Yeh’s Bakery – You Want Me To Go To Flushing To Get A Boston Pie? Yes.

Yeh’s is a Taiwanese bakery that’s been recommended to me for a long time, but it’s taken me years to finally getting around to trying it.  When I decided to revisit Main Street Imperial, which you can read about here, I decided I should do lunch so that I could try Yeh’s as well.

Yeh’s is located near Main Street Imperial which is not in downtown Flushing and is closer to the LIE.  The bakery is very small with just two glass display cases.  Unlike most Chinese bakeries, they have a much more limited selection consisting with a few types of cakes, cake rolls and traditional Chinese pastries such a sun cakes and moon cakes.

Sun Cake (Tai Yang Bing):

Sun cakes are a traditional Taiwanese pastry from Taizhong / Taichung.  They are difficult to find outside Taiwan and last time I was in Taipei they were actually even difficult find to there with one bakery even jokingly telling me “go to Taizhong if you want those”.  I believe they’re not that popular amongst younger generations.  Anyhow, it’s a circular flaky pastry that looks similar to a wife cake (lao po bing) with a filling made of malt sugar.  At Yeh’s the English name says “honey cake” or something like that and while the flaky exterior is normal, the filling does taste like honey which is not normal.  However, I liked the honey flavor and it was much better than other sun cakes I’ve had in NY.  It isn’t close to a real good one in Taiwan, but it’s a decent version and worth checking out. 7.75/10

Boston Pie:

This is what they are known for.  It is a cake with cream custard filling and powdered sugar on top.  The cake is extremely light and fluffy literally one of the lightest cakes I’ve ever had anywhere.  The cream custard in the middle is also really light with the perfect level of sweetness (i.e. its sweet without being really sweet).  While it’s really simple this is one of the best cakes I’ve had in Asian bakery even in Asia.  I highly recommend you try this, it is really good.  8.75/10

Green Tea Roll:

This is another specialty.  It’s a cake roll with green tea flavoring and vanilla cream in the middle.  The cake is more dense than the Boston Pie and similar to pound cake.  The green tea flavor is very light so you will barely notice it and the vanilla cream is again only slightly sweet.  While not amazing I thought it was solidly good especially if like vanilla cake rolls as I do. 8/10

Overall, I really enjoyed this bakery a lot and if you like Asian style cakes then I highly recommend you try this place.  I look forward to trying the rest of their cakes and pastries.

5725 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 939-1688

Main Street Imperial Gourmet – There’s A lot More To Taiwanese Food Than Street Food

Taiwanese food is definitely one of my favorite Chinese cuisines.  It’s a delicious mix of southern Fujian food blended with regional cuisines from all over China that came about because the large influx of mainland Chinese immigrants to Taiwan during the Communist Revolution.  However, I feel like people often tend to only associate Taiwanese food with street food and maybe beef noodle soup.  While these are certainly great and delicious there is much more to Taiwanese food than these two types of food.  Main Street Imperial is a Taiwanese restaurant whose strong points are not street food, but rather more home style type dishes.

The restaurant is not located in Downtown Flushing, but rather further down Main close to the LIE, in the 2nd area in Flushing that has many Chinese restaurants.  It’s small and homey with some décor in that it has colorful pieces of paper that have various dishes written in Chinese on them.  The servers are really nice and are pretty helpful although I’m not sure they really speak English very well.  The other issue you’ll run into is that about half the menu is not translated into English and some dishes are listed only on the wall in Chinese.  I’ve provided the characters of the dishes I ordered since some of them are not translated to English, so I’d suggest printing them out if you don’t read any Chinese.

Here’s what we got:

Sauteed Cabbage (Chao Gao Li Cai 炒高麗菜):

This is one of the house specialties.  It’s a simple dish of cabbage sautéed with oil and garlic.  While simple they do a nice job on this dish and it’s quite tasty.  The cabbage retains some crispness and the oil and garlic compliment it well.  It also has some wok hay (the smoky flavor you get from effectively smoking food by cooking it at a very high heat in a wok).  Overall, this is a solid dish.  8/10

Oyster Omelette (Hao Zai Jian / Oh Ah Jian 蚵仔煎):

I almost never order this outside Taiwan because it’s so easy to screw up, but a friend wanted it and surprisingly it was much better than the 1st time I came here (so can’t tell you it wasn’t a fluke). The omelette was crispy and not overly gooey.  The sauce was sweet, but not overpoweringly so and the oysters were decent tasting.  Overall, I actually enjoyed eating this which is rare in the US.  7.5/10

Clams in Basil Sauce:

I didn’t order this dish, so I’m not actually sure what the exact Chinese name of it was on the menu. This was clams cooked in a slightly spicy light brown sauce with basil.  This is a pretty common Taiwanese sauce.  I thought the sauce was nice being slightly spicy, sweet and salty and I love basil so that was great as well.  The clams were decent quality, but not amazing. 7.5/10 (could’ve been higher rating if they used better clams)

Three Cup Tofu (San Bei Tofu 三杯豆腐):

“Three cup” is a famous style of preparation that involves one cup of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil hence the name “three cup”.  There is also sugar, ginger and basil in it as well.  While three cup chicken is the most common it can also be cooked with other meats or tofu.  This was fried cubes of tofu in the three cup sauce.  The outside was perfectly crispy while the interior remained soft, which was great texture wise.  The sauce was both sweet and salty as it should be with the basil being a nice compliment.  Overall, this was one of the best dishes I’ve had here.  8.25/10

Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji 三杯雞):

Oddly unlike the three cup tofu, this dish ended up being not sweet whatsoever and was a little overly oily.  The chicken was very nicely tender, which was the best part about the dish.  It was an alright rendition, but a little too oily and plain flavor wise.  Gu Xiang’s version is much better than this and flavor wise Liang’s Kitchens’ version was better, but Main Street did a better job than Liang’s actually cooking the chicken (i.e. it was very tender here).  7.5/10 (could be a higher rating if they improved the sauce)

Sesame Oil Kidney (Ma You Yao Zi 麻油腰子):

This is one of the house specialties that I read about on a Chinese blog.  Its slices of kidney sautéed in sesame oil based sauce.  The kidneys are cooked very well so they are perfectly tender and they did a good job so the metallic flavor you can get in kidneys is only slightly present.  The sauce has a slight flavor from the sesame oil and has some soy sauce flavor as well and because they seared the kidneys at a high heat in the wok you get a bit of the smoke-y slightly burnt taste which is nice.  If you like kidneys this is a very good rendition of kidneys. 7.75/10 (I like kidneys, but don’t love them otherwise it’d get a higher rating)

Salt and Pepper Shrimp (Jiao Yen Xia 椒盐虾):

This was on the wall and I saw a couple of tables order it, so I decided to try it.  This is just typical salt and pepper shrimp, but they did a nice job on it.  The batter wasn’t too heavy or oily and had good salty flavor.  The shrimps were fresh and good sized.  I don’t have too much more to add to this other that it was good and worth trying, probably one of the better versions I’ve had in NY. 8/10

Putz Fish (Bu Zi Yu 布子魚):

Putz is actually something I’ve never had and I’m not even sure I’d even heard of it until ScoopG on chowhound mentioned it.  So I made it a point to try it this trip (you can read more about it here).  I tried ordering the whole fish on two occasions, but both times on of the waitresses told me that the pieces were better quality and flavor so I should order those instead of the whole fish.  The fish pieces were nicely cooked and tender.  The sauce was a nicely light soy sauce based sauce that wasn’t overpowering.  The thing that I ended up liking the best about this dish was the putz; it reminded me of a sweet olive.  Overall, while not mind blowing this is a solid dish and I’d recommend giving it a try for something different. 7.75/10

Red Cooked Ribs (Hong Shao Pai Gu 紅燒排骨):

I was trying to order another dish, but the waitress told me that that dish was too similar to the Hakka stir fry (which I forgot to take a picture of), so she recommended this dish.  These were ribs cooked in a style called “hong shao” which you braise meat in a sauce made up of ginger, garlic, chilli, sugar, soy sauce and rice wine.  The sauce here was pretty thick, thicker than normal.  The ribs were cooked decently although I’d have preferred them to be a little more tender.  The sauce was just ok, I found it to be kind of bland.  I probably wouldn’t order this again. 6.75/10

Can’t Taste Stinky Tofu (Chi Bu Dao Chou Dou Fu 吃不到臭豆腐 ):

This is another one of the house specialties. It literally translates to “can’t taste stinky tofu”, which I think it’s called because the way the chef cooks it he cooks out most of the stink, so it’s only faint.  The stinky tofu is fried in a slightly spicy and salty red meat sauce with cabbage.  It’s a bit hard to explain, but definitely order this dish it’s very good. 8.25/10

Fly Head (Cang Ying Tou 蒼蠅頭):

This is my favorite dish here.  It translates to “fly head” (I have no idea why it’s called that) and its diced garlic chives, red chili, minced pork and fermented black beans all stir fried together.  This dish is the type of dish you really need a hot wok for because the wok hay adds a whole new level to this dish.  It’s spicy, salty, smoky and just delicious.  This is the dish to come here for. 8.5/10

Overall, this is probably the best overall Taiwanese restaurant in New York and it’s worth your time to check out.

5914 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 886-8788

Lake Pavilion – New Cantonese in Flushing Worth Trying and Surprisingly Good Peking Duck

Lake Pavilion is a huge new Cantonese restaurant located in Flushing, but not in downtown Flushing as it’s much closer to the Long Island Expressway in a small area that seems to turning into a 2nd area in Flushing with a lot of Chinese restaurants.  Note that you will need a car to get here or have to take a bus from downtown Flushing.  Another option would be to take a Chinese black car which will get you here for $24-25 from Manhattan.

The restaurant used to be called Palace Diner, which was an old school American diner type of place, but the exterior has changed from looking like a run-down diner to almost looking like some casino with super gaudy blue florescent lights lighting up the outside.  The restaurant is deceivingly big and has to be one of the biggest restaurants in Flushing.  It’s been completely renovated into a typical Chinese banquet type of place and everything is new, clean and bright.  We sat in the main room, but there are many private rooms and also a fairly sizeable second dining room as well.

