HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >


Floor plan of Flushing food court located on Main St between Maple and Sanford (L&N)

  • e

The following is a floor plan of the food court on Main St. between Sanford Ave. and Maple Ave. This food court is located on the west side of Main St. if you’re looking at a map, and is across from A&N (Kam Sen) grocery store.

Some of the stalls may change, and the name of the whole food court may change as well, but now I think it is still labeled "L&N" market on the outside of the building.

The list starts way in back, and moves forward towards the front door:

1. Hand pulled noodles: La mien is the specialty at this stall way in back. Walk down the main long corridor and turn left, you will be directly facing it. Red sign with white characters.

2. Sichuan: One of the two stalls adjacent to the eating area. Go to the end of the first long corridor upon entering the building and the corridor turns to the left with the eating area to the right. This stall will be on your right after you turn left. There is no stall directly across the corridor from it. White sign with red characters.

This is one of the three most authentic Sichuan places we’ve found in Flushing -- the second one being Xiao La Jiao and the third one being small restaurant/stall located in a mini-mall on the corner of Main and 41st, on the corner closer to Sanford than Kissena. The mini-mall where this third place is located is on the same side of the street as the L&N food court. It is a downstairs mini-mall; look for the orange stairwell descending from street level, and walk down the stairs, the Sichuan place will be immediately on your left at the bottom of the stairs.

3. Guizhou: This is the second stall adjacent to the eating area. It is the last stall on the right of the main long corridor when you enter the building. It looked like they specialize in beef and lamb noodle dishes. Red sign with white characters.

4. Islamic: Across from the Guizhou stall, it is the very last stall on the left of the first long corridor when you enter the building. This place looks fairly big; they may be using the space of two stalls. They also have a breakfast section on the menu. Yellow signs with black or blue letters.

5. Islamic: Going back to the opposite side of the corridor, next to the Guizhou stall, and closer to the front of the building, is another halal stall. They seem to be closed on Sundays. I think the sign was probably yellow with black or blue characters, but maybe it was red with white characters.

6, 7 and 8. The remaining three stalls in the front of the long corridor toward the front door of the building have lengthy general menus; maybe one or more had a Fujian bent. Two are on the side of the Guizhou and Muslim place, but nearer to the front of the building, and the other one is in the very beginning of the hallway of the building on the left as you enter the building; it is next to a stall that is not a food stall.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. thanks for the floorplan. have you tried any of these places? if so, what would you recommend? besides the sichuan place, which stalls did you really like? and what would you recommend from the sichuan stall?

    5 Replies
    1. re: missmasala

      Upon entering the mini mall on the right. The people who sell the Bings are people who are with the Bing Lady in the Village...Roll & Dough.

      1. re: designerboy01

        I've been to this mall before, but never knew it was the one being described here. I highly recommend the pan fried buns (sheng qian bao) at the first stall on the right as you go into the mall. 3 for a dollar, usually very fresh (as they sell out quickly) and although it might be blasphemy to say so, better or equal to any of the ones I've had in Taiwan.

        In another bun related tasting, the napa cabbage pork steamed buns in the middle of the Prince Shopping Center (the one with the Best North Dumpling Shop) are also very good. Two buns for a dollar.

        1. re: spchang

          recently, i went to the stall spchang is describing above. for a description and photos of the sheng jian bao that i ate there, check out this link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/249860

          in short, i commented on the other thread that the sheng jian bao at this stall, which is apparently run by people from fujian province, were indeed quite good - albeit different than what i'd been expecting.

          at this stall, we also ordered a bing filled with pork and cabbage that had been stewed in a red marinade. my taiwanese friend referred to this as "hong zao", which the lady at the stall confirmed. the exterior of the bing had sesame seeds, of course - mostly plain, but a few black ones as well. the bing was hot and fresh at 2pm, and quite good.

          here are some pictures of the bing. the latter two show the red interior of the bing after it had been opened up:


          and here are photos of the stall's signs. the first one would appear to bear the stall's name, while the second has the name plus the full menu:

          1. re: surly

            Yes it is Fujianese because it says Fuzhou 福州 in the sign. Great photos:
            badaboom badabing!

            1. re: Brian S

              awesome. can't wait to try more at this stall. seemed like most people were ordering soups from this place, and everything looked great.

    2. Unfortunately can't help out with any place other than the Sichuan stall.

      Items to order at any of the three decent Sichuan places in Flushing include:

      1. pao cai (vegetarian),
      2. liang fen (vegetarian),
      3. dou maio (vegetarian),
      4. mabodoufu (can be vegetarian),
      5. dry string beans (can be vegetarian),
      6. leng mian (can be vegetarian),
      7. huo guo (only at Xiao La Jiao. can be vegetarian if the broth is vegetarian, would have to ask.),
      8. boiled peanuts (vegetarian, but only found at the downstairs mini-mall, and watch out for the msg)
      9. er duo,
      10. fuqipeipian,
      11. sliced pork stomach (Xiao La Jiao has a good version),
      12. preserved duck (the downstairs mini-mall place on corner of Main and 41st has a good version).

