Monday, March 30, 2009

Flushing Food Tour

A few weeks ago, my friend and I did a Flushing Food Tour.

1. Before we hit our first stop on our itinerary, CP couldn't wait and got us the lamb & chicken skewers. This one is by Chase Bank on Main Street/39th Avenue. I still think the one on 41st/Kissena Blvd is fattier, hence better. I absolutely love the picture below with WY holding the skewers with her cute dimples.

2. Our next stop - the $1 peking duck bun. This little take-out window is on Main Street & 40th Rd. The lady working carved out the crispy skin of the roast duck with a little bit of meat attached, added some hoisin sauce, some cucumbers, wrapped it with steamed muntou bun, and there you have it! One of the tastiest treat a dollar can get you. I read a blog that said it was 75 cents back in 2007...*shakes head*..inflation sucks!

3. Next up is the "Golden Mall" on Main Street & 41st Road. Seriously, if my friend didn't point out exactly where it was, I wouldn't have noticed it. This mall is a food paradise! Once you walk through the small door, down the stairs into a narrow corridor, you'll find food from different regions in China - Xi'an, Fujian, Sichuan, Zheng Zhou. I mean, who knew??!

3A. Across from a very old school looking hair salon is a small restaurant with about 4 tables and some plastic chairs called Shu Siang Yuan (蘇香園). This restaurant serves Zheng Zhou (鄭州) cuisine. A little search on Wiki tells me that Zheng Zhou is located in the Eastern part of China, in the Henan Province. Mutton noodle soup (羊肉烩面) and beef noodle soup (牛肉拉面) are apparently must-eat in Zheng Zhou. The lady at the restaurant recommended the mutton noodle soup and dumplings. The mutton noddle soup was really delightful, the noodles are hand-pulled so it was slighty chewy and it didn't get soggy. The soup was mutton-y and tasty, with chunks of mutton, served with some cilantro & mushrooms. The soup went down the throat and I went "ahhhh" (with a smiley face). The dumplings were pan-fried with beef & vegetable fillings. It was really good with the chili sauce. Check this out, halfway eating, some dude brought out Anthony Bourdain's book "No Reservations" and showed us the book he gave them and signed, he also whipped out his camera (God knows why he had it with him) and showed us the pictures of Anthony Bourdain visiting the restaurant, I look forward to seeing this being shown on TV.

3B. We stopped at a Malaysian grocery stall (kedia runcit style) on the way out and suddenly CP hollered and said "Hey, over here, second stop"...WHAT?? He found this Tianjin (天津) food stall called Wang Zhen Qing Zhen Xiao Chi (王鄭清真小吃). 天啊!我都還沒有開始消化之前那一餐! He ordered the chive pie, beef pie and something else (brain fart). Note: no pork here because this place is halal. In case you are wondering, China has a large Muslim population, even outside of Northen cities such as Xinjiang. While sitting in the snack stall, I peered over and saw a Fuzhou food stall called 老王记, and I saw the magic words - Fuzhou Fish Ball Soup (福州魚丸湯 )! So what's so special about Fuzhou fish balls? There are basic fish ball but with meat fillings. Ok, so these were nowhere as good as the ones I used to eat growing up, but I am 10k miles away from home, these more than made me happy!

3C. On the way out, we checked out the Xi'an (西安) Restaurant which sells the popular lamb burgers & pork burgers. The lamb burger was heavily spiced with cumin, it reminded me of falafel, not very Asian I have to say. The pork sandwich, which I bought and ate the next day was essentially pulled pork stewed in a big pot for a long time, it's very tasty and it doesn't have the heavy cumin taste. By the Way, they even have a website, no joke!! Everything on the menu looks delicious, I must go back.

4. We were all having food coma. So we decided to give our digestive systems a break and went to Rose House in the Queens Crossing mall. I was warned by S. that this place is very over the top, and indeed it was! The place was covered in flowery wall paper, and there were paintings of roses all over. This place is apparently a very succesful franchise now, especially in Asia. The Taiwanese guy who started this has a little bio here that you can read, I imagine Simon Cowell will say that it is very self-indulgent after reading. Anway, back to the Rose House, the place smelled of roses, in a good way, the atmosphere was very relaxing, we sat by the big couches in the middle of the room by the fire place, they used the prettiest china, and the scones & rose jam were pretty spectacular. The tea itself was not too shabby, I had the "Nirvana herbal tea" (no I felt no difference after), the description in Chinese is pretty over the top as well. I wish I could share more photos but the manager barked at me "NO" and walked away, I guess I'll think twice before spending $9 on tea in this place again.

5. Last but not least, we went to Ah Zhong (阿忠面線) and 66 for take-out dinner. They are both Taiwanes restaurants, I ordered similar things at both places - the stew pork rice with eggs (乳肉饭). I think the one from 66 was slightly better, plus the stewed cabbage on the side was pretty tasty. They must've cooked the cabbage in chicken feet stock because I saw a few random pieces of chicken feet, a bit creepy visually....

Anyway, the picture below says it all. By the time we were done with all the eating, and grocery shopping, we were EXHAUSTED! Even writing about it is exhausting. But will I do this again? HELL YEAH!