The service was quite good; they were attentive and surprisingly nice.  I will caution that many of the servers spoke little to no English as several times someone from our table asked for something in English and got a blank stare.  However, if you don’t speak Chinese then the good thing is that the entire menu is translated into English with lots of pictures with the exception of a very small specials menu that was on the table, so any which way you should be fine.

Here’s what we got:

Winter Melon Soup:

This was a standard version of the soup, but it was good and perfect during a cold winter night.  The soup was nice and light and I thought the ingredients such as the crab, chicken, winter melon were all quite fresh.  Overall, this was a nice rendition. 7.75/10

Peking Duck:

This turned out to be the surprise of the night.  They brought a whole Peking duck to the table and carved it up in front of us, then made the buns for us and also brought us back a plate with a very large amount of extra duck meat.  This is Cantonese style Peking duck meaning it’s actually a roast duck and you eat it in mantou (steamed white buns) instead of pancakes.  The duck skin was nicely crispy and the meat was perfectly tender and really tasted great in the buns with hoisin sauce and spring onions.  The leftover duck meat was great as well; I kept eating it with rice and hoisin sauce.  This is definitely the best Peking duck I’ve had in New York.  8.5/10

Sizzling Black Pepper Steak:

We ordered this because I saw a lot of other tables ordering it.  I thought this was one of the duds of the night.  The steak while fine was a little drier than I like and I prefer a stronger flavored black pepper sauce although the sauce was fine overall.  6.75/10

Snow Pea Leaves with Crab Claw Meat Egg White Sauce:

They do a nice rendition of this dish here, the snow pea leaves were fresh and the sauce while standard was well executed.  8/10

Stir Fried String Beans:

This was another standout dish for me.  These string beans had good wok hay which is the smoky flavor you get from cooking at a wok at a high temperature, but only chefs who know what they’re doing can get this right.  The pork sauce was also really nice and not overly salty like a lot of places do it.  This was definitely a good dish. 8.25/10

Eggplant and Sparerib Casserole:

Along with the Peking Duck, this was the other star of the night.  It was a typical casserole consisting of eggplant and cut up spare rib swimming in brown sauce with some vegetables.  The brown sauce was excellent; it wasn’t gloppy or bland like a lot of places make it.  It had a great savory flavor and really tasted good with rice.  The eggplant and spare ribs were both perfectly cooked.  This was probably one of the best casseroles I’ve had in NY.  8.5/10

Steamed Flounder:

They have an extensive list of expensive sea fish, which I wanted to get, but one of my friends really likes flounder and wanted to get it as it was on most tables.  Flounder is not my favorite fish, I usually get it fried if I do, but we got it cooked traditional Cantonese style where it’s steamed first and then hot oil and soy sauce are poured over it.  They did a good job and the fish was very tender and the sauce was good.  It has a very slight fishy flavor which is why I dinged it a little bit, but overall this was good and I definitely want to come back and try some of their higher end fish.  7.75/10

Peking Pork Chops:

This was the other dud of the knight.  The sauce was fine, but they screwed up the batter as it came off the pork chops (it should be firmly stuck to them) and hence ended up being a little soggy.  6.75/10

Crab Sticky Rice:

The sticky rice here is different than the version at Imperial Palace / East Lake, which you can see here (  It was much more sticky and heavy being more similar to the sticky rice you get in a zong zi (Chinese tamale) or nuo mi ji / lo mai gai.  It was flavored very nicely as the crab gave it great flavor and the crab meat was actually delicious as it had retained a lot of its flavor.  The rice also contained a lot of crispy ham and peanuts as well.  However, the peanuts were the downfall as texturally they were too hard for the dish and the flavor of roast peanuts is too strong and overpowered the crab.  If they replaced the roasted peanuts with soft boiled peanuts I’d probably take make rating of this dish up to an 8.25/10. 7.75/10

Salt and Pepper Squid:

We almost didn’t get this dish because they forgot to write it down and the lady was like it’s too much food already, but then a friend came late, so we ended up getting it anyhow and I’m glad we did.  The squid was really tender maybe the most tender version I’ve had in NY and the salt and pepper batter was quite good although South China Garden’s batter was better, but the squid was so tender that I’d call it a wash as to who’s version is better.  I’m glad they make a good version because Imperial Palace’s version isn’t good and they are my go to Cantonese restaurant. 8/10

Red Bean Soup:

This was given as a free dessert at the end of the meal.  It was standard, but quite good. 7.75/10

Overall, I enjoyed my meal here and this is definitely one of the best Cantonese restaurants in New York right now.

60-19 Main St
New York, NY 11367
(718) 886-6693

Liang’s Kitchen – A Delicious Taiwanese Import from Los Angeles

When I heard that Liang’s Kitchen opened in Flushing, I almost immediately went there.  Liang’s Kitchen is originally from the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles, which is where most good Chinese food in LA is located.  However, over time they expanded and have several branches in LA, a branch in Irvine and a couple branches in Northern California.  I’ve eaten at the one in San Gabriel and the one in Irvine, which is fairly close to where my family lives.  It’s generally been good dependable Taiwanese food, so I was quite excited to hear they had opened a branch in Flushing as good Taiwanese food has become somewhat difficult to find here.

Liang’s Kitchen actually isn’t straight up Taiwanese food; it’s supposed to be a take on the food that came from the migration of mainland Chinese to Taiwan.  Many of these Chinese were military families who were part of the Kuomintang, some of whom intentionally moved to Taiwan in the 40s and some of whom fled to Taiwan in 1949 when the KMT lost against the Communists.  Taiwanese food traditionally is southern Fujian food, but you will also find a lot of northern Chinese, Sichuan and other Chinese regional dishes as well.  This is partially a function of the influence these military families had on Taiwan’s food culture.  Last time I was in Taiwan I watched a documentary about these communities that surrounded or were on military bases where Chinese from a given province would all live together and then cook their regional food as part of community gatherings; the one I watched was about group of 30-40 families from Hunan that had kept cooking traditional Hunan dishes even generations after the original immigrants came.

The restaurant is located in the basement of the Best Western Hotel.  It’s a brand new space; quite clean and reasonably nice.  The walls have blown up pictures of their food, old pictures of Taiwanese military families and pictures of the chef and Liang family.  This location isn’t on their website yet, but they have pictures of the CEO (Ivan Liang) and the new head chef, so I’m pretty sure that it’s an authentic location.  The servers were reasonably nice and they speak English, so you shouldn’t have a problem if you don’t speak Chinese.  However, certain appetizers and the entire main dish menu are only written in Chinese, so that will be sort of an issue.  I’m going to write the characters of dishes we ordered that were on the Chinese only menu so that you can order them.

Here’s what we got:

Stewed Tofu (Lu Dou Fu Gan Si):

Lu wei is a type of Chinese cooking common in southern China, where you braise meats or tofu in a master stock made up of soy sauce, spices and other ingredients.  This is actually smoked tofu that is stewed in a lu wei sauce.  The version here was just okay, I didn’t think the lu wei sauce they used was flavorful enough, so while it tasted alright it was nothing to write home about.  7/10

Seaweed (Liang Ban Hai Dai Si):

This is a cold dish of long thin strips of seaweed tossed in sesame oil and mashed garlic.  It tastes exactly how it sounds.  The version here was decent, but not great.  7/10

Stir Fried Corn and Shrimp (Yu Mi Xia Ren 玉米蝦仁):

This is a very Taiwanese home cooking type of dish.  It’s a simple dish with corn, shrimp and diced peppers stir fried with sesame oil and salt.  The corn and shrimp were both very fresh and they were also generous with the amount of shrimp they gave.  This version was quite good and I enjoyed it. 8/10

Beef Tendon Noodle Soup (Hong Shao Niu Jin Mian):

Hong shao is another type of braising that is common in Chinese cuisine and it’s very common for the beef to be stewed in this manner for beef noodle soup in Taiwan, which is actually the national dish of Taiwan.  This dish is pretty hard to get right as the beef and broth require a lot of skill and hard work to get right.  The beef tendon was surprisingly good; it was very tender and flavorful, definitely the best beef tendon I’ve had in NY beef noodle soup (although the rest have generally been pretty bad).  Unfortunately, the noodles were overcooked so they were kind of mushy although they tasted fine.  The broth was decent; I wouldn’t say it was great or anything, but it had decent beef flavor and the pickled vegetable tasted good.  Overall, it’s probably one of the better Taiwanese style beef noodle soups in NY although just decent on an absolute basis.  7.25/10 (8/10 for the beef tendon, 6.5/10 for the noodles and 7.25/10 for the broth)

Beef Pancake (Niu Rou Jia Bing):

This is a scallion pancake that is lathered with hoisin sauce then thinly sliced beef and cucumbers are layered on top and it’s wrapped into a burrito.  I love this dish and Liang’s Kitchen is known for it.  The scallion pancake was good; it was freshly fried and not oily although I do prefer it to be a little thinner.  The beef was pretty decent and tasted nice with the hoisin sauce.  Overall, the version here was pretty good.  8/10

Wontons in Hot Oil (Hong You Chao Shou):

This is an example of that military influence as this is a Sichuan dish that you can find at any Sichuan restaurant in NY.  The sauce was nice; it had good tasting hot oil and a slight sweetness to it.  However, it’s less spicy than any of the Sichuan places.  The wontons were good as well with very thin skins and nice filling.  The only problem was that if you leave the wontons in the sauce for too long they start to fall apart because the skins are so thin.  The wontons are definitely better than most of the Sichuan places and the sauce was quite good, but it depends on whether you want it to be as spicy as the Sichuan places or not.  8/10

Shacha Beef with Water Spinach (Sha Cha Niu Rou Kong Xin Cai 沙茶牛肉空心菜):

Sha cha is a sauce that is made of soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chillis, dried fish and dried shrimp.  The dish consists of sliced beef sautéed in a sha cha sauce put over boiled water spinach (kong xin cai). I thought it was pretty good although could’ve used a little more salt. 7.5/10

Five Flavor Steamed Pork (Wu Wei Bai Qie Rou 五味白切肉):

This is steamed thin slices of pork served with thinly julienned ginger and a sweet bean and garlic sauce.  This turned out to be the best dish and the surprise of the night.  The pork slices were very tender and they tasted really good with the ginger and bean sauce.  I definitely recommend ordering this. 8.5/10

Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji 三杯雞):

This is a very typical Taiwanese dish consisting of chicken on the bone cooked in a sauce made of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil (hence the three cups) and it also has sugar, basil and ginger in it.  The version here was a little different because it’s not sweet at all, but the sauce still tasted pretty good.  The problem was that there was not enough meat, it was mainly bones.  I have no issue with the meat being on the bone (some people don’t like that), but there was so little chicken that the dish ended up being very small even though it looks big. I think Gu Xiang’s version is better than this one.  7.5/10 (could’ve been higher if they gave more chicken meat)

Pork Chop Rice (Pai Gu Fan):

I got this to go for my girlfriend.  Taiwanese pork chop rice is a staple dish in Taiwan; it’s a pork chop that has been pounded thin and is fried in a sweet potato flour batter and five spice (wu xiang fen).  It’s usually served with condiments of lu rou (stewed ground pork sauce), suan cai (pickled mustard greens) and lu dan (stewed hard boiled eggs).  However, here they only gave a very small amount of lu rou, no suan cai and instead gave another pickled cabbage that had red chilis and Chinese sausage in it and also pickled daikon.  The pork chop was excellent maybe the best version I’ve had in NY or at least on par with 66 Lu’s next door which most people consider the best (although I think their quality has gone downhill a bit).  It was tender, crispy, wasn’t oily and had good five spice flavor.  The pickled vegetables and lu dan were good as well.  The only problem was they gave you no lu rou, which I love.  It also came with a nice light seaweed soup that was pretty good as well.  8.25/10

Overall, I enjoyed my meal here and this is definitively some of the best Taiwanese food in New York now.  I hope that the quality stays good as Chinese restaurants in NY have this tendency to start strong and then fade.


133-51 39th Ave

Flushing, NY 11354

(347) 506-0115

Imperial Palace / East Lake Seafood Restaurant – My Favorite Chinese Restaurant in New York

There are probably a couple things I need to clarify about the title of this post.

First, Imperial Palace actually has two branches.  Both of which have the same owners, Chinese name (Dong Hu meaning East Lake), logo, food and menu.  The only difference is that they are a few blocks apart and have different English names (East Lake vs Imperial Palace).  I believe Imperial Palace is the original location as it’s more well-known and also more crowded.

Second, when I say that it is “my favorite Chinese restaurant” it’s kind of like saying it’s “my favorite European restaurant” because China is a huge country with many different types of cuisines, people and dialects that are as unintelligible to each other as English and French.  However, at the end of day Imperial Palace / East Lake would be where I want to go if you said you can only choose one Chinese restaurant to go to. With that in mind, as I’ve said before, I’m admittedly biased towards southern Chinese cuisine (most areas Shanghai and south including Singapore / Malaysia and Taiwan) and in particular Cantonese cuisine is my favorite type of Chinese food.

So what is Cantonese cuisine?  Cantonese cuisine is from the Guangdong province on the southern coast of China and it’s where Hong Kong is located even though Hong Kong is technically a special administrative region.  Because Guangdong is located along the ocean and has a semi-tropical climate, it has a fair amount of everything you want to cook with such as fresh seafood, vegetables, produce and meat.  In America, Cantonese cuisine is probably most well known for dim sum, the BBQ meats you see hanging in the windows in Chinatown, wonton noodle soup and chow fun among other things. However, Cantonese cuisine has a huge breadth of types of dishes, more so than any other Chinese cuisine I’ve come across including huge amounts of seafood, meats, desserts, dumplings, noodle dishes, baked goods and too many others to name.  Also, the food is actually supposed to be light, fresh and should emphasize the freshness of the ingredients, which has sort of been lost in a lot of American Chinatowns where you will find the food to be somewhat heavy handed and greasy.  When done right I find Cantonese cuisine to rival any cuisine in terms of its complexity and flavors.

East Lake / Imperial Palace are known for their family style Cantonese food and in particular are known for their crab rice, but they have a host of other signature dishes that you will see on most people’s tables (most of which I’ll show you).  The service is usually pretty good and I find the waiters to be reasonably nice and should have no problems with communication.  I’d recommend coming here with at least 4-5 people preferably more like 6-10 because you’ll be able to order more dishes to share.

Here’s what we got:

Winter Melon Soup (Dong Gua Tang):

Winter Melons are a type of big non-sweet melon that is used fairly often in Chinese cuisine.  By itself it doesn’t taste like much, but it has a nice texture in soup.  The version here had chunks of winter melon, chicken, scallops and a green vegetable that looked like bitter melon, but wasn’t bitter at all.  The soup was excellent; it was light and flavorful without being too salty.  The ingredients were all quite good too with in particular the chicken was nicely tender.  Also, I recommend putting a dash of white pepper in it.  8/10

Fried Chicken with Sauce (Cui Pi Zha Ji):

This is a typical Cantonese preparation of chicken.  The chicken looks like it’s a rotisserie chicken, but it’s actually fried.  The skin is crispy and flavorful, while the meat is juicy and tender.  The sauce they give you tastes like a mild chili sauce that is not spicy and is very slightly tangy.  This is a signature dish that you will see on most tables and it is very good here.  8.5/10

Cumin Lamb Chop:

This is an odd dish to be a signature dish because lamb is one meat that is not that common in Cantonese cuisine.  It is lamb chops that have been dusted in cumin that are fried and served topped with sautéed red and green onions and golden fried onions and coconut.  The meat is very nicely tender and unlike the Sichuan and northern Chinese versions of this dish the cumin flavor is not very strong.  The saltiness of the seasoning, the slight cumin flavor and the flavor of toppings particularly the red onions come together really nicely in this dish.  8.5/10

Snow Pea Leaves in Crab Claw Meat Egg White Sauce (Xie Rou Pa Dou Miao):

This is sautéed snow pea leaves that are covered in a sauce made of egg whites and crab claw meat.  Snow peas leaves are similar to spinach, but better and the sauce is a lighter sauce that allows you to taste the snow pea leaves more than anything else.  I don’t believe this dish is on the menu, but you can order it easily and you will see it on quite a few tables. 8/10

Fried Stuffed Tofu in Dried Scallop Sauce:

The dish is tofu stuffed with shrimp, battered and fried then covered in a light brown sauce that has dried scallops in it.  The tofu was perfectly fried where it was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside without being greasy at all.  The sauce was savory and flavorful without being gloppy or overly salty; it was the type of subtle flavoring that is classic Cantonese done right.  This was an excellent dish.  Fyi, I think the English name might be a little different than what I wrote, but it’s close to this.  8.5/10

Garlic Fried Lobster (Bi Feng Tang Chao Xie):

Bi feng tang is a type of typhoon shelter and refers to a specific type of Hong Kong style dishes that you can read about here in my post on Canton Gourmet.  This was chopped up lobster that is fried in a garlic batter topped with fried garlic, onions and chili.  Surprisingly, I’d say their version may have been better than the last time I had it at Canton Gourmet (it’s their signature dish) as it was lighter and less greasy.  The batter was nicely flavorful and the meat was tender and sweet.  Overall, this was quite good. 8.25/10

Peking Pork Chops (Jing Du Pai Gu):

These are basically sweet and sour fried pork chops.  The pork chops were slightly crispy and nicely tender.  The sauce was good, it was sweet and wasn’t too gloppy although it was pretty watery in texture and I think I prefer my sauce with a little more starch, but it was a good rendition of the dish nonetheless. 8.25/10

Crab Rice (Pang Xie Nuo Mi):

This is the dish that most people come here for.  It is sticky rice that has been steamed in a big steamer with a whole crab that has been cut up.  The juices of the crab run into the rice and flavor the rice.  It is then topped diced scallions and golden fried garlic and onions.  Because the rice is steamed it has a wonderful al dente texture that I love and it nicely savory from the juices of the crab.  The condiments pair perfectly with the subtle flavor of the rice and give it some necessary saltiness.  Some people mistake this dish to be about being about the crab, but to me it’s all about the rice.  The crab hasn’t been seasoned much and has somewhat been drained of its flavor by having all of the juices run into the rice, so it’s all about the rice for me.  This is a great dish.  8.5/10

Cantonese Style Steamed Fish (Qing Zheng Yu):

The typical Cantonese preparation of fish is to get very fresh fish, steam it and then pour hot oil and soy sauce over it with julienned spring onions.  When done correctly, it is probably my favorite preparation of cooked fish because it allows you to taste the quality of the fish, but at the same time give it a slight kick up in terms of flavor.  I saw this fish going to another table and it looked very good, so I asked our waiter about it.  He told me that it was a more expensive ocean fish that costs $25 per lbs and said it was much better than the regular cheaper fish.  We got a 2 pound lbs fish and he was right; the meat was very fresh tasting without any fishy or muddy flavor and the flesh was tender, but still has some texture to it (i.e. it wasn’t mushy).  I unfortunately forgot what the name of the fish was, but if you ask them and tell them you want a good fish I’m sure they can direct you to it. This was the surprise of the night as I have been trying to find a decent rendition of this dish for years to no avail and this was very good. 8.5/10

 Red Bean Soup (Tang Shui):

They gave us a complimentary tang shui (literally means sugar water) that was red bean soup.  This was a good version, the soup was flavorful and had some thickness to it (I don’t like it when it’s too watery).  They also put tapioca in it and definitely used some orange rinds as you could taste a slight citrus flavor.  Overall, it was pretty good. 7.75/10

Overall, this is a great restaurant and definitely worth checking out.  Also, for everyone mourning the loss of South China Garden, Imperial Palace / East Lake is a replacement for you as I think the food is a bit better than SCG.


East Lake Seafood:
37-17 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 358-0888

Imperial Palace:
13613 37th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 939-3501

Beautiful Memory Dessert (Formerly Called Manji Dessert) – Hong Kong Style Desserts in Flushing’s New World Mall Food Court

Beautiful Memory Dessert, formerly known as Manji Dessert, is a rip-off of a very famous dessert shop in Hong Kong called Honeymoon Dessert (man ji tian pin / 满记甜品).  Honeymoon Dessert started off as a dessert shop in Sai Kung and eventually expanded to having branches all over HK and other parts of Asia.  I’ve actually been to the original many years ago before they got really big and it was one of the best dessert shops that I’ve tried in Hong Kong.  I’ve also eaten at some of their other branches in Hong Kong more recently, which are good as well.  You can see the original branch here.