      1. "This is one of the three most authentic Sichuan places we’ve found in Flushing -- the second one being Xiao La Jiao ..."

        Apologies if this sounds picky but unless they're fluent in Chinese no one will ever find Xiao La Jiao because the only English language name that appears on their sign is "Little Pepper."

        133-43 Roosevelt Ave.
        (Between prince and College Point Blvd.)

        1. Thanks for the rundown (the awning says J&L Mall). I took some visiting in-laws there a few weeks ago, part of an afternoon-long nosh around Flushing. They're from Sichuan, now living in Seattle, and they were pleasantly surprised to see such an authentic Chinese place in the states. (Their favorite New York restaurant was Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan. They didn't try any other Sichuan places except the Main and 41st Ave. shopping-mall stand, Chengdu Tian Fu. Nice cold spicy meat plates there.)

          We didn't eat at J&L, but we took pictures of a few menus and the visitors helped translate parts of them. I took notes but missed a bunch of stuff. Tried to fill in the gaps using James McCawley's "Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters" and the Fuchsia Dunlop Sichuan cookbook. Below are menus for the two stalls at the back of J&L Mall. Apologies for errors, omissions, out-of-focus photos, etc.

          YUAN JI LA MIEN, the hand-pulled noodle stall at the rear of the mall: http://s127.photobucket.com/albums/p1...

          1: Red-cooked (soy-simmered) beef noodles. 2: Five-spice lamb noodles. 3: Red-in-snow (salted mustard greens) and shredded pork noodles. 4: Egg and tomato noodles. 5: Zha jiang (fried bean sauce) noodles. 6: Beef tendon noodles. Large bowl $4, small bowl $3.50. Two items are listed below the numbered items (both $3): stir-fried beef or lamb noodles, and soup with miscellaneous lamb parts.

          SICHUAN CHENGDU, the Sichuan stand: http://s127.photobucket.com/albums/p1...

          Sichuan fans might take note of the first two characters in dish #4 in the far left column on the menu: ma (numbing) and la (hot), the classic flavor combination created by Sichuan peppercorns and chiles. Ma la dishes recur throughout the menu. Other common Sichuan seasonings include hong yu, or red oil, i.e. chile oil with some soy sauce and sugar (see the first two characters in #7 under cold dishes) and "fish fragrance," i.e. garlic, ginger, scallions, chiles and other flavors typically used with fish (see the first two characters in #1 under hot dishes).

          Some puzzlements: Noodle dishes #3 and #10 have the same name; don't know what that's about. Item #17 on the same menu, "Crossing the Bridge" (rice noodles and meat in chicken broth), is not from Sichuan but from Yunnan to the south; maybe the version here is somehow Sichuanized. And I'm not sure about cold dishes #14 and #23, noodle dish #7, and hot dishes #4 and #6.

          The menu is divided into three sections. From left:

          COLD DISHES ($3-$8): 1: "Husband-and-wife" sliced meats (often beef brisket and tripe). 2: Pickled chicken feet. 3: Pressed rabbit in chile oil. 4: Ma la cubed rabbit. 5: Boiled pork with mashed garlic. 6: Shredded pork ear in chile oil. 7: Tripe in chile oil. 8: Ma la intestine. 9: Ma la beef tendon. 10: Jiang xiang (sweet-salty fermented-wheat flavor) beef tendon. 11: Ma la beef. 12: Five-spice beef. 13: Ma la chicken cubes. 14: Ma la "four cubes" (pork?). 15: Strange-flavor shredded chicken. 16: Dry-fried spicy chicken. 17: Cucumber with mashed garlic. 18: Ma la dried bean curd. 19: Minced pork with black-eyed peas. 20: Chengdu pickled vegetable. 21: Ma la carrot, garlic and seaweed. 22: Shredded seaweed with garlic 23: Five-spice "bean tendon" (?). 24: Ma la pork skin.

          NOODLES AND DUMPLINGS ($2.50-$5): 1: Vegetable noodles. 2: Intestine noodles. 3: Chengdu cold noodles. 4: Chengdu dan dan (preserved vegetable and minced pork) noodles. 5: Red-cooked beef noodles. 6: Sichuan flavor beef noodles. 7: (?) pepper zha jiang noodles (might mean vegetarian, not sure). 8: Zha jiang noodles in clear soup. 9: Pickled mustard greens and shredded pork noodles. 10: Chengdu cold noodles. 11: Chengdu sesame paste noodles. 12: Intestine rice noodles. 13: Beef rice noodles. 14: Hot and sour rice noodles. 15: Chengdu cold rice noodles. 16: North Sichuan cold rice noodles. 17: "Crossing the Bridge" rice noodles. 18: "Zhong" small pork dumplings. 19: "Long" chao shou (pork wonton, possibly served with chile oil). 20: Chao shou (pork wonton) in clear soup.