Address: Golden Mall, Main Street & 41st Road, Flushing, NY 11354.
Address: Rose House, Queens Crossing Mall, 1st Floor, 38-10 138th St, Flushing, NY 11354.
Address: Ah Zhong, Flushing Mall, 13331 39th Ave, Flushing, NY 11354.
Address: 66 Restaurant (Lu's Seafood), 38-18 Prince St. Flushing, NY 11354

All Flushing Food Tour photos here

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fette Sau & Engagment News (not mine)

Just heard from two of my friends that they are engaged! What great news, I am so happy for them. I also wonder where JL will have her wedding...Texas? BK, start planning your USA trip. ;)

Last night, I finally fulfilled my Fette Sau craving! We rode the "satay car" into Williamsburg, and when we got there, there was already a line (@ 5:30pm)!

We ordered a tray of food, and it looked glorious!! We had the beef cheeks, pulled pork, spicy berkshire pork sausages & black angus briskets (my favorite of the night). Too bad the pork belly wasn't available yesterday, I had it the last time I went to Fette Sau, it was sinful but worth every single calorie I consumed. If you are wondering why the meat looked so burnt, no worries, we weren't consuming cancer, it was the spices & rubs they used for the meat. Imagine espresso rubbed I get your attention now?

Fetty Sau is owned by the same folks who owned Spuyten Duyvil, a beer bar across the street favored by many. Fette Sau means Fat Pig in German, if you are a vegetarian, there's no point coming to this place. Even the baked beans and collard greens (which were truly to-die-for) were cooked with meat. Sorry no dice, maybe you can chew on the pickles they get from Gus' Pickles from the Lower East side and guzzle down some beers. They have a great variety of beers on tap, and an absurb selection of whiskey & bourbon. Fetty Sau has a rustic feel with it's wooden picnic tables and wooden benches in the airy space, which was once a garage. Check out the wall painted with cuts of meat (below).

Ahhh Fette Sau, I.WILL.BE.BACK...

Address: Fette Sau, 354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Monday, March 23, 2009


I am not a big fan of Korean food, except for the tofu soup (soon doo boo chigae). The best is still the one in Fort Lee that fellow yaokui S&G took me to, but Kunjip is a pretty close second. The standard of food in Kunjip is consistent and fairly cheap. The only problem is that the restaurant is pretty small so you usually have to wait.

My favorite is the seafood soon doo boo chigae (first picture below), it's very flavorful, the tofu is so soft and yummy. The other one I like is the budae chigae (second picture below), although it's not the most appetizing looking dish. This is served in a prisonware-looking silver pot, and the ingredients include spam (yumm!), sausage, pork belly, thin vermicelli noodles, and curly ramen noodles. It's like one of those dishes where you empty out your fridge and just throw it all into the pot (一锅熟), which is exactly how this dish came about. It started during the Korean War era, when food was scarce and people made this stew out of leftovers.

One more thing, Kunjip serves purple rice with the soup dishes. The rice tasted just like regular rice, I did some research and found out that it's rice cooked with adzuki (azuki beans), and is apparently packed with antioxidant. Purple rice is THE way forward!

Address: Kunjip, 9 W 32nd St (between 5th and Broadway), New York, NY 10001

Pork-ed out!

I can't believe I am saying this, but I think I ate too much pork yesterday.

It started with lunch at Excellent Pork Chop House in Chinatown. Excellent Pork Chop House is a Taiwanese restaurant, and for $5.75, I got a big bowl of rice topped with minced pork, preseved vegetable, a few piece of pork chops, and an egg cooked in soy sauce (hence the color). It was yummy, the pork chop wasn't as greasy as the typical deep fried version in Taiwan. I also liked the wonton in spicy oil, which is another of their signature dish.

Interesting, on their menu, they wrote *M.S.G.*....(see picture, below the telephone number). No idea what they are trying to say, maybe it's a warning?

Then I walked by this bakery with very fancy looking cakes. I wonder if they make cakes in the shape of a stripper, hah! Just a thought, in case I need to order one for my friend's bachelorette party.

A quick pit stop in Quickly for bubble tea....mmm....bubble tea is a genius invention in my opinion.

Ok, so back to pork. For dinner, I went to Momofuku Milk Bar. I am grateful to Chef David Chang because with Momofuku Milk Bar, I get to eat the pork buns without having to deal with the crowd at Momofuku Ssam Bar (which is next door). But it's so expensive, $9 for 2 pork buns!! It's a bit of a daylight robbery, but I am that sucker, who willingly paid too much for two slices of fatty pork, with cucumber, hoisin sauce and a lot of sriracha sauce.

I am also infatuated with the soft serves they have. I loved the cereal milk soft serve ($4), the marshmallow cereal soft serve is their top-seller, and it is equally good. I also got a slice of chocolate/passion fruit cake ($5!!) because it was calling my name, but turned out it was just ok, a bit dry actaully.