Manji Dessert opened in the New World Mall with the exact same logo and Chinese name as Honeymoon, but with a different English name (Manji is simply the transliteration of the Chinese name).  The actual Honeymoon quickly put out a statement saying that this was not a real branch of Honeymoon, which you can see here.

So with all that drama put forth, on to the actual review.  The types of desserts that this place serves are Hong Kong style desserts.  They are mainly things like mango and durian pancakes and various different types of sweet soups that usually have fruits and sago in them.  They are generally fairly light and not overly sweet.  I really love these types of dessert, but it’s very hard to find a good version outside of Hong Kong.

This stall is a little different than most of the stalls at the New World Mall as you can actually sit inside the stall.  While it’s small, it’s definitely nicer than sitting in the regular seating because it’s much less hectic and loud.  The servers are nice, but they seem to get overwhelmed a lot of times between taking orders from customers getting desserts to go and customers inside the store.

Here’s what we got:

Durian Pancake:

In Hong Kong, this is my favorite thing to get at Honeymoon.  It’s a thin slightly spongy crepe-like pancake that is filled with a very light and fluffy crème that is sweet, but not too sweet and mashed up durian.  There is also a mango version, which I love as well, but they never seem to have it here.  While not as good as the real deal, the version here was enjoyable (assuming you like durian).  The pancake was not as thin and delicate as the one in HK, but it was decent.  The crème was pretty good although again not as light and fluffy as the one in HK.  The durian was surprisingly tasty especially considering that durians have to be frozen and sent to the US (they aren’t as stinky and tasty afterwards).  Overall, I enjoyed it and thought it was passable version and it’s nice to find it since it is almost impossible to find in the U.S.  7.75/10

Mango Glutinous Dumpling:

This was glutinous rice balls covered in coconut shavings with a small piece of fresh mango inside.  It tastes similar to how it sounds.  The texture of the glutinous rice was soft and a bit chewy, the coconut shavings were decent (I think they’re more for texture) and the piece of mango in the middle was nicely ripe and sweet.  That said while I like rice dough desserts, I’m not that big a fan of glutinous rice dough desserts (there’s a difference), so this was just decent for me. 7/10

Mango Pomelo Soup:

This is a sweet and slightly creamy mango soup that has pomelo (very similar to a grapefruit), chopped up mango and sago (tapioca balls that are made from sago palm pith).  In Hong Kong, this is one of my favorite dishes, but unfortunately it fell a bit flat here.  The mango, sago and pomelo were all fine; the mango was sweet and ripe, the sago wasn’t mushy and the pomelo had a decent grapefruit flavor.  However, the actual soup was pretty bland, it should be a flavorful and refreshing soup and instead it was a bit dull, so this was a bit of a disappointment. 6.75/10

Black Sesame Rice Balls in Walnut Soup:

Tang yuan are rice dough balls filled with sweet fillings usually ground up black sesame or crushed peanuts.  It is one of my favorite Chinese desserts.  It’s often served in either a sweet soup or hot water.  We got it in a walnut soup, but I’m not a huge fan of walnut soups generally as they are pretty thick and somewhat pasty, I find they overpower whatever is in them.  The version here was just okay.  However, the tang yuan were quite good, the rice dough was melt in your mouth soft and the black sesame filling was nice and not too sweet.  I would get this again, but switch out the walnut soup for something else. 7.5/10 (7/10 for the walnut soup, 8.25/10 for the tang yuan)

Thai Black Glutinous Rice with Mango in Vanilla Ice:

This was balls of black glutinous rice, sliced mango on a bed of vanilla ice.  The black glutinous rice balls are sticky and nicely al dente.  The mango was nicely ripe and sweet.  The vanilla ice had a similar flavor to vanilla ice cream, but it was small chunks of ice.  I enjoyed the combo of flavors and I liked the texture of the black glutinous rice balls, but I wish the ice was more powdery or if you switched it for coconut milk that would be even better.  That said, I enjoyed eating it and I would get it again. 7.75/10 (would be higher rating if the ice was better)

While it’s not as good as the real deal in Hong Kong and it’s been getting panned on Yelp due to the fact that it’s a rip off, some of the desserts are worth trying.  I’ve been stopping here a lot after my meals in Flushing for dessert and I think it’s worth checking out.

40-21 Main St (Between Main Street and Union)
Flushing, NY 11354

M&T Restaurant – Interesting Qingdao Cuisine in Flushing


M&T is a restaurant in Flushing that specializes in Qingdao cuisine.  The restaurant that has been fairly extensively covered by most of the major food websites such as Chowhound, Yelp and Serious Eats.  After reading lots of glowing reports, I finally made it out here to try it out.

Qingdao is a port city that is located in the Shandong province in China, which is located a little to the southeast of Beijing and Tianjin.  In America, it’s probably most well known for their beer brand Tsingtao. Qingdao cuisine is part of Shandong cuisine, but I believe it is fairly heavily weighted towards seafood given its location as a port city.  I don’t know that much about Shandong / Qingdao cuisine as it’s not something I grew up eating and it’s not very common in the Chinese areas of Asia that I normally travel to, which are further south.  So this was an interesting experience for me as it’s something I’m not too familiar with.

The restaurant is tiny, it can probably fit about 20-25 people in total.  It’s doesn’t have much in the way of décor, but it has a wall that is covered with pictures of their specials.  The lady who ran the place was pretty nice and the service was fine.  I’m not sure if they speak English, but the menu is completely translated into English and there are lots of pictures, so you shouldn’t have any problem just pointing.

Here’s what we got:

Spicy Potato Strips:

This was given to us as a complementary appetizer.  It was thinly sliced potato strips in a ma la sauce (ma = numbing sensation, la = spicy).  This was quite good, the flavors were clean and the potato strips had a good soft texture.  8/10


Peanuts and Dried Fish:

They have a display case where you can see various cold appetizers and I saw this dish and it looked good, so I ordered it.  It’s very simple roasted peanuts and tiny dried fish.  The peanuts tastes like typical salted peanuts and the tiny fish have a nice flavor that isn’t too fishy and tasted good with the salty peanuts.  It’s kind of beer drinking type food, but I enjoy this type of thing.  8/10


I asked the lady for a fish recommendation and she said that she liked the eel, so we ordered this. It was sliced eel with green peppers and onions in a slightly spicy and sweet sauce.  The sauce was excellent, it had good flavor and wasn’t gloppy or overly sweet.  The peppers and onions tasted great.  The eel was pretty good, but it was a bit hard to eat because of the way they cut it, you ended up having to try to eat around the bones and it also made some pieces a bit on the chewy side.  If they cut the eel a different way to allow people to easier eat the meat it’d be better, but it was a pretty decent dish overall. 8/10

Sautéed Snow Pea Leaves:

The lady also recommended this as a vegetable dish.  This is a fairly ubiquitous dish that many different regional Chinese cuisines serve.  It’s simply dou miao (snow pea leaves) sautéed with oil, salt and garlic.  The dou miao was cooked well, but they put too much salt in it.  7.25/10

Salt and Pepper Ginseng:

This was ginseng battered it in a salt and pepper batter similar to the typical Cantonese preparation that many people in the US have probably tried.  When I ordered it the lady almost tried to dissuade me from ordering it as she said it’s quite bitter, but I was very curious about it, so I ordered it anyhow.  Normally, you see ginseng used in some herbal soups and things like that, but I’d never seen it cooked in this manner.  The batter was quite oily and heavy although it had decent flavor.  The pieces of ginseng had the consistency of a root like lotus root and had a slightly bitter flavor, but not nearly as bitter as the lady made it out to be.  I thought it was okay, but the batter was way too oily and heavy.  7/10

Fried Pork Chop in Shrimp Sauce:

This was another dish I was quite curious about.  It was pork chops that are covered in a fermented shrimp sauce and then deep fried.  The pork chops were excellent; they were tender and not oily at all.  The batter had a good texture as it was nice and crispy without being overly oily.  The shrimp sauce was interesting.  It had a very fermented flavor and tasted similar to Korean tenjang (fermented bean sauce).  The flavor wasn’t off-putting, but I didn’t really love it either. However, I could tell this dish was well prepared because of the texture of the meat and the light-handed nature of the batter, but the flavoring just didn’t really match my palate.  Overall, I thought the dish was decent, but probably not something I’d get again.  7.5/10

Hot and Spicy Prawns:

The lady also recommended these, so we gave them a try.  These were whole prawns lightly battered and fried with chili salt and green peppers.  The prawns were nicely fresh and the meat had a good firm texture and was sweet.  The frying technique was good as well as they were crispy without being overly oily.  While they looked like they were going to have a lot of flavor, I actually found the seasoning to be too light handed.  They tasted like they barely had any salt on them and didn’t have much spice either.  It was a decent dish, but I don’t think I’d order it again.  7.5/10

Overall, while I thought it was good, I don’t think the flavors really matched my palate and it was more of a novelty for me than a “must try” destination, but that said I think it’s great that Flushing is getting more and more unique regional Chinese cuisines that were unavailable only a few years ago and I hope more places like M&T keep popping up.

44-09 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 539-4100

Sol Hyang Lee – Amazing Korean-Chinese BBQ Skewers at One of the Most Unique Restaurants in Flushing

Sol Hyang Lee is one of the many northeast Chinese restaurants that have been popping up in Flushing.  These restaurants are either run by Chinese who live near the border of Korea and can speak Korean or by ethnic Koreans who live in China and can speak both languages as well.  Sol Hyang Lee is run by the later.  Sol Hyang Lee’s specialty is BBQ skewers which you cook at yourself.  My friend’s family (who is Korean) eats here fairly regularly and she was the one who told me about this place.

The restaurant is a longer narrow restaurant that is lined with light wooden booths with white walls that also have exposed brick.  The restaurant looks much more like a Korean restaurant than a Chinese restaurant.  Each booth has a metal box in the middle of the table where they put the hot wood charcoal that you use to grill the skewers.

