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May 15, 2007 06:45 AM

Help my brother find healthy, cheap chow in Sunnyside

Hi all,

I am a visitor from another board. My brother recently moved to Sunnyside Queens, and lives on 47th between 42nd and 43rd streets. He just told me he has gained 15 lbs since moving to NYC!! As a worried sister I thought I should try to think of a way to help him out.

I think he is in a rut with food, eating at cheap fast food places instead of trying other cuisines, as he is both pressed for time and reeling from the prices in NYC. I have heard Queens is incredibly diverse and there must be healthier options out there for him!

So if any of you have any ideas, he would love to hear them. He is not a particularly adventurous eater but is willing to try anything. As I said, the two main goals are finding cheap and healthy cuisine in the neighborhood.

Thanks so much in advance.

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  1. I'm sure a bunch of people will chime in with the same, but let me first recommend de mole, which is a wonderful Mexican place at 45-02 48th Avenue. Much lighter than the average Mexican fare and exceedingly more delicious!
    Japanese always has a lot of healthy options. If he's not super adventurous, I would recommend Ariyoshi, on the other side of Queens Blvd. It's not the best sushi, but I'd imagine he'd be choosing from the cooked rolls, anyway.

    1. there's aubergine. a cafe on 50th and skillman that has plenty of sanwiches and salads and TJ asian bistro across the street...a japanese with americanized rolls.
      quaint on skillman btwn 46th and 47th is a nice option for dinner, i would say it is new american with a small menu that changes slightly with the season. nice fresh ingredients. a little more expensive than the other 2, but much less than similar places in the city.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ceeceee

        i actually find it kind of difficult to eat healthily at quaint. their salads are always disappointing and everything else is kind of heavy. Also, it's not as much of an "everyday" type option. While it's novel for our neighborhood, I don't know that it totally warrants a long walk from 47th ave.
        i want to like it, but it's always a let down.

        1. re: tracyk

          i always think of it as healthy due to the normal sized portions and good, fresh ingredients. their salads--well they usually only have two...a mixed green and a caeser. both are ok to me, nothing mindblowing.

      2. Mangal Turkish on 47th & Q.B. has a great chicken doner sandwich on homemade bread. Ask for the chopped salad with tomato & cucumber that they have prepared instead of plain old lettuce & tomato on the sandwich.

        5 Replies
        1. re: johnk

          These are all great ideas! Thanks! I look forward to sharing them with my bro and trying some out myself when I visit. Keep 'em coming!

          1. re: Keramel

            butcher's block offers dinnertime options - like a baked ham or meatloaf with mashed potatoes. granted, i'm not sure how healthy it is, but i'd assume it's better than fast food.

            the various japanese or japanese/nepalese places would offer healthier options, albeit heavy on the carbs (rice or noodles). nonetheless, beats mickey ds. there's: yeti, yamakaze, ariyoshi, oki, and tj asian bistro. all deliver as well.

            the grind also offers paninis with a big ol' side salad with it. there's been some speculation that the place is on the way down, but the last time i went there, the food and service were fine (over 2 months ago).

            bcd - the korean tofu place on southside QB and 40th st is also a healthy alternative. they specialize in a spicy korean tofu stew kinda dish, that you eat with side dishes and rice. i've never been to the one in sunnyside, but have gone to the flushing outpost many times.

            not sure of the korean places in the area, but there are korean food options in nearby woodside/jackson heights. han ah reum mart offers some good prepared food that's healthy - like korean rolls (kim bap), kimchee and such. there's apparently a decent korean restaurant in jackson heights - bibimbap, which is a mixed vegetables, rice and meat dish on a hot pot - is chock full of veggies. i usu drive out to flushing for korean food, so i can't help you with that around sunnyside - but generally speaking, korean food is hearty and heavy on veggies.

            1. re: Linda

              Linda, can you post the location (or nearabouts) of the Korean tofu place in Flushing? ... TIA. : )

              1. re: Cheese Boy

                of course. it's on northern blvd near murray street. there's a kfc across the street. and a han yang supermarket kitty corner. it's called book chan dohng (aka BCD), i butchered the spelling of that. it's open 24 hours a day. i feel like there's another location, but i can't seem to remember right now. but this is the one i used to go to.

                1. re: Linda

                  Linda, thank you. I'm posting the 2 locations here for those interested. I think I'll go to the NB location.

                  Book Chang Dong
                  15222 Northern Blvd
                  Flushing, NY 11354
                  (718) 961-2001

                  Book Chang Dong
                  4609 Kissena Blvd
                  Flushing, NY 11355
                  (718) 961-2619

        2. Sounds like he has the Freshman 15 remember that from college?

          Can he cook for himself? With so many grocers and fruitstands/ markets with fresh vegetables available, often past midnight, he should be able to make simple meals for himself. Rice, Cous cous, veggies, salads, pita, light sandwiches...