          HOT DISHES ($3-$14): 1: Fish-fragrance shredded pork. 2: Twice-cooked pork (simmered then stir-fried with chile-bean sauce). 3: Flash-fried kidney "flowers" (thin-sliced and scored). 4: Dry-fried (?) green beans. 5: Ma po dofu. 6: "Oil soup duck" (?). 7: Sichuan ma la sausage.

          2 Replies
          1. re: squid kun

            Wow, Sichuan Chengdu is amazing! I ate at this stall a couple of weeks ago. Now I wish I lived closer to Flushing. Maybe I'll look for apartments in Queens.

            I should've taken a print-out of the above post of translations with me, but it was a spur-of-the-moment trip to Flushing, so I wasn't prepared. I ended up trying ma po tofu (a.k.a. ma po dofu), #5 on the hot dishes menu. I actually meant to order that other kind of tofu, I think tofu *skin* (#18 on the cold dishes menu maybe?), which was described to me by a cool young English speaking Chengdu native as "ma la fu tu."

            But another guy tried to help me and ordered the wrong thing, but that's OK because the ma po tofu was really, really great. I strongly recommend it. It was made to order in a giant wok while I watched. Took maybe 10 minutes. However, I haven't been to Spicy & Tasty or Xiao La Jiao (Little Pepper) yet, so I can't compare its taste against those. They undoubtedly have more decor and a more friendly environment. The proprietor of the Sichuan Chengdu stall was pretty busy and a little gruff and it took a while to get his attention, and no English is spoken there, which is why I ended up with other customers' generous help.

            Also, I had to go back and request rice, which is free with the meal, but only after the young guy taught me the phrase for rice. Now I'm trying to remember what this was. "Meee la" or "meee na" or something like that?

            Then, in one of the little seating areas, I was talking to the young Chengdu-ese guy, who let me try some of his and his friends' choices from that stall too. I forget what it all was, but there was a VERY tasty dish of two or three different kinds of cold pork, and a very nice big soup with tomatoes in it. Mmmmmmmmmm.

            Entertainingly, this dude was saying, "THIS is real Chinese food! You like? That chicken sweet-and-sour shit, that's not Chinese! I don't eat out much, only here. Me and my friends can make better food than most places. I maybe will start my own restaurant and serve better food than most of these places. That's not real Chinese!" (Paraphrased.) I tried to explain that there are a bunch of people on the Internet who agree with him totally.

            The only problem was that many people were, um, smoking. Sheesh. I hate cigarette smoke, but the ma po tofu was so good that I forgot all about it. Also, the whole food court perhaps wasn't the cleanest, but all that spice in that tofu dish could probably kill just about any kind of germs in the world.

            Next time I really want to try the green beans (#4 on hot dishes); fish-fragrance shredded pork (#1); pickled mustard greens and shredded pork noodles; ma la carrot garlic and seaweed, etc.

            This is one of my favorite chow experiences EVER. It probably helps to go with a Chinese friend, but it worked out OK for me -- although being a bit shy, I was hanging around for a while trying to figure things out before I ordered.

            1. re: Ike

              Re the smoking thing, I encountered the same problem - to a lesser degree - at a great little noodle place ( http://www.chowhound.com/topics/350358) in the mall down the street. It wasn't everybody - just two guys - in full view of the employees and a no smoking sign. I can definitely relate to your great chow experience, but the smoking is one of the few things that can put a damper on that for me.

          2. Awesome post!! Is this the same mall I wrote about last year? If it is (or even if it isn't) I'll have to go back!!!


            2 Replies
            1. re: Brian S

              That's right, same place. I think the spicy noodle soup you wrote about is now #14 on the noodle menu.

              1. re: squid kun

                Cool! I'll have to go back for a full meal. For the record, the address of the mall is 41-82 Main Street. It's worth a visit even if you don't eat there. It's as bracing as a trip to Kowloon and a lot cheaper.

              1. It's like the Rosetta Stone of Chowhound!!!!!!

                1. Anyone here know more about the Guizhou stall? Guizhou is a rather isolated province and tourists weren't allowed there back when I backpacked around China. I believe it was perhaps the last region to submit to central government control, and as late as the 18th century the local Miao people (related to the Hmong of Laos) would lie in wait on hilltops, ready to drop big boulders on any govt troops foolhardy enough to walk past.

                  A Times reporter visited there last year, and wrote that they make an entirely different version of Kung Pao chicken. (Many people from Sichuan emigrated to Guizhou starting in the 16th century, so maybe they brought the kung pao recipe with them.) Like any region of China (or the world, for that matter) the Guizhou people boast that their version is the original, and the best. I'd love to try it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Brian S

                    Been meaning to post this menu, too. I didn't get the in-laws to look this one over, which is too bad, since they're from neighboring Sichuan and might have been a big help. Hope someone who knows the cuisine and the language can fill in the gaps, correct mistakes, etc.

                    The menu is pretty terse and doesn't hint at what makes these dishes Guizhou style. After poking around online, I'd expect spicy broths, maybe with a sour note and some exotic mountain flora (if it's available here). Next time I'm there, I'll go hungry and just dig in.