The customer mix was probably half Chinese and half Korean.  I’m not sure whether the staff speaks English or not, but the menu is fully translated into English, so pointing should be no problem in case they don’t speak English.  They do speak fluent Mandarin and Korean; it’s pretty cool to watch them go back and forth between languages depending on which customers they are speaking to.  They seemed to be pretty nice, but my friend spoke with them in Korean, so I had no idea what was being said.

Just like a normal Korean restaurant they served ban chan (small dishes) at the beginning of the meal, which were similar to normal Korean ban chan, but you could tell there were some differences in the way they spiced them.

Pickled Cabbage and Daikon Radish:

This was pickled cabbage and daikon radish in a very light slightly sweet and tangy soy sauce.  It was pretty good.  7.5/10

Bean Sprouts:

This was a typical Korean preparation of bean sprouts with green onions and sliced carrots in sesame oil.  The bean sprouts tasted fresh and the sesame oil was nice.  7.75/10


This was an interesting ban chan as I’ve never had it before.  It was sliced liver with celery in a slightly spicy and salty sauce.  The liver was cooked nicely and was not metallic tasting or weird tasting at all as badly prepared liver can be.  In fact it wasn’t liver-y tasting whatsoever.  I thought it was pretty decent.  7.25/10

Sweet Pickled Radish Strips:

This was another typical Korean preparation of sliced pickled radish strips in a sweet chili sauce.  Although typical in flavoring it was done well.  7.75/10

Cucumber Kimchi:

This was just a normal cucumber kimchi, however I don’t think they normally give it as a ban chan I believe it needs to ordered separately.  They gave it to us gratis because the girl had forgotten our beer and apologized and then brought this out to us to make up for it.  As it turned out it was excellent.  The cucumbers were crispy and not mushy, the seasoning was nicely spicy and sweet, but not too sweet.  8/10

Here’s a picture of the metal BBQ in the middle of the table:

Cumin Spice:

They give you a bowl of slightly spicy cumin powder to dip your skewers in.  It’s really delicious and I was basically dousing all my skewers in it. 8.5/10

Here’s a picture of the skewers when they are brought to the table raw:

Here’s a picture of skewers on the BBQ:

Beef Skewer:

The beef was delicious, it was tender and had a good clean flavor and was kicked up a notch with the cumin spice. 8/10

Lamb Chunk Skewer:

My friend recommended this one and I’m glad she did.  This was definitely my favorite skewer.  It was slightly fatty chunks of lamb that were already marinated in a slightly sweet soy sauce.  The meat was very tender and was melt in your mouth good.  The flavoring of the sauce was really good, so you didn’t need any cumin or other seasonings.  It wasn’t gamey at all and even my girlfriend who doesn’t like lamb thought it was delicious.  8.5/10

Pork Heart:

This was slices of pork heart.  Heart is a muscle with basically no fat, so it has a firm texture, but it’s also a pretty clean tasting meat.  The version here was good, a little chewy and salty and great with cumin.  7.75/10

Chicken Gizzard:

Chicken gizzard is very Korean; it is pretty common in Korea probably more so than any other place I’ve ever been to, so it was no surprise that it was on the menu.  It’s similar to heart in texture and taste.  The version here was quite good.  7.75/10


This was just squid with a little chili oil on it. I wasn’t sure if BBQ’ing squid would make it too chewy, but as it turned the squid was actually quite tender.  I was pleasantly surprised by this. 8/10

Sauteed Shredded Pork in Sweet Bean Sauce (Jing Jiang Rou Si 京酱肉丝):

This is a typical northern Chinese dish consisting of shredded pork in a slightly sweet bean sauce that is served with shredded leek, sliced cucumber, cilantro and tofu wrappers.  You then take the meat put it in the wrapper with the condiments and eat it as a wrap.  I have a feeling that this dish might be the basis for the “moo shu pork” you see at Americanized Chinese take-out places.  I thought it was pretty good, the pork was tender and the sauce was reasonably good although I would’ve liked it slightly sweeter as it the sauce was fairly mild tasting.  I liked the condiments a lot in particular the shredded leek.  The tofu wrapper was decent, but a little plain.  Personally, I’d prefer it in a mantou bun (steamed white bun), but overall it was a pretty decent dish.  7.5/10

Quail with Chili:

The waitress recommended this.  It was quail in a sweet and spicy soy sauce with chilis.  The meat was tender and the sauce was very delicious.  It’s kind of like eating buffalo wings.  Also, it tasted best when it was hot; it wasn’t as good once it got colder, so I’d recommend eating it when it first comes out. 8/10

Neung Myun:

We ordered this at the end of the meal because we wanted something cool and light to finish the meal.  It looked quite a bit different than the regular Korean neung myun.  It also tasted different to as it was sweeter, spicier and more tangy than the typical preparation.  The noodles were decent, but not great.  My girlfriend didn’t like it that much as she thought it was too sweet, but the rest of us thought it was decent although I’ve definitely had better bowls of neung myun.  6.75/10

Overall, this was one of the more exciting restaurants I’ve found in Flushing.  Not only was it quite unique, but the food was very good.  I highly recommend trying it out.

Also, my friend said that the place next door which is also is a Korean Chinese place has better dishes, but the BBQ skewers is why you come here as the restaurant next door isn’t a skewer restaurant.  I’m looking forward to trying the place next door soon.

13673 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(347) 732-0350

Xie Family Foods – Delicious Cold Dishes from Tianjin at the Golden Mall

Xia Family Foods is a stall located in the Golden Mall in Flushing, which specializes in cuisine from Tianjian and seems to offer two types of food: xiao chi (small snacks) and dumplings / buns.

Tianjin is a northern port city in China that is located a little southeast of Bejing.  I’m far from an expert in their cuisine and a lot of it is as foreign to me as it is to someone who has never eaten Chinese food as this was not what I grew up eating.  I know a few of their famous dishes, but I really don’t know too much about their food so I was quite interested to try it.

We came here after as a last stop on a mini food crawl through Flushing.  The stall was actually featured on Anthony Bourdain’s episode about the outer boroughs.  I believe he had some head cheese when he came.  The stall has several cold dishes laid out which you can choose from and also has dumplings and various buns you can order to be made fresh.  We were too full to try any of the dumplings or buns, but we did try several of the cold dishes.

Here’s what we got:

Smoked Tofu in Chili Oil (Dou Gan):

Dou gan is a type of smoked tofu that has a much more firm texture than normal tofu; it almost reminds me of a cheese in terms of texture.  It had a nice smoky flavor and it was covered in spicy chili oil.  It’s a fairly typical Chinese preparation, but it was done very nicely here and the flavors went very well together, I thought this was excellent. 8.25/10

Pickled Potato Strips:

This is thinly julienned pieces of potato that are pickled in a vinegar sauce.  This is not uncommon in Chinese cooking, but it’s not my favorite dish; I mainly ordered it for someone else.  It tastes just like it sounds and while the version here was prepared well, it’s just generally not a dish I’m in love with.  7/10

Spicy Pig Ear (Er Duo):

Pig ears sound really weird to most people, but they are delicious.  They have a firm texture and a very mild flavor and basically taste like whatever sauce you put them in.  Here they are prepared in spicy chili oil with little pieces of cilantro that go really well with the pig ears.  These were great and were the best version that I’ve had in NY besides Nan Xiang which is on par although prepared slightly differently.  8.25/10

Wood Ear Mushroom (Mu Er):

I like wood ear mushrooms a lot, they almost taste more like seaweed than a mushroom and they look a lot more like seaweed than a mushroom.  The version here was prepared in a tangy vinegary sauce.  This was the one preparation I wasn’t so keen on; the sauce was just too tangy and overpowered the mushrooms.  6.75/10

Beef Tendon (Niu Jin):

This was beef tendon that I believe was preserved in a mixture of soy sauce, five spice and star anise.  You could really taste the flavors of all of them.  Because it was served room temperature it had a somewhat waxy texture, but not in a bad way.  I thought this was pretty tasty and sort of reminds me of a beef jerky.  7.75/10

Overall, I liked the food here and if you’re going to the Golden Mall I’d definitely recommend coming and trying some of the interesting and delicious cold dishes at Xie Family Foods.

41-28 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355

Soy Bean Chan – Awesome Salty Silky Tofu (Xian Dou Fu)

Soy Bean Chan is a place I love, I basically always stop here when I’m in Flushing.  It specializes in soy bean products such as soy milk (dou jiang) and silky tofu (dou hua).  They have a few other offerings, but the main reason to come here is for their soy bean products.

The “store” is a stand that is set up on the side of a flower shop.  The story goes that a long time ago it was just a stand, but it was so popular and did so well that eventually the owners made enough money to open the flower shop.  However, they kept the stand as their customers loved their products.  I am certainly glad they kept the stand open.

On my latest trip though, I came for one reason which was because I really wanted to report on their xian dou hua (salty silky tofu), I’ve had it a couple of times before, but it had been a long time since I’d had it and I thought it was something people should know about as it’s difficult to find anywhere in the US.

Xian Dou Hua (Salty Silky Tofu):

Tofu comes in various grades based on its consistency ranging anywhere from silky to very firm.  This tofu is silky meaning it’s very delicate and soft to the point where if you simply press on it with a spoon it falls apart.  The quality of the tofu at Soy Bean Chan is excellent, it has great consistency and the flavor is very clean tasting.  It is prepared here by putting it in a small plastic container and then topping it with a mixture of soy sauce, pickled vegetables, chilis and scallions.  The saltiness of the soy sauce, the slight spice of the chilis and the crunch and slightly sour flavor of the pickled vegetables goes so well with the tofu.  I really liked this and I would highly recommend trying this.  8.75/10

Tian Dou Jiang (Sweet Soy Bean Milk):

This is their regular sweet soy bean milk.  We got it cold because it was hot out although I do like it better hot as you can taste the soy bean flavor better when it’s hot.  The soy bean milk was good as always, very clean tasting, not chalky at all and you can actually taste the flavor of the soy beans; far superior to most of the soy bean milk you get in NY.  Make sure to specify whether you want a) it hot or cold and b) sweet (they won’t make it sweet unless you specify it).  Also, make sure to mix up the soy bean milk once they put the sweet syrup in otherwise you’ll end up with part that is very sweet and part that is completely not sweet.  8.25/10

I love specialist who make a few things really good and stick to that.  I always complain that the US Chinese restaurants don’t have enough of these specialists like they do in Asia, so it makes me happy to have a place like Soy Bean Chan that does things just right.  I highly recommend stopping in.

