Now that we’re all out of the house and out of their hair, I think my parents are “dating” again. They take weekend trips to NY, DC or Cape Cod, dine at nice restaurants in Philly, set out on day hikes in nearby trails and fly out to exotic places for extravagant vacations…. who knew they could have so much fun without us??
My mom emailed me at the start of the new year and told me she and my dad were coming to NY. It wasn’t a question - like, hey are you guys around this weekend, we’d like to come to NY to see you - it was more just informational. They were coming, and we could meet them if we wanted. They even had the entire weekend planned already! My dad (who like me, is a bit obsessed with food and researching food) wanted to go to Imperial Palace in Flushing, first, to try their famous dungeness crab with sticky rice, and second, because (as he would repeat numerous times throughout their visit), it had been decades since they had last been to Flushing (my parents lived in NY for a few years in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s (that’s why I was born here!)). So it came to be that ATO and I belatedly celebrated the new year and feasted with them in Flushing!
At my request, we ordered a serving of Peking duck. Not usually high on my list of priorities at a Chinese restaurant, but I tonight I had a craving. A very typical Peking duck was served to us - I’ve definitely had worse, but I’ve also had better. My mom agreed that it was tasty, but ”cū” - meaning unrefined, or coarse in Chinese - compared to the delicate and brilliant version she had just the previous week in Beijing. Probably a bit of an unfair comparison, but you get the point…
Fried lamb chops! Surprisingly good (especially given the description and accompanying picture on the menu). Super flavorful, with some nice crunch added by the fried garnish.
Eggplant casserole with chicken and seafood. To me, this was the best dish of the night. Eggplant at Chinese restaurants is often compromised with too much thick, gloppy overpowering sauce. Not the case here. You could actually taste the eggplant (roasted so that it just melted on your tongue), the tender chunks of chicken and the light musk of the seafood. Absolutely delicious!
Finally, the main event, the reason for our journey: the dungeness crab with sticky rice, steamed in river leaves and dressed in chopped scallions. Crab essence seeped into every crevice of the hot, fragrant rice. This wasn’t an easy dish to eat though - you had to work to get the juicy pieces of meat from the shells buried throughout the dish. Only complaint: a bit sheisty on the crab!
Ambiance: typical Chinese restaurant. Casual, crowded, fast-paced and loud. The service is a bit brisk and uncordial. It’s exactly what we’d expect!
Yelp page: http://www.yelp.com/biz/imperial-palace-flushing (no website)
Flushing Food Tour with World’s Fare Food Tours
It was ATO’s bday celebration weekend! Instead of drinking and partying, he just wanted to EAT. And because I am usually too lazy to truck it out to Queens, I knew a food tour in Flushing would be quite a bday treat! I did some research and found a tour led by World’s Fare Food Tours and Joe DiStefano, the “guy who ate Queens” (dubbed by NYMag). So on this crisp, sunny Sunday, me, ATO, 7 of our great food- and fun-loving friends and Joe embarked on a culinary adventure through Flushing!
First stop: New World mall where we sampled some pig’s ear with sliced potatoes. Tasty.
And at Sliced Noodle, we chomped on freshly made pork “guo tie” (dumplings!). The skin was so delicate and thin, and the filling so juicy and delicious. Mmmm, must go back for these!
This might look more familiar…. an individual dumpling!
Next stop, Soy Bean Chen Flower Shop: a small shop selling botanicals and freshly made soft “dou hua” (tofu!).
The dou hua, which is perfect in texture, comes in two varieties: sweet and savory. Above, the tofu in lightly sweetened syrup. Quite refreshing.
And the salty, or as their menu calls it, the “saline” version: dried shrimp and scallions with a flavorful savory sauce. Awesome. The vibrant sauce against the pure white tofu is amazing.
Next up, we wander into Assi Plaza, a giant Korean “Costco”. We head to the back, to the Mandu Factory! An order of pork dumplings, above.
And kimchi dumplings as well.
Inside of a kimchi dumpling, uncovered.
And then our food tour took a detour…. BH, who couldn’t help himself in a Korean supermarket, went rogue and disappeared for 10 minutes, returning with a huge box full of pork belly. I have to admit, it was pretty tasty.
And he picked up some blood sausage as well…. which was surprisingly quite good. It was mixed with rice noodles and other Korean products, which BH indicated reduces that metallic iron taste often associated with blood sausage!
And on our way out, Joe grabbed a bowl of sweet dried seaweed. Interesting. But in the end, I decided that I prefer my seaweed snacks salty.
Diverse Dimsum, where we each slurped down a xiao long bao filled with pork and soup. Can xiao long bao ever be bad? I think not. Yum.
Next up, pork tongue from Tian-Jin Chinese Restaurant. People were loving it! I was a bit thrown off…
Vacuum freeze-dried durian anyone? Hmmmm…. while pretty tasty at first bite, the aftertaste left something to be desired. Altho we all agreed: freeze-dried durian trumps real durian.
$1 Peking duck buns at Corner 28! What a steal!
And on to the original Xi’An Famous Foods, for the reknowned Chinese-style lamb burger. Spicy, intensely flavorful and greasy…. a snack delivered with a kick and a punch!
Finally, we stop by a Hindu temple and community center, where we head to the basement and pick up some mango lassi: thick, sweet yogurty treats….
which perfectly balanced the spicy dosas and accoutrements we sampled!
Super light and airy!
We were each sent home with a feng li su (Taiwanese pineapple cake), a favorite goody of mine growing up! We were all full and happy, but not DISGUSTINGLY full and feeling bad about ourselves. So of course we would have to fix that ;-).
So we made one more stop before we trekked back to Manhattan. Pho Bang for Vietnamese! Above are the fresh shrimp summer rolls.
Hot bowl of beef pho. Mmmm.
Mixed things up with a noodle soup with a kick: bun bo hue!
Tasty pork spring rolls.
Oh…. and on the way to the subway ATO grabbed some marinated squid to go…. just because. And we bought some Chinese pastries at Fay Da Bakery to indulge for the next few days ;-).
Thanks for showing us around town, Joe! And thanks to our awesome friends who each humored us, took one for the team and ate and ate and ate and ate…. ATO was a very happy bday boy!