Elmhurst Ethnojunkets Are Back!

Onward and upward!

I resumed Exploring Eastern European Food in Little Odessa about a month ago (a big thank you to all my guests!) and now Ethnic Eats in Elmhurst is joining the lineup; Flushing and Bay Ridge are just around the corner.

Ethnojunkets FAQ:

Q: What’s an ethnojunket anyway?
A: An ethnojunket is a food-focused walking tour through one of New York City’s many ethnic enclaves; my mission is to introduce you to some delicious, accessible, international treats that you’ve never tasted but soon will never be able to live without.

Q: Which neighborhoods do you cover?
A: My most popular tours are described on the ethnojunkets page but there are always new ones in the works. For the time being, I’m only scheduling Little Odessa and Elmhurst.

Q: When is your next ethnojunket to [fill in the blank: Elmhurst, Little Odessa, Flushing, Little Levant, etc.]?
A: Any day you’d like to go! Simply send me a note in the “Leave a Reply” section below or write to me directly at rich[at]ethnojunkie[dot]com and tell me when you’d like to experience a food adventure and which ethnojunket you’re interested in – I’ll bet we can find a mutually convenient day! (Pro Tip: Check the weather in advance for the day you’re interested in to facilitate making your choice; we spend a lot of time outdoors!)

Q: I’ve seen some tours that are scheduled in advance for particular dates. Do you do that?
A: Yes, in a way. When someone books a tour (unless it’s a private tour) it’s always fun to add a few more adventurous eaters to the group – not to mention the fact that we get the opportunity to taste more dishes when we have more people (although I do like to keep the group size small). You can see if there are any openings available in the “Now Boarding” section of the ethnojunkets page. Subscribers always get email notifications about these.

Q: What will we be eating in Elmhurst?
A: We cover a lot of geography on our Ethnic Eats in Elmhurst adventure! We’ll savor goodies from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and parts of China. And if you’re into cooking, we can explore a large Pan-Asian supermarket along the way.

Here are just a few of the delicacies we usually enjoy on this ethnojunket. (Not that I’m trying to tempt you to sign up! 😉)

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Thai Pork & Peanut Dumplings

Taiwanese Pineapple Cake

Nepali Momos

Zaab Chicken Wings

Malaysian Silver Noodles

Pandan Tart Cake

I hope you’ll sign up and join us! The cost is $85 per person (cash only, please) and includes a veritable cornucopia of food so bring your appetite: you won’t leave hungry, and you will leave happy!

For more information and to sign up, send me a note in the “Leave a Reply” section at the bottom of this page or write to me directly at rich[at]ethnojunkie[dot]com and I’ll email you with details.

I’m looking forward to introducing you to one of my favorite neighborhoods!


Instagram Post 1/6/2020

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Now, if that’s a word that resonates for you and if you like Hong Kong style sweet, fruity, soupy desserts, then you’ll ❤️ Medo at 3 Bay 25th Street, just off 86th St in Bensonhurst. The décor is primary school classroom, replete with kids’ desks (but adult sized and not cramped) stocked with crayons, coloring pages, and the like. Expect variations on coconut milk, mango, durian, sago, pomelo, red bean, sticky rice, taro and the other usual suspects; bubble tea, mille crepes, and additional snacks await as well.

Cute interior design notwithstanding, I seriously enjoyed what we ordered. From the Snow White section of the menu, this is the Durian and Black Glutinous Rice option: islands of sweet custard-like durian and black sticky rice with its welcome contrasting texture floated atop the icy snow and sago enhanced coconut milk.

And yes, next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll be back.

Mango Mango Dessert

Instagram Post 2/23/2019

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With a name like Mango Mango Dessert, you know what you’re getting yourself into before you even enter. This chain of franchised Hong Kong style dessert and ice cream shops features a multitude of mango desserts of course, but do check the menu for other specialties like mille crepes (the popular thousand layer treat) as well as coconut, durian and other tropical goodies. Four of us descended upon the 136-28 39th Ave location in Flushing and sprung for the Mango Combos A and B.

[1] Combo A included (left to right): special mango juice, sago (tapioca) and pomelo with mango ice cream, three mango mochis, and snow white juice (coconut) with mango and black rice.

[2] Combo B comprised a pair of mango pancakes, mango juice and glutinous rice balls with ice cream, and snow white and mango juice with sago and pomelo with ice cream.

You got a jones for mango? You know where to go, man.

Like Cafe

Instagram Post 1/17/2019

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Enormous backlit dazzlingly bright hyper-colorized scenes of bustling Hong Kong streets gild the walls and stand in contrast to the unpretentious furnishings of this informal Brooklyn café. The youth-centric menu is extensive – a trifold glossy sheet that opens to a 25½ x 11 inch onslaught on the eyes and flaunts a hodgepodge of colorful mini-photos arranged in splashy, artful disarray captioned in dozens of fonts with as many exclamation points.