13526 Roosevelt Ave (bet Prince and Main Street)
Flushing, NY 11354

White Bear – My Favorite Dumplings in NY

White Bear is a no frills dumpling restaurant in Flushing.  There isn’t a whole lot to say about the place other than they’ve got some very good dumplings.

They advertise about having Shan Dong style dumplings; Shan Dong is a province in China and one of the things they are known for is having good dumplings.

The place is basically a tiny rundown white room with about 4 tables and you can maybe fit 8 people in it.  Most of their business is take out or people eating quickly.  I generally get mine to go and eat at the park down the block.

There is a husband and wife team running the place.  I don’t know if they speak English, but everything is written in English, so you’ll be fine by pointing.  The woman can be a little surly sometimes, but is generally fine.

On to the food:

Wontons in Hot Oil:

This is the reason I come here.  These are boiled wontons filled with pork and minced cabbage.  They are topped with spicy red chili oil that I believe is homemade, pickled vegetables and diced scallions.  Since they are boiled they won’t be as oily as most dumplings you get at $1 dumpling type places.  The skins are reasonably delicate and the filling is always very good, perfectly minced with no odd pieces in it.  The toppings are what really make these great; the combo of chili oil and the salty and sour flavor of the pickled vegetables go really well with the dumplings.  These are comparable to the type of thing you can get in Asia.  I highly recommend trying these.  8.5/10

Frozen Dumplings:

When I’m in Flushing I almost always big up a bag of 25 or 50 frozen dumplings at White Bear.  They cook up great either fried or boiled.  I usually eat them with soy sauce mixed with spicy sesame oil.  These are a great snack at home.  8/10

I highly recommend trying this place out if you happen to be in Flushing and have some room in your stomach.  I really think they turn out one of the better quality products in Flushing.

135-02 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 961-2322

Canton Gourmet – One of the Better Cantonese Restaurants in Flushing

Canton Gourmet is a Cantonese restaurant in Flushing that is famous for its garlic crab, garlic chicken and golden fried rice.

The Chinese name of Canton Gourmet is bi feng tang (避風塘 / bei fung tong), which are typhoon shelters for fisherman’s boats in Hong Kong and there is a famous Hong Kong crab dish called bi feng tang chao xie (避風塘炒蟹) that was supposedly invented by fishermen in the typhoon shelters.  As you would figure this crab dish is one of Canton Gourmet’s specialties.  In any area with a lot of Hong Kong people you can usually find a restaurant that specializes in this dish and as far as I know this is the only restaurant serving this in NY. I’ve actually written about one other restaurant, Seafood Village in LA, that serves the same specialty dishes as Canton Gourmet (garlic crab and golden fried rice) although Seafood Village is a notch above Canton Gourmet food quality wise.

The restaurant is located on Prince next to Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao.  Oddly, the layout and décor of both restaurants are virtually the same.  The restaurant is pretty new looking and quite clean.  I’ve found the service to be quite good and they also speak very good English.

On to the food:

String Beans with Pickled Vegetable (Chao Si Ji Dou):

This is string beans that are stir fried with a mix of ground pork and salty preserved vegetables.  The version here is pretty good; the mix of pork and preserved vegetables go quite nicely with the string beans.  If they had a little more of the “wok flavor” this would be a great version of it, but overall it’s still quite good. 7.75/10

Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens (Mei Cai Kou Rou):

This is pork belly that is braised using a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, star anise, garlic, sugar and preserved mustard greens.   I don’t see this in restaurants that often and I kind of think of it more of a home style dish. The version here was decent, but not great.  The pork belly should be really tender and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t as melt in your mouth tender as it should be.  The sauce was good although I prefer the sauce to be slightly sweet and this wasn’t sweet at all.  Also, I screwed up because it tastes a lot better with white rice and I got the fried rice. 7/10

Beef with Oyster Sauce (Hao You Niu Rou):

This is a pretty simple dish of sliced beef sautéed with asparagus and snap peas in a light oyster sauce.  The beef was cooked nicely and was quite tender and the sauce compliments it well.  I liked this dish because I grew up eating stuff like this, but I think some people might find it a little light on flavor as it’s not salty at all and the oyster sauce is a subtle flavor. 7.5/10

Sauteed Pea Shoots (Qing Chao Dou Miao):

This was a typical preparation of sautéed pea shoots in some oil and garlic.  It was cooked nicely and tasted good. 7.75/10

Golden Fried Rice:

This is one of the house specialties.  It’s fried rice with salted fish, egg and scallions.  It’s pretty simple, but the combination of flavors works very nicely together.  The only knock on it is that it’s not as fluffy as it should be, but it is still quite tasty overall.  I’d also recommend getting some chili sauce with it as I think that kicks it up a notch.  8/10

Garlic Crab (Bi Feng Tang Chao Xie):

This is the crab I referred to earlier and is another house specialty.  The crab is fried in a salty batter and topped with a bed of fried garlic and scallions. The flavors are delicious and go very well with crab.  The crab meat is very soft after being fried and it also makes the shells easier to break through.  I really like the fried garlic and scallions and I like to take some and mix it in with my fried rice.  The only thing about the crab is that sometimes I’ve found it to be a little on the oily side, but it’s sort of been luck of the draw on whether it’s too oily or not.  8/10

Overall, I like Canton Gourmet and it’s one of the better Cantonese restaurants in NY.  I find most of their food to be good and their specialty dishes are definitely worth trying out.

3808 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 886-9288

Gu Xiang – Still Serving Good Home Style Taiwanese Food

Gu Xiang is one of my favorite Taiwanese restaurants in Flushing, I’ve written about them twice on chowhound, which you can see here and here.  However, I wanted to do a more full review with pictures as I think they’re worth talking about.

When most people think about Taiwanese food they usually think about street food and while street food is certainly a part of the cuisine, there is a large part of the cuisine that is just as good and maybe better inside the owner’s home.  In fact the best meal I’ve ever had in Taiwan was in a tiny restaurant that was located in their home.  Gu Xiang gives you a small glimpse into that type of Taiwanese cuisine as the food tastes more home style.  You come here for the regular dishes not their street dishes.

The restaurant is pretty small.  The front part sells bian dang food (lunch box) to go and another part of the restaurant sectioned off to the left that sells bao zi (steamed buns) and also has some extra seating.

The service is brisk, but the people are pretty nice.  I’m not really sure how well they speak English, but menu is written in English, so you can always point.  Also, they also have a ridiculously good deal where you get 1 soup + 2 dishes for $15, it’s a ton of food and can easily feed 3 people.

Here’s what we got:

Clam Soup (Ge Li Tang):

This is a light clam soup flavored with ginger, white pepper and scallions.  It’s very simple with the flavors of the ingredients all standing for themselves.  I like this soup as it’s refreshing and is very much the type of thing you could eat at home all the time. 7.75/10

Sliced Lung By The Married Couple (Fu Qi Fei Pian):

This Sichuan dish sounds really weird in English, but it’s delicious.  It’s a cold dish consisting of sliced beef, tripe, tendon and other offal parts in a ma la sauce (spicy and numbing).  The actual pieces of meat were pretty decent, but the sauce was too weak.  It didn’t have enough numbing (ma) or spiciness (la).  You can get better versions at any of the decent Sichuan restaurants in NY. 6.75/10

Oyster Omelette (O Ah Jian):

Although I don’t generally order street dishes at Gu Xiang, a friend wanted this so we ordered it.  O ah jian is a dish that is pretty hit or miss even in Taiwan.  The version here was better than other versions I’ve had in NY as it wasn’t too gooey and was a bit crispy, the oysters tasted fine and the sauce was pretty decent.  Although that’s not saying much as the version I’ve had at other places is just bad.  End of the day the version it doesn’t hold a candle to a good version in Taiwan, but this is better than other versions you find in NY, which are generally pretty bad.  6.5/10

Sauteed Water Spinach (Kong Xin Cai):

Kong xin cai is a great vegetable that is like a better version of regular spinach. We asked for it prepared sautéed with oil, garlic and salt. The vegetable tasted fresh and was not overcooked, this was an excellent version. 8/10

Beef with Spicy Green Peppers (La Jiao Niu Rou):

This is my favorite dish here, the dish is sliced beef stir fried with spicy green peppers.  It has this great flavor you get from cooking it correctly in a wok, I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s great.  The beef is tender and the spicy green peppers give it such a good flavor.  This is the exact type of thing you eat at home and they really prepare this dish exceptionally. 8.5/10

Spicy Squid:

This was slices of squid, onions, basil, carrots, mushrooms and red peppers stir fried in a light brown sauce that was slightly sweet and spicy topped with minced cilantro. This almost tasted Thai, but not as spicy as a Thai dish would be.  This dish was pretty self explanatory, but I thought everything went well together and the whole table liked this dish. 7.75/10

Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji):

This is a very typical Taiwanese dish consisting of chicken on the bone cooked in a sauce made of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil (hence the three cups).  It also has sugar, basil and ginger in it.  This was the first time I’ve ordered it at Gu Xiang, but I’m sorry I didn’t before.  This is hands down the best version I’ve had in NY.  This is pretty similar to what you get in Asia.  The chicken is tender and the sweet and saltiness of the sauce combined with the basil is so good.  I highly recommend this dish.  8.5/10

Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp (Xia Ren Chao Dan):

This is another home style dish consisting of scrambled eggs, shrimp and scallions.  It tastes exactly like what it sounds like although it’s been cooked in a wok, so it’s got a bit of that wok flavor.  This was quite good, the egg was perfectly, the shrimp tasted fresh and the scallions added a nice flavor to the dish.  8/10

Sauteed Corn, Peas and Tomato:

I like these types of dishes although a lot of people at the table complained they could cook this at home in two seconds.  That said it tasted good, it’s simply corn, peas and tomato sautéed with oil and salt.  I liked this, but I think it might be a little too simple for some people. 7/10

Sha Cha Beef with Kong Xin Cai (Sha Cha Niu Rou Kong Xin Cai):

Sha cha is a sauce that is made of soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chillis, dried fish and dried shrimp.  My friend asked for this as it’s not on the menu, it was sliced beef sautéed in a brown sauce that uses sha cha sauce put over kong xin cai. I thought it was pretty good although could’ve used a little more salt. 7.5/10

Tea Smoked Duck:

To caveat this, I don’t like tea smoked duck as a dish.  One of my friends ordered it and I ate some because it was there.  The duck was nice and tender, the skin was nicely crispy as well, but the smoky flavor of the tea leaves and camphor aren’t my favorite flavor although I will eat it if it’s in front of me.  The mantou were a little dried out, but this was a decent version of the dish. 6.75/10

Overall, I really like Gu Xiang for their more home style Taiwanese food and I’d highly recommend trying it out.  When you go, I’d avoid their street food as most of it is just okay.  Stick to a lot of their stir fries and in particular I recommend getting the beef with spicy green peppers and the three cup chicken.

