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Chinese American in Chinatown Flushing for sit down or take out?

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  • fcara Oct 25, 2007 10:01 AM
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I find it hard to believe such a place does not exist in this area of Main, Northern, Kissena, Parsons, Roosevelt? I keep looking but have not seen one. I am dying to find good quality Chinese American cuisine of my youth. In the 80s it was so easy to find a high quality one
Now its like trying to find good pizza in NYC. What happened?

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  1. What happened? Chinese people came. Still, you might try Flushing Noodle on Roosevelt near the train station. They have some authentic Chinese stuff but I believe they also have the Chinese American food you seek.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      LWong-Man I ask a sincere question and i get dissertations on Chinatown and authentic cuisine. Some of you high brow chowhounds might remember a place called Lum's which served the best Chinese American cuisine in Queens and was right on Northern off Main St. They were there for years until it burned down in a fire. Thats what I was alluding to. I know Chinatown doesnt cater to gweilos but the fact is Flushing is not all Asian. Im not going to bother illustrating that point. I thought some chow vets from the 60s, 70s, 80s might recall Lums and what became of them or if they relocated under a different name. To the other posters thanks for the recs. Much appreciated.

      1. re: fcara

        Hey what about New Lok Kee? They might do some of the dishes you seek.

        http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

        1. re: fcara

          lum's is now gum kang san, the korean restaurant, isn't it? lum's was the place that was on northern near union. there was discussion about lum's here before. gum kang san still uses those hexagonal shaped signs on the front from the former tenant.

          another place i would recommend for chinese-american food is harvest buffet out in little neck on northern blvd. the owners used to operate chu jiang's kitchen on union turnpike and 188th st in fresh meadows, right near king yum's, actually. that place was great chinese-american food. however, they sold the place (terrible replacement), and the owners are solely at harvest buffet.

          i'm not crazy about buffets - it's a mad house and i can never eat that much. but the turnover is decent and they still crank out decent chinese-american food.

          i was never a fan of king yum's - i remember thinking everything was too sweet and overpriced.

          1. re: Linda

            Harvest Buffet is frequented by Chinese people. I took Dad there on Father's Day and had Quail and Conch (done very well and pretty surprised). Maybe that is why we paid a higher price that day. They may not be on the menu there always, but that day was all food porn. I usually don't like buffets but it was pretty darn good that day. Its Chinese Cantonese food there and the owners are from Hong Kong.

          2. re: fcara

            I've lived around the corner from Lum's (and its ghosts) for 30 years. Lum's came in with Flushing's Jewish population in the post WW2 years and left with them by the 1990s! The large parcel (suitable for Sweet 16s and Bar Mitzvahs along with fancy cocktails and columns A/B and PARKING) was just the kind of property the new Asian entrepreneurs were after. The Korean restaurant there now is even larger, having swallowed a furniture store also. Lum's had a wonderful hybrid wonton-eggdrop soup and great service.

            This food is gone now. Others mention King Yum which is close but not in Flushing. In Flushing, New Lok Kee, which moved out of Chinatown after 9/11, is a vague reminder. Fortunately there is lots of other wonderful chow out there.

        2. Agreed. The neighborhood is now full of actual Chinese people and actual Chinese food. However, I believe what you seek can still be found in other places in Queens with a different older ethnic mix. I've heard word of such places still in existence down by St. John's. Maybe you should check some older threads here or do a google search.

          1. As “Brian S” has stated, the “Chinese people came.”

            In all of the many NYC Chinatowns, the customer base for most of the more authentic Chinese restaurants are essentially 99.44% Chinese clientele. There are usually a few select Chinese restaurants in the Chinatowns that are favored by non-Asian customers, but in the main, most Chinatown restaurants are devoid of non-Asian customers, especially the Cantonese ones that are out of favor in general with the non-Asian public.

            For whatever reason, Chinese people do not enjoy the Chinese-American style of cooking which is why the Chinese restaurants in the Chinatowns usually do not have many Chinese-American dishes on their menus. Businesses must cater to their customer base.

            Chinese-American dishes can still be ordered at quite a few of the restaurants in the Manhattan Chinatown due to the tourist traffic and the native NYCer’s who venture out to a Chinatown for Chinese food, but many end up ordering the standard Chinese-American dishes. But the other four Chinatowns, including Flushing, are strictly working Chinatowns, with few tourist or non-Asian customers other than a few intrepid Chowhounders, hence there is less likelihood that there will be any restaurants strictly serving Chinese-American dishes on the menu.