                    GUIZHOU BEEF RICE NOODLES: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p1...

                    BEEF (column 1): Beef rice noodles (large bowl). Beef rice noodles (small bowl). Tripe rice noodles. Tendon rice noodles. Beef soup.

                    LAMB OR MUTTON (column 2): Lamb organ rice noodles. Lamb rice noodles. Lamb soup. Lamb organ soup.

                    HOT POTS (column 3): Beef hot pot. Lamb hot pot. Lamb organ hot pot.

                    The yellow sheet hanging below the main menu appears to offer beef, tendon, or tripe, but I'm not sure about the preparation. The first character is sauce or gravy, the second might be something about dried or pickled stuff.

                    1. re: squid kun

                      A belated thanks to you, Squid Kun, as I made my return to the food court today, and had the Beef Rice Noodles from column 1, the big size.

                      First off, the service was super friendly. One of the guys spoke a little English, which I wasn't counting on. Once I paid, he told me to wait in the adjacent seating area, and he would serve me. The noodles, although not handmade on the premises, had the firmness and texture that I like, and stayed that way once immersed in the subtle beef broth. What sets this noodle soup experience apart from, say, Super Taste on Eldridge, is that the beef, most of it lying in wait at the bottom of the gigantic white plastic tub, was of a higher quality, tender and very flavorful. For four dollars, you are getting the type of ingredients for which they could easily charge double that amount. You can control the spice factor, by liberally adding on the hot condiment which they lay right on top of the heaping mountain of noodles, perhaps the most generous portion I have encountered in the city.

                      Yet another winner along that two block stretch of Main Street's malls and food courts. If I can't hit every restaurant in any of NY's Chinatowns, being able to hit every stand in this mall and at the Golden Mall (41-28 Main) is as worthy a consolation prize as there is. I look forward to hitting the hand pulled noodle stand next.

                      1. re: Polecat

                        Hey, thank *you*, Polecat - that lamb noodle soup is high on my list. Too bad it's 70 degrees out this weekend!

                  2. Can I say that Squid Kun deserves drinks, wealth and endless sexual delights for the services he has rendered our stomachs and tongues. I'm happy to provide you with the first, Squid, the other two I can only wish you luck on...

                    1. And a quick shout out to Eade for starting this thread!!

                      1. question: are the islamic chinese stalls in this food court hui, or uighur? thanks.

                        1. I started off the new year - albeit a day late - with a bang, by hitting up the Chengdu stand and ordering a delicious and plentiful bowl of glassy noodles, which, according to Squid Kun's excellent post/photos, turned out to be the Sweet And Sour Rice Noodle Soup.

                          I just figured that I would hit the mall, locate the stand, and take a chance, the only characters I know being those for "noodles" and "soup" - which I had culled from a Chinese cookbook. I just pointed to the noodle/dumpling (middle) menu, said, "number 14, please", and let the magic ensue. Was really glad I did.

                          First off, the broth, though a tad greasy, was loaded with flavor, and had a kick a mile high and ten feet wide in either direction. This soup packed some serious heat - it cleared my sinuses and then some. But, as I have noticed before when it comes to Sichuan heat, it was not the type to make me feel like I'm on fire, but more like a tingling, breezy feeling around my mouth and lips, a relieving heat. The glassy noodles, reminiscent to me of Korean Jap Chae, were piled high and fresh tasting, laced here and there with sprouts. The topper was a bunch of round nuts, floating in the soup like bunches of tiny islands, adding yet more texture and salty flavor to what is one of the more delicious and unique noodle soups I've had in many a Chinese moon. In all, this set me back to the tune of $2.50 (leaving room, both monetarily and gastronomically for a scallion pancake at AA Plaza).

                          Love the mall. If offers up so many exciting and dirt-cheap choices. Thanks to eade and all for this excellent thread, which serves as a reminder as to what makes Chowhound what it is at its' best - a fascinating, informative and, ultimately, yummy resource. Can't wait to try more stuff at 41-82 Main.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Polecat

                            Oops. I wrote "Sweet and Sour", didn't I? It's actually "Hot and Sour Rice Noodles". P.

                          2. Returned, yet again - this time with my wife and four-month old son (not to worry, parents:
                            no one is out of place at this wonderful mall, which seems to exist somewhere outside of place and time).

                            Had the lamb noodle soup at the hand-pulled stand in back, what Squid Kun refers to above as being Yuan Ji La Mien. The flat noodles - somewhat serated at the edges - were, not surprisingly, fantastic and as fresh as can be, piled high in a hearty, thick subtle beef broth. The chunks of lamb, although good, are no match for the tender gobs of buttery joy available at the Flat Lamb Noodle Stand at the Golden Mall (41-28 Main, about two blocks away), nor were they as good as the tasty slabs of beef available at the Guizhou Beef Rice Noodle stand. All said and done, though, this is yet another excellent option at this food court.

