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In search of a few hard-to-find specialties

I've been dusting around the asian circuit in NYC for over two years now...and there are a few things that I still haven't been able to find. If anyone knows where I can find any of the following, I'd be REALLY, REALLY happy! (Would love a good recommendation or two):

Double skin (double boiled) milk
Durian Juice (couldn't find it at Bonobos)
Tang Yuan
Cheng Tng
Onde Onde Kueh
Chee Cheong Fun
Sri Lanka Falooda
Anything with Kaya

Okay, I know I'm asking for alot...! :) But this is what happens when one's tastes get, um, a little esoteric...!

Best and thanks,

--Janet (GG)

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  1. Have you already been to the Thai supermarket near Columbus Park/off Mott in Chinatown? Or the Hong Kong Supermarket? It might be helpful to know where you have already looked.

    1. From what I read, I think you are looking for local Singaporea/Malaysian specialties. Sadly to say, most of the good stuff I've had came from people making them! Most places that serve satay don't serve it with ketupat. Chee cheong fan here is slightly different, are you talking about the one with the sweet sauvce? I have had it a few times from vendors on the street in chinatown. Sorry have never seen durian juice. No one I know makes any sort of nonya kueh or cheng tng. As for kaya, I would just get a good recipe and make it myself. Sorry!

      1. Jing Fong serves kaya buns on weekends, but you can't always get them. Your best bet is to sit near the exit from the kitchen.

        Where have you already looked?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Pan

          Pan, good to hear from you. (And hello to everyone else!)

          Hard to say where I've looked - I've been around Chinatown on a regular basis..and have visited Jing Fong. (Wasn't searching for kaya buns at the time, so perhaps they just got overlooked. ) I'm kind of wondering if the Thai grocery store (on Mulberry?) might be a good way to get a taste of that...

          Re: Ketupat, I've been to several locations - and was able to find a somewhat close substitution with Longtong at Upi Jaya.

          Re: Chee Cheong Fan - I'd love to find it with the sweet sauce - and wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be the easiest score on my list.

          Re: items like ginger hit milk - I've checked out the restaurant once known as Healthy Desserts (on the western edge of Chinatown) - but they tend to have other tong sui items, like sago, fruit and birds nest....

          Love to hear any recommendations....the obvious food has been sampled, now I have to get down to the more esoteric stuff! :)

          1. re: gaijingirl

            I think you may be best off making your own ketupat. It's best fresh, anyway.

            You should try the Thai store on Mosco, Udom's on Bayard, and the store on Mulberry between Bayard and Canal that you're thinking of (I thought they were Vietnamese, but someone corrected me).

            I actually don't know some of the items you're looking for!

            Did you try searching for Onde-Onde at Sanur?

        2. Durian juice...wow...That's a new one...
          You can get close with Durian Ice Cream though at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.


          1. Hi, I have had / seen a few of the items you listed in some restaurants:

            Double skin (double boiled) milk - XO Kitchen has it. They also have double boiled egg custard. Sweet and Tart (closed now) used to have it so you should find it in their Flushing location

            Durian Juice (couldn't find it at Bonobos) - I have had Durian Smoothie at Doyers Vietnamese Restaurant. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! But it was about 2, 3 years ago so I am not sure if they still have it. It is still on their menu (according to menupage). The restaurant is on Doyers Street and it is downstairs. Other food is decent but there are better vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown.

            Tang Yuan - Again, XO kitchen has it with different tong shiu, and another place is Ren Ren on Bayard. That place looks very old but has a lot of old-fashioned desserts. My mom orders their Tang Yuan all the time!

            Chee Cheong Fun - 6 Chatham Square Restaurant has it for Dim Sum time. They labeled it as "Plain Cheong Fun" (and there is another one which is the plain with dried shrimp), so I think it should be Chee Cheong Fun. I never ordered it so I am not sure whether they serve it the traditional way (with hoisin and peanut sauce).

