Hi East Coasters!
I am here from Southern California for school/work experience. Back home I love Asian and Mexican food. I love experiencing all the different enclaves such as Koreatown, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, Thai Town, and Little Saigon. Doing my research I feel like Queens kinda offers a similar experience, particularly the neighborhoods along the 7 Train…Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Flushing.
Besides Asian/Mexican I am open to different cuisines that are unique to the area or what I can’t get back home in California. (South American comes to mind, we have a decent Peruvian scene in LA though). I love street food and hole-in-the-wall Mom N Pops places. I am pretty excited about NYC Chinese food scene, but I feel that might need another thread altogether (I really wanna try Ho Foods, and Kopitiam)
Does anyone have any recommendations in these Queens neighborhoods?
@JeetKuneBao Welcome to NYC!!! Hope you brought along lots of PPE & Purel for the subway
Unfortunately I don’t venture much to Queens. However I highly recommend checking out this gem of a blog from fellow FTCer @EattheWorldLA. http://www.eattheworldnyc.com/. Another resource for the Bronx Area. Vice channel’s F*ck, That’s Delicious series is an entertaining resource for some off the beaten path options around NYC. Eater NY is a great resource too, word of caution Robert Sietsema’s Chinese recs are highly suspect, they have not served me well …
Few areas I suggest exploring along the 7
- Jackson Heights - Little India
- Elmhurst - Thai
- Junction Boulevard - Mexican
- Check out Paparich in Flushing for your Malaysian fix & MK Durian for … durians
- Some info on Beef Noodles since you mentioned, perhaps check out Mama Lee in Bayside
- If the East Village branch is any indication highly recommend Szechuan Mountain House in Flushing
- All the local Koreans tell me Flushing is where you find the good stuff … Ktown in Manhattan is generally not great compared to LA. Although I do like Gopchang Story for offal dining.
Cuisine that’s less commonly found in LA that I’ve enjoyed in NYC are
- Pizza! Lots of good joints all over
- Eastern European - Polish, Ukranian, Albanian etc etc! Had some great Polish food recently at an unassuming spot - Polka Dot in Greenpoint. Frankly I’ve barely scratched the surface but definitely one category with lots of hits
- Puerto Rican - explore the Lechoneria and Cuchifritos joints
- Carribean, unfortunately made zero headway here thus far
- Bagels, Bialys & Smoked salmon
- Clams on a half shell are inexpensive in NYC
- Fancy Korean (Think Westside dining but in a Korean context)
- Rent a car someday and head to Edison, NJ for the best Indian mecca in the US
Check out some of my posts on this board over the past couple of years, although mostly Manhattan centric.
Just a few things to get the ball rolling …
Along with what @Sgee has provided, which is great advice, I would add Central Asian and Caucasus foods. While LA does have Georgian, it is generally an offshoot of Armenian restaurants. In NY you will find full menus full of so many dishes, not just khachapuri and khinkali. There are also a lot of good Uzbek and Tajik restaurants. Most of these are in Brooklyn, although Queens has some Kosher versions in Rego Park.
Explore Caribbean as much as possible, that is what is missed most about NYC. Southern Caribbean cuisine from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago flourishes in the Ozone Park and Richmond Hill areas. Over 15 nations from the Caribbean at least are represented. Haitian food in Brooklyn is to die for.
If you go to Jackson Heights as suggested, eat at the Bangladeshi places. Indian is not as interesting there as it used to be, and as noted places like Edison (and Oak Tree Road is magic) in New Jersey are much better. Not sure what the status at the Ganesh Temple canteen is right now, but for excellent southern Indian in Queens that is a good stop.
Also in Queens, in the neighborhood of Astoria, is a few blocks of Steinway Street often called “Little Egypt” but this undersells it, as there is also Moroccan, Algerian, and food from throughout the Levant. More great Middle Eastern food and wonderful community is in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Do get some Puerto Rican as suggested by @Sgee as well, and the Bronx is the best place for that. 188 Cuchifritos is always a trip.