                            My wife went for the Dan Dan Mian at the Chengdu stand. They are every bit as good as Arete describes in her excellent post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/355768
                            Although Arete claims they are better than those available at S&T, I would like to do another taste test. Both are excellent, but I think the nature of the spiciness is somewhat different.
                            My mouth was tingling after eating the Dan Dan at S&T, here not so much.

                            Anyhow, it is hard to go wrong at J & L, although I admittedly went too far when I had a sesame flecked bing-looking object, sold at a stand that is diagonally across from the Guizhou stand. It was good, with a greasy, buttery taste - no filling. Not surprisingly, it is now doing cartwheels in my stomach.

                            What to try next?

                            1. You people are extreme. My kind of people... Good posts!

                              1. This has officially become a habit.

                                I returned, yet again, to J&L's Chengdu stand, to satisfy a serious hankering for their Hot and Sour soup (number 14 on the middle menu) that had been building up since my previous "encounter", on 1/2.

                                Perhaps, because of the cold, sleep deprivation, or who knows what, my second go-round with this utterly uncompromising dish bordered on the surreal. He piled on the noodles this time, glassy elastic, practically unbreakable wonders that worked in unison with the broth to create what almost seemed like a super sludge, albeit with roasted peanuts bobbing like buoys along the peaks and valleys along with scallions at the bowl's perimiters. Although this soup packs heat, it does not burn you up from the insides and make you feel like you're on fire. Rather, you feel it around your mouth. My lips were vibrating, my tongue following suit and continuing to buzz like a beehive well after I had slurped my last noodle.

                                I'm not necessarily recommending this soup for what ails you on a frigid winter's day, unlike, say, some of the hearty beef noodle soups offered at J&L. Nor do I pretend to know for sure how this Sichuan Hot and Sour rates on the authenticity scale, although, based on some previous posts, I'm guessing that this might be close. What this soup is, without a doubt, is a true Hot and Sour experience. You get the impression that the chef takes it all the way. Highly recommended for Sichuan enthusiasts.

                                1. J&L, as well as the Golden Shopping Mall, have finally made the "mainstream". Check out the second page (towards the bottom) of this Times article:

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Polecat

                                    Maybe it's just my browser or my particular Times log-in name, but for some reason, that link didn't work for me (not for free, anyway). But a different one did. If anybody else is having the same problem, here's the alternate link for that article:


                                    1. re: Ike

                                      I never got to the floor plan. After reading several raves for lazy, obvious third rate alternatives (Omonia??), i got to this line:

                                      " Greek cuisine does not, even at its best, ascend to great heights."

                                      And closed my browser window.

                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                        Ha. I must've skimmed past that part. And if you think that's bad, you should hear about the NY Times editor who went on a vindictive rampage when he realized someone lied to him as part of an innocent WFMU radio stunt. At least in this case, J&L and the Golden Shopping Mall are getting some well-deserved attention, hopefully giving them more business and keeping them going.

                                        But anyway, because these places feature so little English, I'd love to learn some basic Mandarin food terms. Can anyone recommend any web sites focusing on teaching a little basic Mandarin food terminology to Sichuan- and dumpling-crazed hounds? I'd like to head back to this place and not seem like a total ding-dong.

                                  2. i had to chuckle when i read that line in the article. it was like deja vu for me.

                                    i believe william grimes said the same thing about korean food back around 2000 in a long article about the cuisine (on the front page of the dining section, no less). i'm pretty sure the article was meant to be an "introduction" to korean food for the uninitiated - which would've been fine if the man actually knew anything about the cuisine. instead, in trying to "guide" his intended audience (whom he arrogantly presumed to be clueless), he demonstrated that his grasp of the cuisine was, at best, limited and rudimentary. he also dismissed korean food as "peasant food" in a way that suggested its innate inferiority compared with more "sophisticated" cuisines. in short, i was pretty annoyed by the tone of the article, as were many members of the korean community whom i spoke with at the time. my dad just laughed, though.

                                    i'm amazed that people like him who don't always know what they're talking about can get away with such broad, sweeping generalizations. as a food critic he shouldn't bite off more than he can chew. it's ok for a food critic to be unfamiliar with a cuisine as long as they're humble about it and willing to learn like the rest of us.

                                    anyhow, jim, if you haven't been to j & l mall yet, you should definitely check it out. as you've probably guessed, two of the most popular stalls there are the sichuan and qing zhen northern islamic vendors. i also had some good, albeit slightly different, sheng jian bao at the fujian stall (first one on the right as you enter). and the dan dan noodles and chengdu liang mien (cold noodles topped with peanuts) at the sichuan stall are possibly the best i've had anywhere in ny.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: surly

                                      I love reading food "experts" from the first half of the 20th century. it's all pompous ignorance. Chinese food is for babies, since all the food's cut up for you. Italian food is fine if you don't mind cheese melted over every single dish - though risotto, the local pilaf, is an exception. Veal stew is an excellent order [not, like, in a specific restaurant...it just IS]. Etc etc. Hysterically funny wackjobs galore. I'd thought the last of these windbags died out by 1990 or so, raving in some old age home, going on and on to the attendants about the glories of hasenpfeffer and screaming at them for bringing soup smelling remotely of garlic.