Address: Excellent Pork Chop House, 3 Doyers St (near Bowery Street), New York NY 10013
Address: Quickly Bubble Tea & Shabu Shabu, 237B Grand Street (near Bowery),
New York, NY 10002
Address: Momofuku Milk Bar, 207 2nd ave. (near 13th Street), New York NY 10003

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Such a pain in the back...

I've been having lower back pain for the last few weeks and it worsen over the last two. Last week I sneezed and was in a lot of pain after and couldn't move for a day. Anyway, long story short, today I visited a pain management doctor (fancy title) and he confirmed my suspicion of herniation in my disc. In fact, he thought I might have two herniated discs....UGHHHHH....I was only mentally prepared for a doctor's consult but before I knew it, I was lying face down with two drips (anesthetic) in my left arm and I vaguely remembered a needle going into my back with slight discomfort, and then a chaser of steroid injection.

So what does a girl do when she feels defeated?? Simple, OD on something sweet! I was walking towards the subway to go home and saw Magnolia Bakery and figured why not?!! They were making the red velvet cupcake when I walked in so I HAD to get one. I also got the banana cream pudding, which to me, is better than their cupcakes. I would rate the red velvet 8 out of 10, the icing was less heavy and sweet than Buttercup Bake Shop, but the cake itself was not as moist in comparison. It was also quite small, and they charge $3 for it....but whatever, it was the pick-me-up that I needed.

So next up is an MRI, I hope I am not claustrophobic. As a side note, I was googling my doctor to check out his credentials because he seems rather young, and I found him on facebook and friendster with pictures of his shirtless. Mildly disturbing.... But who am I to judge, at least he assured me that he will try to get me back in tip top shape and he will do everything he can to prevent me from having to go under the knife.

This is why I called this post "such a pain in the back", literally...

Hot pot 火锅 party

Last Friday my friends and I were at Salumeria Rosi (which deserves a post by itself) for dinner and I said to HC "dude, when are you having another hot pot party?", and HC organized one right on the spot for dinner the next day (such a good sport).

We arrived the next day and the hot pot dinner was glorious, we had a lot of food and I ate myself silly.

After dinner, we had dessert - our invention of ice-cream+presecco and sorbet+moscato. My favorite was the mango sorbet with moscato. Sounds a bit gross but it was very yummy!

I've concluded that with our current gloomy economic situation, the best way to enjoy the weekend is to have a BYOB house party such as last Saturday - we filled our stomach, put our liver to work, watched various things on youtube and did some spontaneous karaoke-ing, it was fun and we didn't break our banks.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Modern Dining Room

The Modern is located in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) space. There are two parts to this restaurant, the bar room and the dining room. The restaurant design is beautiful, there is a sleek tunnel/corridor leading into the restaurant space from 53rd street, next to the entrance of MOMA. The dining room has this incredibly high ceiling and it overlooks the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

The Modern is one of Danny Meyer's creation, his other "babies" include Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Park Madison etc etc. I did the three course pre-fix for $88 when I went to The Modern Dining Room (they only have pre-fix menus).

The amuse-bouche, the spinach pie on the top right corner was delicious.

For appetizer, I had the seared Sullivan country foie gras with medjool date and lemon confit, chestnut tuile. The foie gras was fatty and the date was a great compliment. I love anything foie gras in general, this dish was good but it wasn't life-changing in any way. AX had the Dorade Royale - flashed cooked with sea urchin, yuzu & American caviar. I thought the dorade was quite fishy, and the sea urchin wasn't as fresh as some of the ones I've tasted in say 15 East or Le Bernadin.

For entree, I ordered the chorizo-crusted codfish, with white coco bean puree and harissa oil. The chorizo crust was a great touch, the codfish itself was quite soft, but the sauce was just ok. AX ordered the fine herb braised suckling pig with parsnip puree, roasted pineapple & natural jus scented with cardamon. His dish was pretty amazing, the suckling pig was strong (a tad porky for my liking) but tasty, the crispy layer on top was the winner. He definitely had the better entree dish in comparison to mine.

For dessert, they bought us an amuse-bouche which was actually the highlight of the evening for me. It was a cream cheese ice cream on a mini waffle (no picture unfortunately). It was very refreshing and palette cleasing. AX got the baba grand marnier, vanilla ice cream & lime sabayon. The baba cake was very soft and delicious and completely soaked in alcohol. The grand marnier taste was very strong (recommended for my alchi friends :P). I got the recommended signature dessert, milk chocolate & hazelnut dacquoise with raspberry sorbet. Again, it was good, not mind-blowing. They also bought us a small tray of complimentary chocolates, macaroons and then I was beyond stuffed.

I thought the overall dining experience at The Modern was pleasant, but I think the space outshone the food. The menu was a bit tired and needed a facelift in my opinion. The French-inspired cuisine was neither traditional nor inventive. Perhaps the next I'll try the food in the bar room, which is Alsatian-inspired, and see how that goes...

On a completely separate note, I took a few pictures of the cutesy art installation at the Lever House building (on Park $ 53rd) on my walk over to The Modern.

Address: The Modern, 9, W 53rd Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue), New York, NY 10019

Full set of The Modern Photos