            As for Cheng Tng, Onde Onde, Ketupat, Falooda, and Kaya, there are two small grocery stores that may carry them. One is in the middle of Bayard, and it is REALLY TINY and very easy to miss out (I think its name starts with "Indo" something, but I might be wrong). It carries tons of Southeast Asian food and have some homemade desserts at the counter. They may also have the uncooked ingredients available so you can cook at home. The other store (again really tiny) is at the end of Pell street. It sells mainly cooked food and appetizers, so it may have some of the items that you are looking for.

            That's about all I know. Sorry couldn't be more helpful. If I happen to see them I will repost again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kobetobiko

              "One is in the middle of Bayard, and it is REALLY TINY and very easy to miss out (I think its name starts with `Indo' something, but I might be wrong)."

              The aforementioned Udom's Thai-Indonesian store.

            2. The store in mulberry bet. bayard and canal is prob. asia market. I've seen durian (fruit) all over ctown lately(like on east broadway bet. rutgers and allen). Maybe, try making fresh juice from it?

              1. Ooohh (shudder) - fresh durian juice! (That might do the trick!)

                Thanks - these tips are great -

                I'm especially excited about the XO leads. For quite awhile, I've looked at XO, and wanted to go in (but haven't, as I like to have something specific to try before sampling a place.)

                And either Udon's Corp (or the other Thai place - can't for the life of me remember the name - the one next to the martial arts store) will probably do the trick with a few of the others.

                (With Onde Onde, unfortunately both Sanur and Curry Leaves in Queens didn't work out - they've got a relatively limited selection of Keuh...)

                Thanks...and I promise to touch base as leads pan out...!

                1 Reply
                1. re: gaijingirl

                  While Sanur doesn't sell onde-onde, it does have plastic tubs of kaya for sale.
                  You can also find canned kaya by Yeos ( or Yeo Hiap Seng) in most Chinese grocers in the canned food/fruit sections. Not great unfortunately
                  The desserts at XO kitchen (the Hester branch) are pretty good, but there was once when I went to the branch on Walker Street and the double boiled papaya tong shui gave me a headache, it was way too sweet.

                2. XO has tong yuan in different tong shiu as well as my favorite - filled with black sesame and covered in a peanut and sugar topping. Dynasty and that big long supermarket that goes between mott and elizabeth also sells it (plain and filled) and you can make it yourself. Throw in a bar of brown sugar and some ginger in the water - woohoo - yum!

                  1. you can buy kaya by the jar in every asian supermarket that i've seen, i think (the various branches of hong kong supermarket, dynasty, a&c, etc etc), and you used to be able to buy it fresh from sentosa. is that what you are looking for?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wleatherette

                      Restaurant Malaysia was still selling containers of kaya, last I checked (which was probably at least a year and a half ago, but you could always call before coming):

                      Restaurant Malaysia Inc
                      13517 40th Road, Flushing, NY 11354
                      (718) 353-2901

                    2. funny you ask for sri lankan -- i just ate dinner at NEW ASHA yesterday. for sri lankan food you got to go to staten island. its up the hill from bay st on victory blvd. they have a food store next door. there is a brand new place called SRI LUCK next door to try too.

                      also look for HEMA on victory right at bay st and and LAKRUWANA on bay just east of victory.

                      you can easily walk to all these places from the ferry terminal -- totally worth the trip and time!

                      1. "big long supermarket that goes between mott and elizabeth"

                        On what cross street? I'm surprised this is isn't ringing bells, but it's not.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MikeG

                          That would be Dynasty, I believe - only a few blocks north of Canal...

                          1. re: gaijingirl

                            i assume the "big long supermarket" is the deluxe food center. it has two entrances, one on mott and one on elizabeth and runs between the two streets. they have quite a bit of prepared food (located at either end by the entrances), fresh meat/fish and grocery-type stuff in the middle, and i think even a sushi area. it's a great place to grab a quick, cheap meal in addition to doing some shopping.

                        2. "That would be Dynasty, I believe - only a few blocks north of Canal"

                          Dynasty doesn't take up nearly a full block, and jeannious mentioned both Dynasty and this other place in the same sentence.

                          "and the store on Mulberry between Bayard and Canal that you're thinking of (I thought they were Vietnamese, but someone corrected me)."