                                      As for it being ok for a food critic to not know the cuisine at hand, would you be equally tolerant of an art critic who humbly learned, say, abstract expressionism "along with the rest of us" as he deigned to review an exhibition?

                                      But back to the mall....yeah, I went. I went to the lamb noodle place. The owner put on his make-nice-with-the-gringos-face, and I tried to get past that by asking "this is the Henanese place, right?" This only slightly startled him. He nonetheless crashed down forks (simply because we've made a beeline for his booth and know his region doesn't mean we could possibly have learned the harder lesson of chopstick control), I did my usual routine of holding two forks up like chopsticks and looking forlorn at how poorly they function. But nothing couldn't break through the gringo barrier. But loved the stuff. Loved also the sandwiches akin to venezuelan arepas. Loved a bit less the daffy middle aged vendor woman who took a hankering to me and spent the entire meal next to my table doing the eeriest spacy dance (no, not any sort of chi qong...looked more like slo-mo Hawaiian) you could possibly imagine at me. I was half expecting to grow a third arm or find gold coins popping out of my mouth. Eek.

                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                        yeah, I'm a little confused as to where you were as well. the "arepas" is the tip-off that maybe you were downstairs at the Golden Shopping mall.

                                        As for the "gringo" treatment, it sounds like you're taking it a little too personally. How are they supposed to know how much you know? They're just trying to be helpful. I've gotten the same treatment at both J&L and Golden Shopping Mall. At the Chengdu Sichuan stand at J&L, the proprietor felt that he had to instruct me to mix the noodles with the chopsticks before digging in.

                                        1. re: Polecat

                                          Yeah, Polecat and Surly, I'm talking golden. Sorry, wrong place.

                                          Polecat, do you think (or ought he) that many clueless gringos walk in enthusing over Henanese cuisine by name?

                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                            I truly don't know, nor do I know what he ought to think. As I've mentioned, I have gotten this treatment at both malls; some people assume you don't know much. I've been to the stall you're talking about, got what I consider to be gracious treatment, good service and a very good bowl of lamb noodle soup. If I was, indeed, getting "the make-nice-with-the-gringos treatment", then so be it. The chow was worth it.

                                            1. re: Polecat

                                              i should add that i've also received iffy treatment at j & l mall, golden shopping mall, and other chinese stalls in flushing and throughout the city where the proprietors and patrons exclusively speak mandarin or cantonese - and i'm asian. at first they'll speak in their native tongue to me, but since i'm not chinese and don't speak the language, i'll respond with the same hand gestures and pointing that any non-chinese/non-asian out there would do. then they look at me with this really confused look, sometimes continuing to speak in their native tongue, while all the patrons STARE at me, bewildered by my presence and my english-only language skills. seriously, people will drop what they're doing, stop conversations mid-sentence, and then point and talk about me loudly. if you've been to these places, you'll know what i mean.

                                              to avoid this, i try to go to these places with mandarin-speaking friends. but ultimately it doesn't bother me too much. i'd guess that a lot of these people never interact with non-chinese, or even other asian ethnicities for that matter. many are fresh arrivals from the mother country. so it's a little weird for them to see someone on their turf who's obviously not one of theirs. i really don't think it's anything personal on their behalf, just a lack of prior exposure.

                                              you know, a native chinese person can live in the chinese section of flushing for years and never have to learn english - everything they need is right there. same goes for the korean sections of flushing/murray hill, fort lee/palisades park, nj, or LA's koreatown.

                                              no doubt, these types of experiences can be quite an adventure. but again, if you can bring along someone who speaks the language it'll make things so much easier.

                                              1. re: surly

                                                I've noticed that some waiters disapprove of Americans of Chinese ancestry who do not take the time to learn Chinese, and perhaps the stall proprietors you met think that that is what is going on.

                                                1. re: Brian S

                                                  yeah, that may very well be what's going through their minds. i asked my taiwanese friend if he thought these people took me for a chinese american who simply couldn't speak the language, or a non-chinese asian. he said probably the former. which is funny, because when i go to korean places, they pretty much assume you're NOT korean if you don't speak the language. not to mention, china's obviously a massive country with many differences in dialect and appearance based on region, so if you look east asian, as i do, they'll probably assume you're chinese. but korea's a much smaller country and there isn't as much variety in terms of appearance.

                                    2. "As for it being ok for a food critic to not know the cuisine at hand, would you be equally tolerant of an art critic who humbly learned, say, abstract expressionism "along with the rest of us" as he deigned to review an exhibition?"

                                      haha fair enough. i guess i felt a little guilty about ripping grimes and thought i ought to cut him some slack, as korean cuisine wasn't nearly as "mainstream" in ny as it is now. but you're right, if he didn't know his stuff when making these comments, then he doesn't deserve a break. it's funny, i actually saw the man at the "soft" opening for this (now closed) fancy pants korean bbq restaurant on 36th street back in 2003; his review of the place came out shortly afterward. every time i noticed him in the room i kept getting flashbacks to that article from 2000, and would think to myself, "this is the person responsible for telling the ny times readership whether this place is any good?" needless to say, he liked this restaurant while most of my friends and i hated it.