          Keep encouraging him to try different things. Once he get's past being unadventurous, he'll find ways to be satisfied with a far more varied and balanced diet.

          1. You are a good sister, and you are so correct. It's a shame to be eating badly in Sunnyside. Yes, the fast food is there to be sure (although, gaining 15 pounds? are you sure he's not spending too much time in the neighborhoods many Irish pubs?), but it is also as you say in one of the most diverse places on Earth.

            It's also much cheaper to eat here than in Manhattan, and, in fact, many places are a real bargain for what you get. If he's gaining weight it should at least be like me: from all of the wonderful diverse food you can get around here at great prices. A lot of the food served around here isn't "healthy" in the salads and veggies sense, but it is good hearty ethnic food made from good ingredients, and inherently better than the commercial fast food.

            I second the recommendations for De Mole for really fine and different Mexican food at very fair prices, and Mangal Kebab (ask for the "home bread" instead of the pita - an extra buck, but well worth it) for Turkish meats and salads. Mangal Kebab in particular is fast food, but far from the old burgers/fries routine. And the guys in there are nice.

            Other good fastish food options in the neighborhood are Pio Pio on Greenpoint Ave. & 46th St. for grilled chickens with rice & beans, and Azteca a block or so up Greenpoint for nice warm tortas (mexican sandwiches with some meat and other stuff including avocado). All of these places are open pretty late.

            The Columbian bakery on the north side of Queens Blvd. isn't open late, but when they're open they have really good empanadas (which would be a great cheap thing to take for lunch), as well as hearty meals and great soups. Closer to where he lives there is a line of Turkish restaurants on the north side of the Blvd. that will all do carryout.

            For healthy eating there's always Natural Tofu on the south side of Queens Blvd. near the 40th St. stop, which is a Korean place that serves really good stews and noodle dishes - as well as the usual array of free snacks served in Korean places (panchan) - and despite the name they have more than just tofu. For a less healthy, but fast, option there's the taco truck that parks every night on that same block and serves damn good food made by really nice guys.

            I don't know where he's from, or what his experience level is, but he shouldn't be afraid to walk into any place in this neighborhood. The folks who run these places are used to having many different types of people come by, and are usually very nice. If he's tired he should also keep in mind that many if not most restaurants in NYC deliver - quite different from other parts of the country. Although if he wants to lose some weight perhaps he should get out and walk around and explore the neighborhoods around him (like Woodside, where I live). They are stunningly diverse, interesting, friendly, and quite safe.

            Just keep him away from those wonderful donuts at Alpha Donuts on Queens Blvd.!!

            10 Replies
            1. re: Woodside Al

              Thank you Woodside Al, Linda and others for these long and thoughtful responses. I think it is very sweet that you took the time to write out such a detailed response. If you ever need help on the Montreal boards let me know!

              1. re: Keramel

                Natural Tofu
                La Flor - delicious salads and tortas for very cheap
                De Mole
                Manghal Kebab - freshly made falafel sandwiches, baba ghanoush, hummus

                These are four places I wish were closer to me!

                1. re: thinthukgirl

                  thinthukgirl, I think you live close to where I live judging from you posts. After ordering our favorite doner kebab sandwich from Mangal kebab the other day, both me and my BF agreed that we were glad they were not as close to where we lived - otherwise we'd be fat! Even now they're pretty close by, the only thing keeping us from them is that they run out of doner pretty early - so we usually don't take our chances if it's past 8pm.

                  1. re: welle

                    Mmm... now I want a falafel... am mentally reporgramming my commute home to include falafel...

              2. re: Woodside Al

                That's Pio Pio Riko of course...Pio Pio is the different rest. on Northern Blvd (and manhattan). Pio Pio Riko (Rico?) recently opened another location, down the street in Greenpoint proper.

                1. re: Widmark

                  I finally made it to Pio Pio Riko. Had 2 of the ceviches. Serving was massive (though in line with the cost), but the pescado was a little fishy to me.
                  Did I hit on an off nite, or is rotisserie the way to go here?

                  1. re: tracyk

                    I've never been to Pio Pio Riko actually...I always go to Pio Pio in Jackson Heights.

                    1. re: Widmark

                      the ceviche is also not very good at pio pio in jackson heights. it was very bland. judging from that experience, i'd say that rotiserrie is the way to go at these pio pio places. it is their specialty.

                      1. re: Linda

                        this would make sense, except that this pio pio riko is not related to the one in jackson heights.
                        the sunnyside one wasn't bland. the fish just didn't taste very fresh - despite the masking of the onions and lime!

                        1. re: tracyk

                          the ceviche at de mole (el jarro) is very good compared to pio pio's ceviche (the one in Jackson Heights)