                          Which? There used to be a small VN grocery store on the west side of the street (run by a mother and one or maybe 2 daughters), but it closed at least a couple of years ago. There's another place in the middle of the block on the east side that's a sort of general store but has some food, they're also VN. But the place right next door to Viet Huong, if that's what you mean, used to be run by Indonesians, now, I'm pretty sure they're Chinese (ethnically anyway.)

                          (I know these posts are out of order, but this site doesn't play nice with older versions of scripting.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MikeG

                            I'm a little fuzzy on what's on Mulberry lately, to be honest. I don't find that I need to shop there; I get whatever I want further east.

                          2. Re: XO's offerings:

                            I see the Egg White and Milk Pudding (ginger), but what would the double boiled milk dessert be under? (I may be going tonight.) And the Tang Yuan - I'm guessing the best to try is #205 on the menu (peanut filling glutinous dumpling?) Thanks...!

                            1. Hi gaijingirl,

                              Are you looking at the menu on menupage? It think it has double-boiled for the milk dessert in the Chinese menu, not this english menu. There are some variations on Tang yuan as well in the Chinese menu. If there are something very specific that you are looking for, I think you should call ahead to confirm first.

                              1. "i assume the "big long supermarket" is the deluxe food center"

                                Ah, thanks - I was trying to picture something like Dynasty rather than the "bazaar" format...

                                1. RE: XO's menu


                                  Hey - hadn't thought of that (different items on the Chinese menu.) I was looking at the English menupages version. Think I could get away with just asking for certain items? (Between the double boiled milk and the Tang Yuan, it sounds like the Chinese version has more of the things I'd really would like to try...!) (Although Gurglings Ren Ren suggestion sounds pretty good as well.)

                                  I'm probably due to go soon, in order to get a last peek at the New Year's festivities...

                                  1. 3/4/07 Update!

                                    I've successfully found the following items:

                                    Chee Cheong Fan - at Fong Inn Too (verdict - delicious! And only $1.00)

                                    Ginger Milk Curd - At XO Kitchen. Not bad...and XO looks like it really deserves further exploration

                                    Tang Yuan - Also at XO, and yes - there is do-it-yourself Tang Yuan at Dynasty. Very tasty, and peanuty good.

                                    Kaya Jam - At Udom's Thai Grocery on Bayard. Also really good (I really scored today.)

                                    Cheng Tng - Looking back, I realize I've actually already had it...over at Nyona. I wasn't impressed, at least according to my notes at the time...

                                    Of course, *now* I see that XO Kitchen has Durian pudding and pancakes...so that means I have to schedule something again, real soon...!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gaijingirl

                                      Trying to figure out what all of these are, and in case others are equally curious, here is my report. Corrections welcome since this is only based on web reasearch. BTW I think I've had chee cheong fan, do they sell it from carts on the bowery sometimes?

                                      Chee Cheong Fan -- "rolls of flat rice nodles eaten with shrimp paste, belacan and chilly with a sprinkling of sesame seeds." http://makanpenang.blogspot.com/2006/...

                                      Kaya Jam -- coconut egg jam

                                      Tang Yuan: Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling wate, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangyuan

                                      Cheng tng, a refreshing soup with longans, barley, agar agar strips, lotus seeds and a sweet syrup, served either hot or cold. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_...

                                      1. re: Produce Addict

                                        PA -

                                        Yep, right on all counts! (I think they do sell Chee Cheong Fan from carts, though it's been quite some time since I saw it - and at the time, I didn't know what it was.)

                                        Overall, they're all extremely good (with the exception of the Cheng Tng - and that might simply have been a bad version of it.)

                                        And fortunately, they're all easy to find in Chinatown! Now that I know where to look...

                                    2. Hi Gaijain girl,

                                      I am so glad you found all of these! Congrats!

                                      I actually did not know that XO has durian pudding and pancakes, so I guess I am also paying a visit very soon!

                                      Hope you continue to find new treasures everyday!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kobetobiko

                                        And Kobetobiko -

                                        Thanks for the congrats! I'm really happy to have found as much as I did. And there *will* be a second visit for the durian snacks...!

                                      2. An update: did the durian pancake - and it was really fun: fried rice sheets (I think they were rice sheets) - filled with durian pudding. Tasty. :)