                                      anyhow, re: j & l mall -
                                      when you say you went to the lamb noodle place, are you referring to the one in the back left of j & l mall next to the sichuan stall, or the one 2 blocks to the north in the golden shopping mall (which polecat brought to our attention a few months back)? because the latter one serves a much better version of the flat noodle lamb soup. whereas the j & l noodle stand is actually one of the only stalls there that i'm not crazy about, though to be fair i haven't tried most of their menu.

                                      re: the arepa-esque xi'an sandwiches in the basement of the golden shopping mall, yeah, they're quite good. on one of my recent visits there, i too encountered a strange woman yelling and dancing in the hallway right next to the stall. it was simultaneously amusing and distracting, but my friend, who speaks mandarin, said it had something to do with the chinese new year festivities. anyhow, i think everyone sitting in our area had a good laugh. i wonder if this is the same woman you're talking about.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: surly

                                        Surly, I went to Suen Ji Lamb Heui Mian at 41-28 Main today (Wednesday 2/28). [You go up a few steps and the stall is on the right-hand-side at the top of the stairs -- opposite a hair salon]. I find the noodle guy there to be very cordial.
                                        It's my third visit there and I think he's getting to know me. He doesn't ask ' what size ' anymore, [just gives me a large] and today he even walked the soup over to my table when it was ready. The soup was well prepared. I especially love those bean curd sheets, with the ridged edges, that are thinly cut to resemble noodles. Delicious! I'd like to note that noodle guy is better at his job than noodle woman. Noodle woman prepared my dish the visit prior to this, and the entire top of my soup was laden with lamb fat. I don't think noodle guy would attempt this disservice to anybody, a non-asian or otherwise. N.B. I'll also mention that I spiced that soup up today big time. Whew! Talk about fire-breather. Nice!

                                        As for others who would consider trying out the place ... don't be intimidated ... noodle guy is pretty cool. ; ) Enjoy.

                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                          cool, glad to hear that you like it. also good to know that the lady working there isn't quite as skilled as the man. every time i've been to this stall, he's done all the preparation of my soup, and in each instance it has been great.

                                          1. re: surly

                                            Surly, have you ever seen this in your travels ... ?
                                            Simple yet sophisticated preparations like this often fascinate me.

                                            Have a look --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3c_RI...

                                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                                              It might be closer than you think:


                                              That restaurant is a Chowhound favorite.

                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                Thanks Brian! Sheng Wang for "peel noodle".
                                                Fast food? No. More like rapid-fire food. Gotta love it. : )

                                      2. My wife and I went to J & L Mall yesterday ( 2/28/07) . Before writing about the food,etc, I'd like to thank Eade, Squid Kun and all the others who "cracked" the menus and layout for the rest of us. I'd been there several times after reading, I think, Hling's initial write-up but always was a little too overwelmed to eat there.

                                        But yesterday, with notes in hand, we delved in. We stopped first at the entrance to have some dumplings. We've had all kinds of dumplings and bing before but never steamed and then pan fried and this big before. They were good, if a little difficult to handle.

                                        We then headed to Sichuan Chengdu. Although I took several years of Mandarin Chinese in college, it was over thirty years ago and my "Guo You" is almost now non-existent. The counter man came out from behind and let me point to the selections we wanted. We ordered Dan Dan Noodles, Twice-cooked Pork and Ma Po Dofu. The Noodles came out first. They were really different from anything I've had in a Chinese place in a long time. While they were tasty, the flavors were muted yet pleasing. The spice factor was really interesting. They were certainly spicy but not overpowering.... more than enough to give your lips and tongue a "Buzz" and made my bald head sweat but not scaldingly so.
                                        Next the Dofu. We had this dish just last week at the Cantonese place on Prince and I've made it more than once at home. But this was much saltier and hotter than I've ever had it before. We even had it at S & T recently and I don't even remember it being in the same league as yesterdays. (The last time at S & T, the most memorable dish was one we didn't order....Stinky Dofu)

                                        And then the Twice-cooked pork.....which I really liked but.....What I didn't know was that the pork was going to be pork belly....so it was really pretty fatty...which I didn't mind (altho my wife did) and was so rich I couldn't eat alot of it....also it was really oily which also added to the richness....but I also loved the peppers that came with it...they, coupled with the pork and scallions was really delicious and really nicely spiced. We clearly over ordered but then got to take home a good deal of left-overs which the counterman very willingly packed up for us. All in all, with two sodas the tab was $16. Not bad ....Not Bad

                                        On the way out, we stopped by the stand, at the bend and one of the men spoke to us. He said next time we should have the lamb or beef soup from that stand. (This is NOT the last stand in the mall....it was the last stand on the right just before the common eating area. I asked him what region the food was from and he said Guizhou....so next time we'll try .
                                        Also, I'd like to ask if anyone knows what the big, big doughy fried "dumplings?" were stuffed with.They were the size of a small hero. They were also prominently displayed.