135-38 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 939-5468

Red Chopsticks 紅筷子 – Tasty Taiwanese in Flushing

I’ve been meaning to try Red Chopsticks 紅筷子 for a long time as it is probably the only Taiwanese restaurant in Flushing I hadn’t tried, so I finally got around to it last weekend.

When most people think about Taiwanese food they instantly think about street food and Taiwanese street food is certainly among the best in the world.  However, there is a lot more to Taiwanese food, in fact the best meal I’ve ever had in Taiwan was not a street meal, but a meal in some tiny family run restaurant that was literally in their house. The menu here is not really about the street food (even though they have it) as no one was ordering street food; the clientele was mainly Taiwanese families ordering more family style dishes, so I tried to order more like them.

It’s a little restaurant with no English sign with signs in Chinese advertising their specialties.  I’m pretty sure that the restaurant used to be a Korean restaurant as the décor does not look Chinese at all with a lot of dark wood.  However, it is a nice change as it’s much nicer than most Chinese restaurants in Flushing.  It has a very nice sort of homey atmosphere, kind of feels like being in Asia.

The service was good and everyone was very nice, I’m not sure how their English is as we never spoke to them in English, but the menu is translated to English so you should be fine no matter what.  Although they do have several specials written only in Chinese on the wall, which I didn’t notice until the end of the meal as another table had a crab sticky rice on their table and I couldn’t find it on the menu then I noticed it on the wall.

Here’s what we got:

Cold Jelly Fish (Liang Ban Hai Zhe):

This was a typical preparation of sliced cold jellyfish tossed in sesame oil and salt and accompanied by sliced sweet pickled radish and carrots.  This was very good, the jellyfish had that good almost crunchy texture and when accompanied with the sesame oil and radish it was just right.  8.5/10

Stinky Tofu (Chou Dou Fu):

I had heard that Red Chopsticks makes the best stinky tofu in NY.  Now that’s not a very high bar as the best I’ve had is mediocre, but I had to give it a try anyhow.  The tofu was the correct texture where it’s crispy on the outside and retained a good interior of being softer although not super soft.  The soy sauce was good and the pickled cabbage on top was very good, it had a good sweet flavor with chilis for spice. The thing that was missing was that it was not stinky enough.  Stinky tofu is like a cheese where it needs a certain level of stinky flavor to give it good flavor.  Overall, it was the best version I’ve had in NY although if you’ve had it in Taiwan this won’t quite get you there.  Also it made it a lot better when you ask for chili paste, which is the normal way I eat it in Taiwan. 7.5/10

Taiwanese Hamburger (Gua Bao):

Gua bao is my all-time favorite Taiwanese street food.  It’s sort of famous now in NY because of people like David Chang (Momofuku) and Eddie Huang (BaoHaus).  It’s a white steamed bun with stewed pork belly, cilantro, crushed peanuts, pickled vegetable and this brown sweet powder stuff.  I pretty much always have to at least try it everywhere.  However, the version here is pretty mediocre and I wouldn’t recommend ordering it.  The pork belly wasn’t tender enough and wasn’t that flavorful and it didn’t have enough condiments. 6.5/10

Chicken Roll (Ji Juan):

This is not that common of a dish to find in NY.  It’s minced pork and fish paste mixed with various spices wrapped in a thin bean curd sheet that is steamed and then pan fried in oil. You eat it with sweet orange sauce that kind of tastes like a better version of the duck sauce you get in Chinese take-out joints.  They make this really good here, this is pretty much exactly what it tastes like in Asia.  The bean curd skin is super crispy almost like phyllo dough and the inside paste is tender and flavorful.  It goes really well with the sweet sauce.  This was the best dish of the night and I would come back here again just for this.  Btw they list it in English as a “pork roll” on the menu. 8.75/10

Drunken Pork Ribs (Zui Pai Gu):

Most Taiwanese are Hokkien / Min Nan (southern Fujian) and you can really see the Fujian influence in this dish.  I’ve had almost the exact same dish in the Fujian part of Chinatown in Manhattan.  It’s spare ribs and taro that has been lightly battered and fried and then sautéed in a semi-sweet sauce that uses alcohol (I think rice wine) and garlic. I always like sauces like this one.  The rib meat was tender and the taro was cooked nicely.  This was a good dish.  7.75/10

Sticky Rice in Bamboo (You Fan):

They advertise that they have these bamboo rice dishes, where the rice is cooked in hallow bamboo shoot.  This was you fan, which translates to “oil rice”.  It’s basically seasoned glutinous rice with mushrooms and some other vegetables.  The version here was decent, but in Taiwan it’s a lot more flavorful, I thought it was a bit on the bland side.  7/10

Pan Fried Flounder (Gan Jian Long Li):

A lot of tables seemed to be getting seafood, so I decided to get a pan fried flounder. This was a typical preparation where the fish was covered in corn starch and then was pan fried in oil on both sides.  Soy sauce was poured over it with some shallots.  I thought it was pretty good, the meat was tender and clean tasting and the sauce goes great with it.  One of my friends thought that the skin should be crispier, but I liked it and would get this again.  7.75/10

Salt and Pepper Frog (Jiao Yen Tian Ji):

This was salt and pepper battered pieces of frog topped with fried minced garlic and scallions.  The batter was crispy and although it looked kind of heavy / oily, it was actually not that heavy and had a nice salty flavor.  The meat was very tender and good tasting.  A friend of mine described frog meat perfectly as “it tastes like chicken, but has a more tender consistency somewhere between fish and chicken”.  The bones were still in, which is always a little annoying about frog, but other than that it was pretty good.  7.75/10

Razor Clams with Basil:

This was razor clams out of the shell stir fried with onions, basil and peppers in slightly sweet black bean sauce.  My friends thought it almost tasted more like a Thai dish than a Chinese dish as the flavor of the basil was very apparent.  The razor clams were decent and the sauce went decently with it, but overall I didn’t love this dish, it wasn’t bad, just nothing really stood out about it. 7/10

A Vegetable (A Cai):

A cai is a vegetable that literally translates to “A vegetable”, it’s a little like spinach, but has a more firm consistency.  It is very common in Taiwanese cuisine.  It was blanched and quickly stir fried with some oil and garlic.  It was a decent, but not great version. 7.25/10

Egg With Crab:

his was weird and I thought I was ordering a typical Taiwanese dish which is scrambled egg that normally is served with either tomato or shrimp, but in this case it said it was served with crab.  However, what came out was a big egg omelet with scallions and blue crab cut up, but still in the shell. It looked good, but the crab was not really noticeable unless you pulled a piece out and the egg was a little overcooked.  I wouldn’t order this again.  6.25/10

Overall, I enjoyed the meal, it had some hits and misses, but I will definitely come back as I could tell that there are more gems to be found here because some of the dishes we had were quite good.

136-17 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 661-6655

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao – There is More Than The Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings)

When I originally reviewed Nan Xiang I proclaimed it the best xiao long bao (soup dumplings) in NYC () and I still stick to that claim.  However, on my latest trip I found that they have some cold appetizers that they really excel at and I’d like to highlight some of those in this review as they are really worth trying.

As I wrote in my other review, the décor is fairly simple and it is a little cramped in the restaurant, but everything is clean and fairly new looking.  The service is very brisk, but generally fine.  Be prepared for a wait as there is almost always a wait on a weekend.  I generally think going either early or later in the afternoon is better as the prime time lunch and dinner crowd can be kind of a pain.

Here’s a picture of the cold appetizer station, which was the basis of me writing this review:

Since I described the restaurant in more detail last time, I’ll get straight into the food:

Fried Bean Gluten (Si Xian Kau Fu):

If you’ve never had wheat gluten before it looks similar to fried tofu, the texture is a spongy and by itself it tastes fairly plain.  Here’s a Wikipedia article about wheat gluten (  At Nan Xiang their preparation is a typical preparation of this cold fried wheat gluten appetizer.  The wheat gluten has been fried and cooked with sliced wood ear mushrooms, shitake mushrooms and onions; all of the ingredients including the wheat gluten have been marinated in a semi-sweet soy sauce.  The result is great, the semi sweet sauce goes really well with everything and it tastes great.  The version here is very good and pretty similar to what you get in Asia. 8/10

Cold Smoked Tofu (Dou Gan Si):

This is another appetizer that is pretty common in places like Shanghai and Taiwan.  It is a smoked tofu that kind of looks like a block of cheese if you didn’t know what it was as it is brown on the outside and a creamy off white color inside.  They slice it into thin slices then toss it with sesame oil, chopped cilantro and some salt.  While it sounds plain, it’s actually delicious and flavorful.   I love the texture and simple flavor of dou gan (smoked tofu).  The version here is done nicely.  7.75/10

Sliced Dried Pig Ear in Red Oil (Er Duo):

While pig ear sounds kind of gross, it’s actually very mild tasting and delicious when done right.  The problem with pig ear is that if you prepare it wrong the texture is too hard and chewy, however they do it correctly at Nan Xiang.  The pig ear is cut into thin slices and then tossed in slightly spicy red oil and chopped cilantro.  The slices have the perfect texture of being somewhat firm, but easy to bite; it’s sort of hard to explain, but if you try it you’ll see what I mean.  This was really good and close to what you’d get in Asia.  This hands down beat any other place in NY for the best version I’ve had in NY.   8.25/10