Like Café brings its rendition of Hong Kong street snacks to 6205 18th Ave in Bensonhurst with a good assortment of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Vietnamese offerings: noodles, dumplings, wings, rice dishes and sundry tids and bits scream for attention amid some lobster and sizzling beef contenders.

Wading through an ocean of dishes with intriguing names like Show Me Your Love Rice and Sloopy Noodle, we settled on Fishball Shumai Noodle, Macaense Wings (that’s either the Spanish word for Macanese or a typo – you decide) and Man Romance Rice. (See what I mean about the names?)

[1] The first turned out to be rolled rice noodles, tiny fish balls, and diminutive, dense fish paste shu mei swimming in a sweet soy/peanut butter sauce topped with sesame seeds. The rice rolls and sauce were okay, the fish balls and dumplings less so.

[2] I like wings that are crispy and I also like wings that are saucy – not sure about the marriage however. These were spicy, a good thing, but when crispy crumbs get saturated, they lose their raison d’être. The sauce was chickeny, but I couldn’t tease out any other specific flavors. The pickled veggies on the side were good though.

[3] You’ve been waiting for Man Romance Rice, haven’t you? Possibly the best of the three dishes, it consisted of pork belly, bean curd skin, and thick meaty shiitake mushrooms in sauce over rice. Satisfying. And no, I didn’t ask about the name.

Oh, how I wanted to love Like Café, but so far I only like Like Café. Despite what I’ve written, I’ll give them another chance – it’s possible that now that I have a sense of the place and based on other photos I’ve seen, with more judicious ordering it could prove to be a better experience.

Hong Kong Taste

When I write about restaurants on Instagram, they’re usually brief takes accompanied by a photo or two. (You can see my feed right here on ethnojunkie.com, updated almost daily, by selecting the “Instagram” category from my home page – no signup required.) But because of Instagram’s character count limitations, it’s often necessary to break up a review into several parts. This one originally appeared as four posts, published in June, July, and August, 2018 and January 2020.

Hong Kong Taste, 47-21 90th Street at the corner of Corona Ave in Elmhurst, Queens, brings a bright, airy, youthful feel to cha chaan teng (tea restaurant) dining. There are three things I particularly love about this place. First, the vast and incredibly well organized menu of delicious, authentic Hong Kong specialties featuring everything from congee to dumplings to fried popcorn chicken along with an abundance of soups and rice and noodle dishes, not to mention milk teas and the like.

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Second, and perhaps their claim to fame, is their Cart Noodles 🍜. It’s a mix and match bonanza where you get to choose your noodle from among nine styles (thin, thick, wheat, rice, egg, etc.) and then top it off with your choice of 26 add-ons including curry fish ball, chicken wing, pork hock, fried wonton, radish, fried egg and lots more. Here’s a bowl loaded with Hong Kong style thick noodles plus beef tendon ball, beef brisket, radish, and beef omasum (aka book tripe).

Which brings me to my third favorite aspect of Hong Kong Taste. Every table is provided with a sea of condiments, of course, but two are not to be missed: their homemade curry sauce and garlic sauce. These were truly remarkable. And sure enough, when I looked closely at their menu later that day, I saw that they sell them by the quart to take home.

Pan Fried Dried Shrimp Cheong Fun – I decided to try three of their rice roll varieties. These made the cut.

Cheong Fun with Peanut and Sweet Sauce – Just what it says, peanutty and sweet, perhaps a little too sweet, but to each their own.

This is Dai Pai Dong Style Cheong Fun, my favorite of the three, impossibly thick, chewy rolled rice noodles – a plateful of comforting satisfaction. (The egg makes all the difference.)

Fried Squid – Whole baby squid, a tiny bit spicy. One of my favorites here.

Another Cart Noodle Soup: The obligatory noodle lift shot. There are scores of combinations of noodles and add-ons. (And no, I haven’t done the math – too busy slurping. 😉)

The equally obligatory helicopter shot featuring their Taiwanese Style Popcorn Chicken (the spicy seasoning is sprinkled on the top, so mix ’em up a little) and curry fish balls – more chewy goodness.

Closer view of the popcorn chicken.

Tomato Fried Eggs with Pork Chop was on the specials board on another occasion. The pork chop was good, the tomato/eggs (a classic Chinese dish) even better. I kicked up the rice with a little of their amazing housemade curry and garlic sauces and rounded out the meal with their delicious Hong Kong style milk tea.

Durian Pizza at C Fruitlife

Instagram Post 10/18/2017

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You know the old adage about durian, right? “Smells like hell, tastes like heaven!” Well, this may be the gateway drug for durian novitiates: Durian Pizza at C Fruitlife, 135-29 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, Queens. For those of you who are curious about the flavor of durian, this offering is very mild and may well ease you into some comfy durian love; and for those of us who are hardcore durianheads, we wouldn’t mind if this were even a little more, um, pungent! They offer two versions, Musang King, the Malaysian variety, and the less expensive Monthong from Thailand. Lots of other Hong Kong style desserts as well as snacks to be found, some with a more salubrious bent, some just for fruity sweetness.