            But once one leaves the Chinatowns or neighborhoods with high-density Asian populations, the Chinese-American restaurants are everywhere. Every neighborhood or town in metro NYC has at least several Chinese take-outs or sit-down restaurants in every business district. There is no town, no matter how small in size or little the population in all of North America, that there is not a Chinese-American restaurant in the town. On a trip to northeast Canada several years ago, it was dinner time and it was decided that our family wanted to eat Chinese for some reason, and we randomly got off at one exit at some small town since we felt that if we drove down the widest street in the town, sooner or later a Chinese restaurant would pop up. There was indeed a Chinese restaurant in this very small town and it served Chinese-Canadian food. We had asked if they might cook a very Chinese home cooking dish, steamed chopped pork with salted fish, but we were politely told this was not possible.

            Chinese-American style restaurants probably comprise over 95% of the Chinese restaurants in America. The Chinatown restaurants serving more authentic Chinese style food are only a small percentage of the Chinese restaurants in America and predominantly are in the major Chinatowns of New York, Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, San Francisco, and the other smaller Chinatowns in America. The Washington DC authentic Chinese restaurants are usually in the suburbs of Washington DC due to the demographics of Chinese in the Washington DC area, who are usually white collar professional types who live in the suburbs, but whenever there is a critical mass of sufficient Chinese, an authentic Chinese restaurant catering to Chinese tastes will pop up.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lwong

              Was that 99.44% a recently performed survey, I would have tagged it at about 96.2%.

              Anyway, I would agree that King Yum (cited below) is an option but to say the food is great is a little bit of an overstatement. Its heavily salted, maybe even MSG infused but the ingredients are quality.

              Also, to say that there are few tourists in Manhattan chinatown looking for a Chinese meal is not correct. I would say a large majority of tourists from outside NYC (whether foreign or domestic) flock down there for at least one meal on their visit.

              1. re: pepper

                As much as I love Spicy and Tasty and other places that are more authentic, King Yum is great because you will get the best versions of classic chinese -american dishes and the food just tastes great. I have gone with senior citizens who have a low tolerance for salt and never heard a complaint. I am not particularly sensitive to MSG and that has also never been a problem.This blog report says it all. Scroll down to near the end

                http://offthebroiler.wordpress.com/?s...

                1. re: pepper

                  As the poster “Xiao Yang” corrected surmised, the fanciful use of the “99.44%” figure by us was indeed appropriated from the famous Ivory Soap commercial. Our purpose was to indicate that there are few non-Asian diners at the more authentic Chinese restaurants in the various Chinatowns and we were playful in using the Ivory Snow figure. The figures in our earlier post were not based upon a formal statistical survey with standard deviations and margin of errors, but only based upon our subjective perceptions (a quick off the cuff mental calculation) over the many years (more than we care to admit) of eating and shopping at the many NYC Chinatowns.

                  We would like to take a side note here to thank the poster “Xiao Yang” for their many patient and clarifying remarks of our comments in response to another poster who took umbrage with our comments and inferred nefarious intentions to our original post. Our intentions were quite benign. We had read the OP’s question asking why the old Chinese-American restaurants had disappeared in the Flushing Chinatown, and although we were surprised at the OP’s question, it appeared that the OP was genuinely perplexed as to the reason. Our intentions were to respond with our best knowledge as to the situation in the NYC Chinatowns and principally for other non-Asian readers who may not be aware, since Chinese and other readers who frequent the Chinatowns would be aware of the situation and certainly yawn in reading our comments.

                  And while we can certainly be wrong in our perceptions, we do not believe that we are far from the mark. However, anyone with two subway tokens can visit any of the NYC Chinatowns and randomly peek into many of the Chinatown restaurants to ascertain what the true situation is. Our guess is that one does not need to visit too many Chinese restaurants to get a good gauge of the average percentage of non-Asian diners. Probably all one has to do is visit several of the larger Chinese banquet halls during dinner time or other busy times to obtain all the data one needs to make their own informed conclusions.

                  It was not our intention to convey the impression that there are not a lot of tourists and that they do not partake of a meal in the Manhattan Chinatown. There indeed are a lot of tourists and they do indeed partake of meals in the Manhattan Chinatown. But while there are a lot of tourists dining at the Chinese restaurants, the number of Chinese diners are a lot lot larger, and thus our perception of a very small percentage of non-Asian diners.

                  We happened to be in Manhattan Chinatown for lunch at a fairly large restaurant, “6 Chatham Square,” this Saturday afternoon, but the lunch was very disappointing compared to a very nice dinner experience we had there earlier this year. As for the number of non-Asian diners, there were zero non-Asian customers during the time we were there.