                                        All in all, a really wonderful eating experience......Again , my thanks to the Hounds that did the real work here.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: toby1355

                                          check it out, r. sietsema of the village voice wrote about j & l mall in his most recent article:


                                          first it's mentioned in the ny times, and now the voice? what's hilarious is that most of the people who work and eat there don't know and probably don't care about the mainstream media attention.

                                        2. Bumping this thread because I can't get enough of it! Any updates, or recent epiphanies?

                                          I'll be in NYC for 10 days toward the end of the month and it looks like I'll want to spend at least half of them in Flushing!

                                          It would be nice to hook up with some of you Flushing Mall Rats, so anyone interested in a joint crawl can email me,


                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: Gary Soup

                                            I'm gonna be trawling flushing tomorrow with some friends, headed to both J&L Mall and also Golden Mall, and then maybe hit up King 5 Noodle for some some salty soy milk, but we'll see how far we last. dropped you an email, so lemme know, ya?

                                            1. re: Gary Soup

                                              I went in today and it's back in action!

                                              1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                is this actually the J&L mall? from the description on the first post, I think that's what it is, just want to make sure this is the place where everyone thought was shut down, potentially because of an unpaid electric bill? if you can, please respond on this thread as well:


                                                thanks in advance. and speaking of which; anything changed?

                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                  I stopped in the J&L Mall myself, July 20, late morning. Several of the vendors seemed to be just getting under way, but all of them looked to be still in business.

                                                  Golden Mall was going great guns, too. If you're headed for that much-discussed lamb noodle soup, the shortest route through the mall is to enter on 41st Rd., through the doorway at left where the lady in the salmon-colored top is exiting (much easier to see if you click on the photo), and climb the stairs. Even if you make your approach from Main St., though, it's not hard to follow the bright yellow signs.

                                                  Golden Shopping Mall
                                                  41-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                                                  J&L Mall
                                                  41-82 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                                                  1. re: DaveCook

                                                    As of October, and likely earlier, the lamb noodle soup joint has redecorated. Nicer photos on the walls, TV and VCR in better working order, no more yellow signs with the toque-wearing chef as in the photo in my post above, either inside or outside Golden Mall. After dim sum at Ocean Jewels, I didn't have room for a bowl, but it looked like the same fellow behind the counter.

                                                    1. re: DaveCook

                                                      You don't know how many times I've been in that mall searching for the toque-wearing chef. I saw lamb noodle soup, but figured that's not the one.

                                                      To avoid confusion, this lamb noodle soup at the stall formerly known by the toque-wearing chef is at the mall at 41-28 Main Street, even though this thread is mostly about the mall at 41-82 Main Street.

                                              2. I went by the mall last Friday afternoon to check up on the Sichuan place, but it was completely shuttered. Anyone know if they've closed up, or if I was just unlucky and went when they weren't open?

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                  I was also there on Friday; the Sichuan place wasn't the only stall that was shuttered. By my count, the two back-most noodle soup joints were also shuttered, as well as the back seating area (the one with the lone maritime painting on the wall). It also looked as if some renovating was about to happen; things looked as if they were in flux.

                                                  1. re: Polecat

                                                    This isn’t a one day occurrence. I was at the mall on June 28th or 29th, a hot day. Several stalls were shuttered while the operators of other stalls were milling around. Portable fans and makeshift lighting gave it the feeling of the stall in the movie Chung king Express when the utility bill wasn’t paid. I asked the Guizhou stall folks, but we lacked enough common language to connect. Hopefully it is something as simple as a gas bill.

                                                    1. re: wew

                                                      Happened by that block and this place looks very much defunct. Shutters down, door opened but all dark inside with sidewalk vendors storing goods inside and hawking across the frontage.

                                                      1. re: corgi

                                                        really? when was that? what time of day?

                                                        1. re: ndl

                                                          There was another post about this. The place had to close because the landlord will be tearing it down to build condos. That half of the block will be gone for the new building. I heard the Vietnamese restaurant on the corner has already closed, too.

                                                          1. re: Robotron

                                                            The photos below, of the J&L Mall at 41-82 Main St., Flushing, were taken at about noon on January 19. If someone can translate the signs in the second photo, perhaps we'll have a lead on one or more of the vendors. You can also see an enlarged version of that second photo at: http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?...

                                                            1. re: DaveCook

                                                              I cruised by the mall on Jan 8 and saw those signs. Here's what I learned:

                                                              The people who sold the bings at the front of the mall now sell their wares, including bings, toward the back of a Chinese fast-food joint at 41-40 Main Street.

                                                              The Guizhou stand that had meat stews and soups is setting up a stall in the tiny mall at 41-42A Main St. It's not open yet, but their sign is up and the stall is being built.

                                                              Not from J & L, but the stall that used to sell incredible cream puffs right by the subway station has moved to Kissena right behind the library

                                                          2. re: ndl

                                                            um... around midday on a weekday. I was at work in the nabe and looking to lunch.