Spicy Bamboo Shoot:

This is another common cold appetizer dish that is sliced bamboo shoots tossed in slightly spicy red oil.  While not quite as good as the previous appetizers I mentioned it was tasty.  The bamboo was nice and the red oil complimented it nicely. 7.25/10

Noodle With Scallion Sauce (Cong You Ban Mian):

This is a bowl of thin noodles with a sauce made out of soy sauce and scallion oil.  The scallions were browned, fermented and put in the oil.  The noodles were reasonably al dente, they weren’t hand pulled, but they were good and as I said in my former post they remind me of ramen. The sauce is what makes the dish and the scallion oil and soy combination is really good.  7.75/10

Steamed Pork Buns (Xiao Long Bao):

I’ll stick to what my review said last time as they tasted exactly the same.  The skins were much better than any of the other places in NY, normally I’ve found XLB in NY to be too doughy and not tender enough. The filling was what really set them apart from most of the mediocre XLB in NY, all of the other places in NY have overly heavy and greasy filling. Not the case here, the filling was very good, the meat was tender and the soup was very flavorful but not greasy and heavy.  7.75/10

Steamed Crab Meat & Pork Buns (Xie Fen Xiao Long Bao):

This was actually almost exactly the same except with a little bit of crab meat and orange crab roe.  I prefer these generally although at Nan Xiang I don’t feel like there is much difference.  7.75/10

Sweet Soy bean Milk (Tian Dou Jiang):

This was cold sweet soy bean milk, it was good, not chalky and clean tasting. It was better than last time I was here and probably on par with the flower shop lady on Roosevelt.  Overall, this was quite good.  7.75/10

I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food at this meal especially the four cold appetizers I got.  I’d probably get every single one of their cold appetizers if I was with enough people.  I’d definitely recommend coming here to check it out as it’s probably one of the better restaurants in Flushing Chinatown.

38-12 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 321-3838

Corner 28 – Peking Duck Buns, Why Has Someone Not Done This in Manhattan??

Corner 28 is a Cantonese restaurant that has a lot of things going on.  It has a big section serving shao la (Cantonese BBQ), it has another section serving si cai yi tang (4 dishes + 1 soup) and it has an upstairs that is a full service Cantonese restaurant.  For today’s post, I don’t really care about all that, what I do care about is the part of the restaurant that is on the outside serving people on the street.  The outside section is located on one of the busiest corners in Flushing.  It has two sides, one side serves fresh cheung fan (steamed rice crepe) and skewers and the other side serves Peking duck buns.

There are two types of Peking duck in my mind.  There is real Peking duck from Beijing where they cook it a certain way by pumping air into it and then roasting in an oven.  It’s served with thin pancakes and usually has several accompanying dishes using the rest of the duck (it’s delicious if done right).  However, there is a Cantonese version of Peking duck that is actually a roast duck served in a mantou (white sweet fluffy buns) with plum sauce and spring onions.  I am very partial to Cantonese style Peking duck because I grew up eating it. At Corner 28, you’re going to get a Cantonese style Peking duck.

Normally, you need to buy a whole or half duck to get it served to you.  However, at Corner 28 they serve individual portions for $1 per bun. The bun is fluffy and fresh, the meat is tender, the skin is nice and crispy and the condiments go really well with everything.  I think that a large part of why it tastes so good is that even though it’s a street stand, they have very high turnover that you’re constantly getting a fresh duck. I definitely recommend stopping here even if you’re going to another restaurant.  It will take about 2 minutes of your time, $1 out of your wallet and won’t ruin your appetite at all. 7.75/10

A good question was brought up by my friend when we stopped here last weekend, which is why has someone not done this in Manhattan? This place kills it in Flushing and I’m pretty sure that this is a dish that would be universally loved by all Americans.  So if anyone is listening please open something like this in Manhattan.

40-28 Main St (Corner of 40th Rd & Main St)
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 886-6628

Baidu Shabu Shabu / Mapo Szechuan – Delicious Hot Pot in Flushing

Typically, I haven’t been the biggest hot pot fan, I generally like it, but I never crave it.  However, for some reason recently I’ve really been craving it; maybe because it’s been so cold, I don’t know.  I asked around and some people recommended Baidu Shabu Shabu in Flushing, so I met up with a friend and stopped in. Fyi, I don’t believe it says Baidu anywhere in English only in Chinese, it says Mapo Szechuan in front.

Baidu is surprisingly upscale for Flushing, its brand new looking, very clean and quite modern looking.  Looks similar to some of the place you get hot pot in Taiwan.  Its two levels with the bottom level having a full bar with a big TV and the upstairs having tables, some of which have TVs playing the Chinese channels (ours did).

The service was fine, not super attentive, but that’s generally how hot pot is anyhow since you’re serving yourself.  There was about a 20 minute wait when we were there as the place is definitely pretty popular.  My friend knows the owners (who weren’t there that day) and it’s actually the same family that owns the Ollie’s chain in Manhattan.

They have a full Sichuan menu and a full hot pot menu, but we only got the hot pot.  I did see some Sichuan dishes on some people’s tables that looked pretty good, but most people seemed to be there for the hot pot.

Here’s what we got:

Kimchi Broth:

You have a variety of choices for broth and you can get the split pot where you get two different broths.  My friend wanted to get the kimchi broth, getting the kimchi broth was against my better judgment (kimchi in a Chinese place), but I was so hungry that I just went with whatever my friend wanted.  Although later I talked to another friend who eats there frequently and she told me that’s actually by far the worst broth and that we should have gotten the duck broth.  The broth was alright, it had a kimchi flavor, but it was a bit weak in flavor.  Honestly though after a little while we had diluted the broth so much by cooking stuff in it and asking for more broth that it had no kimchi flavor at all and I probably wouldn’t have noticed the broth no matter what flavor it was.  6.75/10

Angus Beef:

This was quite good, the beef was clean and fresh tasting unlike a lot of hot pot places I’ve been to in NY where you could tell the beef was old (gray spots, odd looking meat etc).  We actually ended up getting two orders of it because we were so hungry and it was very good.  Beef is always my favorite part of hot pot.  7.75/10

Short Rib:

This was also good as well, clean and fresh tasting again.  The meat was a little fattier, but it tasted great as well.  8/10

Seafood Platter:

I was a little sketched out ordering the seafood platter because typically the seafood I’ve gotten at hot pot places in NY has been pretty bad quality, but again the seafood all tasted pretty fresh and it all came out pretty good when you cooked it.  7.5/10

Mushroom Platter:

This was good as well.  All the mushrooms were fresh and tasted great when you cooked them.  Also, I those seashell looking things are actually fishcakes that taste like Japanese kamaboko if you know what that is.  We were confused as to why they were part of the mushroom platter, but they were good nonetheless.  7.5/10

Vegetable Platter: 

The vegetables were very fresh and tasted great.  8/10


They have a sauce bar where you can make sauces and they also have a rice cooker there as well which is actually really convenient because you can just go get your own rice.  I got ponzu sauce, sha cha sauce (a sauce made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilis, fish, and dried shrimp) and then I mixed a sort sauce of sesame oil, homemade soy sauce, chili oil, minced garlic and cilantro.  All the sauces were good and I particularly liked the sauce I created.  8/10

Overall, I liked it a lot and I’d definitely come back.  It was probably the best non-Sichuan hot pot I’ve had in NY.  Highly recommend.

37-04 Prince Street
Queens, NY 11354
(718) 939-3808

Shifu Chio (CHML H.K. Inc.) – Solid Cantonese wonton noodle soup specialist

Shifu Chio (literally means “Master Chio”) is a place I’ve been meaning to come to for a long time.  Shifu Chio specializes in Cantonese wonton noodle soup. Wonton noodle soup in Hong Kong is sort of like the equivalent to ramen in Japan.  I think most people in the US don’t think of it that way because what you find here is usually a poorly made version that just happens to be some after-thought on the menu of a Cantonese BBQ joint, but in Hong Kong you’ll find shops that specialize in it and make really wonderful renditions of it.  I’ve been searching around New York for a good wonton noodle soup place for a long time to no avail.  When I really want it, I’ve gone to NY Noodletown, which has an okay version, but its better than the other places which have anywhere from bad to awful versions.  Recently, I was finally able to stop by for lunch.

The restaurant is very bare bones with plain wooden tables with menus that have pictures on them and an open kitchen and counter; not much more décor to speak of other than that.  The service is pretty gruff, but it is quick.  The menu is translated into English, I’m not sure how well they speak English, but the menu has pictures and English, so you should be fine.

Onto the food:

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup (with noodles on the side):

While I like both versions, I prefer this version slightly.  The preparation is the same except the noodles are put on the side as opposed to in the soup.  Also, the noodles are lightly tossed in oyster sauce giving them an extra flavor that I really like.  As far as the noodles go, these were quite good.  Cantonese wonton noodle soup uses thin egg noodles, the noodles should be al dente and have a good amount of “chew” to them and these definitely did.  The oyster sauce really kicked up the flavor.  The wontons were quite big; they were filled with shrimp and pork.  The filling was quite good, the pork was well minced and the shrimps were fresh.  The skins were good as well, they were definitely made there and were not overly thick or thin and importantly were not overcooked (most places overcook them and they get soggy).  The disappointing part was the broth.  The broth is usually made with some mixture of seafood (dried fish and / or shrimp) and pork bone.  The broth here was lacking depth of flavor that you get from a great broth that has been simmered for a long time and it was a bit on the salty side.  It wasn’t terrible, but was just okay.  However, overall I thought it was tasty and is definitely the best wonton noodle soup I’ve had in NY although the competition is basically non-existent. 7.75/10 (7/10 for the soup base, 8/10 for the wontons and 8/10 for the noodles)

Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup:

Same thing except the noodles are in the soup with no oyster sauce.  I think we all preferred the version with the soup on the side. 7.5/10 (7/10 for the soup base, 8/10 for the wontons and 8/10 for the noodles)

I’d definitely recommend coming here to check out a pretty decent wonton noodle soup.  If they got a better broth going, this place would be excellent as the wontons and the noodles are quite good.


40-09 Prince St

Flushing, NY 11354

(718) 888-9295

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