                  One further comment is that our use of the word “authentic” in our earlier post is used in the manner that the restaurant tries to cook the food in the traditional style of Chinese food, and although there might be substitutions, variations, and changes in the recipes, the spirit and style of Chinese cooking is maintained. But “authentic” does not necessarily mean “good” and the converse, that “inauthentic’’ does not necessarily mean “bad.” The food we had at “6 Chatham Square’ this Saturday was authentic, but many of the dishes were not very good.

                  Eating food at restaurants is one of the more democratic institutions in this world. Every man can freely vote for their food of choice, whenever they eat each, and every day.

                  1. re: lwong

                    Whew, not sure what that is all about, but totally sure I don't want to.

                    Anyway, anyone with two subway tokens can't go anywhere unless they have a metro card.

                    Anyone may also surmise that the Chinese people in the Chinese restaurants in the Chinatowns aren't interested in eating any other ethnic foods which is the reason I always discount the ol' "well its only Chinese people eating there it must be good". Maybe that's all they know and want to know, irregardless of however democratic the choice is.

                    Long live King Yum.

                    1. re: pepper

                      I don't see the logic there. If anything, if Chinese aren't interested in other ethnic cuisines, that's all the more reason to want to know which restaurants their uncorrupted taste buds lead them to.

              2. King Yum, 181-08 Union Turnpike, and the food is great.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stuartlafonda

                  Went to King Yum last night - hoping for decent versions of American-Chinese food, tiki atmosphere, and hopefully drinkable tiki drinks (sweet, fruity drinks are really not my thing so I was dubious about the last). Check on the latter two - the drinks were surprisingly decent versions of those sorts of drinks and not at all sickeningly sweet or too watered down - had the golden lover's cup and had sips of the King Yum special and the Mai Tai. Great atmosphere. Loved the shell lamps with the stained glass fish bottoms. Nice old-fashioned service too. Love the hot towels post-spare ribs.

                  The food though was not good. Not bad - not bad ingredients, nothing bad - just not good except for the Wonton soup which was actually decent. Spare ribs were juicy but flavorless. Shrimp in lobster sauce was like shrimp in cornstarch sauce and flavorless. Roast pork egg foo young was pretty flavorless. Now, to be fair, I actually have never had shrimp in lobster sauce or egg foo young before, so for all I know they were pretty accurate renditions of what have always been absolutely flavorless gloppy American-Chinese dishes and I just have no nostalgia-buttons for them to push . . . nah, they really were just not good dishes. I almost ordered the lemon chicken as that is what I grew up eating from take-out joints - wonder if that would have done the trick for me?

                2. Right on Union Turnpike east of St. Johns is King Yum. I went there abot a month ago for the first time, it was awsome. Its the old school Chinese food your looking for,TRUST ME. I had there Dim Sum, egg foo young, wanton soup. Im in the Bronx and I will go there for my Cantonese fix!! The place is old Polynesian themed probably never redocorated since they opened. I would compare trhe flavor to the now closed Tung Hoy of Larchmont when they were operating at their best. Hope this helps.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JoeyCannoli

                    anyone know if King Yum has any of the standard vegetarian fare you might find at a chinese american place, tofu or just veggie dishes? The only menu I saw online was just of meat and poultry.

                    And i'm not looking to join the above discussions, we go to the authentic places, will be hitting Little Pepper for the second time shortly, but this just looks like a fun trip with the rum drinks and tiki bar and all that.

                  2. And let us not forget the OTHER Chinese-American food. Manna Cafe just opened at 135-05 40th Road, serving American food to suit the presumed taste of the Asian customers they hope to attract. You can get Linguini with tuna, bacon and tomato sauce over spaghetti, filet of sole with mushroom cream sauce, along with a full line of milkshakes and sushi, all served in a bright pastel-colored trendy atmosphere.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Brian S

                      You would get a kick out of seeing what spaghetti looks and tastes like in Southern Japan. It's kind of orange pink and tastes like noodles with ketchup.

                      1. re: mushimushi427

                        You can get that in midtown Manhattan!!
                        http://events.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/...

                        1. re: Brian S

                          Oh boy! I've gotta bring my mother. It'll be like going home.

                    2. Man, I know the perfect place for you. It's actually in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. It will be a pilgrimage for you. With a bit of a tongue-in-cheek humor, this restaurant strives to replicate the tastes and decorations of the suburban American Chinese restaurant of the 80's, complete with baby corn, jigsaw-puzzle pieces of carrots, water chestnut and nondescript translucent brown sauce in almost every dish. I forgot the name of the place, but the dishes were actually pretty well done for people who like that taste.

                      It's funny someone on the Mid-Atlantic board has just posted a similar request for such restaurants. Maybe we are seeing a backlash against authenticity, which can be so over-rated. Who cares if it's real Chinese food as long as you like it, right?