What am I missing??
As soon as I hit enter I remembered what I was missing… Yemeni food! Bay Ridge is the best for this, although there is a spot or two in Astoria.
And if you want to visit Staten Island, the Sri Lankan at New Asha is chef’s kiss.
@EattheWorldLA thanks for those additional tips!! Lots more exploring to go. I really need to rent a car just for these excursions. Too time consuming venturing to the outer boroughs via subway.
Enjoy NYC @JeetKuneBao. It’s been 20 years since I’ve lived in Queens but used to go back often but not lately. All great advice above. Places I’ll just put on your radar of you’re in the area.
Corona Lemon Ice King. If you like Italian ice this is the place. They still serve in those little paper cups. You can easily do 4-5 different flavors per visit. All of the fruit flavors are great although I usually throw in a chocolate chip to mix it up.
Bagel Oasis right off the 495. Open 24/7. My favorite whitefish salad. Timing of getting fresher bagels is always key.
Flushing has started to veer more towards Chinese. I think there are a few threads on the NYC board. The Koreans have moved out more towards Bayside which is more easily accessible via the LIRR if you are near a stop.
Cherry Valley would be a big hit on the drunk stoned and hungry thread. Open late night. All sorts of crazy hero and sandwich combos. Think lots of fried things, cheesy things and stuff that goes down well at 2am after a night out.
Thank you guys for all the tips!
For the record I am outside of the city (a few hours), but while I am here I want to make the most of it.
Queens is literally eating the whole world. I feel like Queens is maybe slightly less segregated than LA, so the opportunity to eat some many different cuisines next to each other is pretty exciting.
Looks like I have to add Richmond Hill and Bayside to the other neighborhoods to eat in.
@Sgee what do you think of the East Village Chinese scene?
Aww yeah I definitely like Italian ice. My only frame of reference is Rita’s (big chain) and Joe’s just south of Disneyland. Sounds like Lemon Ice King of Corona is up my alley, I love old school spots.
Would love to get a authentic bagel! I understand Jewish food is dying in NYC so I definitely need to hit this up. As well as smoked fish, lox, etc. (Russ and Daughters is a MUST for me).
Anything in Bayside that I can’t get in Los Angeles Koreatown? I haven’t been to all of Ktown, but I feel pretty confident that I know the scene pretty well, but if there is a speciality dish that is in Bayside I would love to try. (You know me I love the specialists).
So-so, there are a couple of gems SMH & Ho Foods, others are not memorable. TBH I’ve given up on Chinese food in Manhattan save for the few places I venture when I get cravings. Wu’s Wonton King and Pinch for XLBs being the couple of others. One recent budding bright spot had been fancy hotpot chains from China - although more conducive for pre/post-Covid dining.
Hopefully you fare better than me and likely better options in Flushing.
Nothing Korean food wise in Bayside or Flushing you couldn’t get in LA. Many outposts of LA man restaurants have opened up in Queens if you get a hankering.
Corona Lemon Ice King is as old school as you can get. Literally just a walk up window with a board of ~30 flavors. Across the street old Italian guys playing boccee. Sometimes musicians playing in the park on a nice summer day. Reputed old school mob hangouts at Armys (no longer there) and Parkside. The area had become considerably more Latin American and Mexican over the years.
Awesome info. I am pretty excited about trying all the Caribbean and Latin food that is available.
I love your posts here btw. I will go thru your website for further research! Thank you
Another invaluable resource about food in Queens:
Chopsticks & Marrow:
Feedly – Keep up with the topics and trends you care about
Thank you. What a great blog! Have you done a food tour with him?
Yes, I took a bunch of friends on a private tour with Joe, specializing in Chinese food in Flushing, but with a stop in Jackson Heights, too (via the 7 train). He’s a positive, enthusiastic host.