, and its variations. Next time.

Yin Ji Chang Fen – 2022

Getting out and about again and spending a lot of time in Manhattan’s Chinatown of late so I revisited Yin Ji Chang Fen, the rice noodle roll chain from Guangzhou, China, located at 91 Bayard Street.

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Dining outdoors this time (because COVID), I decided to test the waters with something plain and something fancy, so here’s Peanut Sauce Rice Noodle Roll for guests who join me on my Chinatown food tour that want to stay within their comfort zone…

…and Pork Kidney with Chives Rice Noodle Roll – because that’s the way I roll! 🙄 (Eye roll – see what I did there?)

And speaking of my Chinatown Manhattan ethnojunket, there’s one boarding on Wednesday, September 21. (What an amazing coincidence!) Get the details here!

Café Metro

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According to the interwebs, fungee is the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda; according to ethnojunkie, fungee is delicious. It’s simplicity itself; think polenta with an Antiguan accent: there’s a hit of heat and a textural slide due to the addition of okra. Here, it’s keeping company with okra pods and eggplant that’s been enhanced by okra (did I mention okra?) and saltfish. No complaints. No stick-to-the-ribs jokes either. Just really good eats.

On the side is ducana, a dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, grated coconut, cinnamon and sugar and IMHO, it’s a real treat; wish I had access to it more often.

The fish cake appetizer was comped and perfect; I could have eaten a sack of those.

The inner workings.

This indulgence came from Café Metro, 477 Cedar Lane in Teaneck, NJ.

As Antiguan Chef Bernadine says, “Eat till you belly full!” I have no problem with that!

Yukun Shaobing

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A favorite stop along my “Snacking in Flushing – The Best of the Best” ethnojunket is Landmark Quest Mall, 136-21 Roosevelt Ave, a diminutive food court that’s home to some outstanding vendors – proof positive that good things come in small packages.

Two enterprising women own and operate Yukun Shaobing, a tiny stall where they turn out at least 16 varieties of stuffed flatbreads that run the gamut of flavors from Pork and Chinese Cabbage to Spicy Squid to Cumin Lamb, representing favorites from multiple regions of China.

I won’t even tease you with my customary “will this be on our tour?” gambit; the answer is yes, of course it is, because these exquisite pockets of goodness are amazing!

Of course, you’ll have to take the tour to find out which ones we’ll be enjoying 😉 so check out my Ethnojunkets page and sign up to join in the fun!


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Streecha is a charming-in-its-bare-bones-informality Ukrainian restaurant hidden away in the homey basement of Saint George Ukrainian Catholic Church in Manhattan’s East Village – and it’s a gem. The sparse menu always includes Borsch (beet soup), Varenyky (potato dumplings – with toppings, please), Holubtsi (stuffed cabbage), and Sausage with Cabbage. The sausage is a link of top-notch savory pork kielbasa with an affirmative snap when you bite into it, and the cabbage, despite its sauerkraut-like appearance, is a deliciously sweet cabbage/carrot/onion mélange.

But the Daily Special is a Daily Mystery; it’s not posted anywhere online or even on the premises, so if you want to find out what’s cookin’, go there and inquire, order it, and be pleasantly surprised.

And yes, I’ll be back. Streecha is located at 33 East 7th St in New York City.

New Section: Ukraine

I’ve created a new section on this site that highlights the cuisine of Ukraine. The prologue begins like this:

Odessa is a port city on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. It is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches and charming 19th-century architecture.

In the latter half of the last century, many Odessites who emigrated to the US came to Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood, now known as “Little Odessa”. I took this photograph on that beach – and tweaked the colors, just a bit.

As a kid, I studied history from a book titled World Civilization; “civilization” was defined as the advancement of the arts, science, culture and statecraft. At the time, it seemed to me that statecraft had as much to do with waging war as anything else. History was something that was about 2 inches thick and had 537 pages.

When I was in high school, I would eavesdrop on my father reliving World War II in exhaustive detail with his buddy, Jack, over highballs; they had served together in the army overseas. I still have his captain’s bars and his Purple Heart. War became a little more real, more than just something you read about; war had certainly affected my father.

In college, we would watch television nightly, transfixed as Walter Cronkite narrated terrifying scenes from the war in Vietnam; I wondered if I would be drafted. War became even more real; war was affecting me.

But now, I know someone who actually lives in Kyiv and although I am fortunate to not be an eyewitness myself, the horrors of war have never been more real for me.

Her hobby is cooking; that’s how we met – through Instagram of all things. She loves nature in its beauty ardently, the flora and the fauna. We communicate on occasion, a genuine, personal one-to-one correspondence. She is very real.

And every time I hear the reports of the latest atrocities, I worry if she is well. If she is alive.

This corner of my website is dedicated to you, Olya. You and all the brave, stalwart, resilient, heroic, beautiful people of Ukraine.

Stay safe, Olya. Stay safe.

🇺🇦 Слава Україні! Героям слава! 🇺🇦

Over the years, I have enjoyed and continue to learn more about Ukrainian cuisine; I prepare it at home, and now bring people to visit Little Odessa in Brooklyn so they can experience it firsthand.

It is a small gesture, I know, but at least I can introduce others to a part of the vibrant culture of these resolute people who are giving their lives and losing their loved ones in their quest to preserve democracy.

Here, then, are a few dishes from my Ukrainian posts, with more to come….
Click here to see the new section and the cuisine. You can always visit as it grows by selecting Stories -> Ukraine in the top navigation bar. Дякую!


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I’m forever scoping out restaurants, food courts, and food stands for my ethnojunkets, and this time Elmhurst was in my sights. Here’s the Number 1 Classic bánh mì from JoJu at 83-25 Broadway; it features slices of Vietnamese ham and headcheese with pâté and pork house sauce along with cucumber, cilantro and traditional pickled carrot and daikon.

The marketing describes their wares as “Modern Vietnamese Sandwiches” and indeed, the menu is infused with Korean, Thai, and Japanese influences. They’re more than just a sandwich shop though: this venue (one of three) offers spring rolls, chicken wings, rice bowls, and more to round out the menu.

So…will we indulge in this bánh mì bonhomie on my Ethnic Eats in Elmhurst food tour? Only one way to find out: check out my Ethnojunkets page and sign up to join in the fun!