Deciding on the spur of the moment to head off on a foodie odyssey, a quick internet search pulled up an interactive map of 20 Great Dishes from the New York Times. http://tinyurl.com/brkd8j3
We hopped on the subway and plotted our course, circling, starring and strategizing to make the most of our time and appetite. Our first stop was Nan Shian Dumpling House, previewed as a popular place. Rounding the corner, we saw the crowd, knew we had found it and started to devise Plan B. With a 30-minute wait, we took our chances and dashed off to the next nearest spot: Yipin Chinese Cuisine for cold sesame noodles. We grabbed an order to go, sampled them as we waited to cross streets, hightailed it back to Nan Shian in time to hear our name called.
Oh man, those soup dumplings are good stuff. Filling even tho they were little hollow dough balls filed with broth. Love the broth.
Our next stop was the Golden Mall, as several spots were listed at that location, including our pick: Lanzhou Handmade Noodles. This ‘mall’ no shiny retail emporium. Down some dodgy stairs, are barely defined spaces with make-shift kitchens — hot plates cook stoves and propane-fueled griddle tops. The area where Lanzhou’s hand-pulled noodle man stretched and bounced the long strips if dough barely gave him enough space to spread out his arms. We tried not to be too put off when he took on his next task and began taking out the garbage.
Golden Mall looked like a subway station but not as clean There was at least a 90 percent chance it wasn’t deserving of the posted A grade. We told ourselves: if it’s good enough for the New York Times…
The noodles were in fact delicious. While we were eating, a crowd of eager eaters were gathering across the way — not even a hall way, more like an aisle. The place was plastered with photos of celeb foodies. We took a closer look and saw pictures of none other than Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern — who is my adventurous eats idol. The place was also on the Times’ list, so we grabbed the recommended dan dan noodles with pork to go. Chewy, fresh noodles are made to order. The sauce was rich and delicious and the pork very flavorful. In between, we stopped for Bubble Tea, which is an acquired taste to say the least.
Next we hit an authentic supermarket. What would be definitely be a PETA nightmare, with live turtles countless amount of inhumanely treated fish and frogs a foot-deep in a plastic tub, the supermarkets in Flushing are not for the faint of heart. The frogs are not the nice French ones, but big bullfrogs you find in a reedy pond. Instead we shopped the for noodles. The rice and wheat noodles were stacked to the rafters in every conceivable variety. We took home rice vermicelli in bulk (which we have yet to make). Outside the display of dragon fruit was a barrage of color. Almost like the color of a Starburst fruit chew.
Though foreign and familiar at the same time, flushing definitely transports you to another world.