Tacos Yancui: Astounding Mexican Street Food in Front of an Elmhurst Apartment Building
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
The menu, the blazing brasero, and four chalupas. I haven’t been this excited about a Mexican street food vendor since I stumbled upon Juguitacos stand in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma three years ago. The source of my excitement is a little stand called Tacos Yancui tucked into the side of an Elmhurst apartment building around the corner from my house. Apart from its location far from Roosevelt Avenue’s teeming Mexican street food scene what drew me to it was a cooking device known as a brasero filled with blazing hardwood charcoal. I chatted for a bit with the owner, Livorio Flores and his wif ..read more
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Park Sanbal Babs, A Korean Specialist Among Specialists
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
Park Sanbal Bab’s sole dish, long simmered beef and cabbage soup.Spring’s just about a week away, but winter’s not quite done with New York City. The blustery weather provided a perfect reason to hit up Park Sanbal Babs, a homey Korean restaurant specializing in just one dish—a beef and cabbage soup called gukbap—with my pal Jonathan Forgash. He’s a chef by trade turned community activist and restaurant advocate, and a big fan of steaming bowls of comforting stews and such, so I knew he’d be down for a mission to Murray Hill in deep Flushing. I’d heard about it this highly specialized restaur ..read more
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Rincon Criollo’s Old School Cubano Rocks
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
In my twenties, I had a thing for Cuban sandwiches. A lifetime or so later, I still do. The combination of garlicky fatty roast pork, salty ham, and Swiss cheese with pickles compressed into a slim crispy package is gloriously simple, but is not always easily achieved. I still remember the first Cuban sandwich I had in Queens. It was in 1999 at a place in Woodside called Gilberto’s. The counterman placed a cinderblock wrapped in foil atop the sandwich press to aid in compressing the Cuban bread and its ingredients. In all likelihood memory has magnified the weight’s size, but not the sandwich ..read more
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Woodside’s Basantapur Chowk Serves Up Stellar Newari Momo
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
Lord Bhairav as seen on Basantapur Chowk, Woodside’s only momo cart, and above the bar at Thamel, along with amazing fried chicken momo and a plate of steamed beef momo. Queens boasts at least half a dozen momo vendors—ranging in size from carts barely big enough to house a cook to food trucks with full kitchens—specializing in the juicy dumplings popular throughout the Himalayas and India. The lion’s share are located in Jackson Heights, many are excellent, some are merely passable, but there is none quite as good as Basantapur Chowk. The cart as seen through the window of Thamel NYC. The ca ..read more
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Francis Maling’s BBQ is Bad for Business and Good for Woodside
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
BBQ for the people as grilled and served by Francis Maling in Woodside, Queens. The first time I ever savored the smoky sweet porcine marvel that is Filipino BBQ was at Ihawan in Woodside, in the shadow of the 7 train in the neighborhood known as Little Manila.Last week I ventured out in the bitter cold to try some pinoy style grilling that’s as good as and perhaps even better than Ihawan’s. It was grilled on the street by Bad for Business Popups, brainchild of journeyman Chef Francis Maling. The street in question none other than Roosevelt Avenue hard by the 61st Woodside subway stop on the ..read more
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Yun Cafe’s Lemon Salad is a Burmese Flavor Bomb
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
Shaut thee thoke, or Burmese lemon salad, is a powerhouse of flavor. In 2013 I had the pleasure of exploring Jackson Heights with Suketu Mehta a journalism professor at New York University who grew up in the neighborhood. Back in his day, many local businesses were Gujarati, including an appliance shop that Mehta said was run by two gents named “Raj.” “Indian immigrants coming to New York would visit two places, the Statue of Liberty and Raj and Raj.”Mehta will be pleased to learn that visitors to Jackson Heights still visit the Statue of Liberty, but some like the young couple I met as I was ..read more
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Minnan Xiaochi’s Fujianese Oyster Omelet Rocks
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
“We don’t eat pork or drink alcohol,” some guests on a Flushing Chinatown food adventure told me when asked about dietary restrictions for their upcoming tour. “Perfect time to check out that oyster omelet at the Fujianese joint in the New York Food Court that Dave wrote about,” I thought to myself, for you see, I don’t like to put anything on my tours that I haven’t vetted myself. Oyster omelets are a hawker food eaten throughout Southeast Asia, but most famously at Taiwanese night markets. The first time I ate a Taiwanese one I had a raging hangover and couldn’t really stomach the gloppy co ..read more
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Mandalay Club’s Excellent Burmese Comes With a Side of Technological Frustration
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
Lamb neck and pig face from Mandalay Club whose kitchen is ensconced somewhere in the odd looking Sunnyside Eats. “After five or 10 minutes of trying to figure out how to order a guy my age will give up and go around the corner and get a slice of pizza,” I quipped to my new friend Calvin. “And not come back,” I thought to myself.Thankfully my urge to try the Burmese food from Myo Moe’s newly opened Mandalay Club outweighed my frustration with technology and the disconnect I experienced at Sunnyside Eats, a ghost kitchen/food hall that as best as I can tell opened earlier this fall. Part of th ..read more
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Nepali Bhanchha Ghar Wins Fourth Momo Crawl in a Row
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas with Chef Bimla and the belt, this year’s map, and a bowl of buffalo johl momo. “I can get momo any time. It’s just too much of a scene for me,” is usually what I say when asked about the Momo Crawl. “I prefer to pay my respects to the winner afterwards.”“You could say it’s the SantaCon of momos but I prefer to say it’s the WrestleMania,” tweeted Jeff Orlick founder of the annual event, which brings hundreds of fans hungry for Himalayan dumplings, to the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Woodside, in a reference to the coveted Momo Crawl trophy, which i ..read more
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Burmese Bites Comes to Queens Center Mall
Chopsticks and Marrow
by Joe DiStefano
4M ago
The chef recommended I try the No. 12 at the newly opened Burmese bites, shown here unmixed.Myo Lin Thway and his family who run Burmese Bites at the Queens Night Market, a specialist in palata—airy stuffed roti like bread made by Myo himself—and other goodies like ohno kaukswe, a wonderful coconut chicken noodle soup, have long been one of my favorite stands. I almost always get their noodles or palata on every visit to the market. There’s only one problem; I wish there were more options as well as the ability to get their Burmese cuisine year round. Well, thanks to the crew’s new location ..read more
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