My friend, a former colleague and his friend, and I went to Flushing today for a food crawl in hopes of discovering new and interesting foods. The one thing that hasn’t changed in New York for me is the constant discovery of new, interesting dishes across the different regions of China represented in Flushing. It feels like every single time I go back to Flushing, as I am going into basement food stalls or the new and shiny food malls of New World Food Court or New York Food Court (as it’s generically called along Roosevelt Avenue), I’m discovering yet another region or city’s cuisine I’ve never heard of, but is just as delicious or more delicious than the dishes I have been acquainted with. Today, the three of us visited six different spots to grab food, and all were delicious. I got to have my beloved Happy Lemon salted cheese green tea with lychee jelly and introduced it to both of them.. and they loved it, even despite the initial skepticism of “salted cheese with tea — what?!” I realized the best way to sell this concept: “If you like salted caramel, then you will like salted cheese with tea.” This ended up working, and one of them was tempted to get a second drink. I even found a stall that served very similar fish and chive dumplings to Shandong Mama in Melbourne, so I will definitely be going back there. But the most surprising thing we ate today was Luo si fen, which is a pork bone and river snail soup with mixian (Yunnan) style slippery rice noodles, beef, pickled bamboo, and vegetables. The broth was sour, salty, hot and numbing like the Sichuanese peppercorns. It was kind of addictive. Even though we kept scooping through the soup to find snails, there were none. I read later that in this soup, the snails actually don’t get served; they’re merely there to “flavor” the broth. But if you think about it… do snails really have any real flavor on their own..? Regardless of that, it was definitely a highlight of the food crawl today.
Being in Flushing today and eating all the super cheap, delicious food reminded me yet again of how much I love this neighborhood and really should spend more time discovering new things there. There’s always a delicious, cheap find around the corner there. When you think of all the expensive and “just okay” meals in Manhattan, it’s really such a small price to pay to trek out to Flushing and have such a good experience there every single time.