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: tvr172

                        Agree completely. I am very dissapointed in the restaurant scene in Queens and at this point I just want somewhere where they care about the food and it tastes good and fresh, those places are dwindling.

                        1. re: pepper

                          But there are a hundred restaurants in Flushing where they care about the food and the delicious food shows they care. It's like saying that the Manhattan restaurant scene is so bad you can't even find a good Veal Orloff or Nesselrode Pie anymore. (Not that I'd turn down a huge portion of good Veal Orloff...)

                          1. re: Brian S

                            Most of us want to eat food that is familiar to us. The food of our youth. Maybe its nostalgia or maybe the pizza and chinese food of the 60s, 70s, 80s was vastly superior to the drivel thats being served today. My take is that all the immigrants that first came over have moved on or sold their businesses and now there isnt that quality or attitude of yesteryear to to produce something tasty. King Yum seems to be my only option but I never stepped foot in there all these years because of the mixed reviews. The exterior didnt help as well as the karoke. I thought it was all a gimmick to cover up sub par food. I hope Im wrong.

                            1. re: fcara

                              No, the ethnic mix in the neighborhood changed. And the Chinese restaurants went from Cantonese people cooking for a primarily caucasian customer base to a wide variety of Chinese and other Asian ethnicities cooking for a primarily Asian customer base. In other words, serving the food that most of the people who come to that neighborhood grew up with and want. You may not like that food and find that it's not to your taste, and that's fine, but to say that their quality or attitude is somehow lacking is rather insulting to, as Brian says, the many many restaurants there that work to produce a quality product. We may agree to disagree on what constitutes good Chinese food, but I'm not sure why you would expect restaurants in Flushing to serve something that their current primary customer base doesn't want. Flushing is, after all, the largest Chinese community on the east coast, and the amazing variety of Chinese food styles available there shows that fact. All those restaurants there must be serving someone's tastes.

                              There are also lots and lots of people who want to eat food that is different from what they grew up with, and this site's lively existence is in part testimony to that fact. To describe the Queens restaurant scene, which most likely presents the widest array of culinary diversity of anyplace on earth, as "disappointing" seems nothing short of bizarre.

                              1. re: Woodside Al

                                I wasn't trying to insult these fine eateries that you frequent, my point was that the majority of restaurants, not just Chinese, in the parts of Queens where I have gone, have been disappointing, ie, the number of quality establishments seems to be shrinking. Seems like I am looking in the wrong places.

                                Having lived in the borough for a little over 10 years, I have noticed that Mexican, Greek, Thai, Italian, Diners, options have either diminished or not expanded and the quality at the ones that remain is very inconsistent.

                                I am very aware of the diversity, but diversity doesn't ensure quality, only more options.

                                If my opinion is so bizarre dude, name more than two or three quality ethnic joints (other than chinese) in this borough, which given its population, one would believe there would be more than a handful.

                                1. re: pepper

                                  I can name 3 within 3 blocks of where I live. Sripraphai, Burmese Cafe, and Renee's. And that's just scratching the surface around here.

                                  From Sunnyside out to Flushing in the neighborhoods along the 7 train there are literally dozens and dozens. Not to mention the street food...

                                  1. re: Woodside Al

                                    This sounds like fun. Spicy Mina, Taqueria Coatzinga and Rincon Criolla, and they are practically walking distance apart. How about Tandoori Hut,Rockaway Fish House and Singh's Roti Shop. They are all minutes away from each other by car and all are just off the Van Wyck. Maybe "pepper" just needs some help as Queens might be the best place on earth for diverse, quality food of a multitutude of ethnicities!

                                    1. re: stuartlafonda

                                      Lets use Tandoori Hut as the example. I consider myself fairly well schooled with respect to Indian, eaten it on many continents, states, towns, etc. with many friends who hail from various parts of India.

                                      I have lived two minutes away from Tandoori Hut for five years. Based on a Village Voice review back about five years or so, I began to frequent the place.

                                      Over that time, I feel the consistency, in both quality of ingredients and pure flavor has declined. I usually only eat there now out of default because I am too lazy to go somewhere else. On some nights, its real good but sometimes it sucks big time to where I can't even eat it.

                                      Give me one other Thai place in the borough of Queens that consistently throws out the same quality as Sri.........and name one other Mexican joint other that Coatzinga and De Mole..... and the Italian options are even worse.....any good fish places?. I haven't been able to find them and from the history of reviews here it doesn't seem like too many other folks have either.

                                      1. re: pepper

                                        Zabb and Nasura seem up to the task when it comes to Thai. Haven't been to Arunee or Chao but heard they are as well.

                                        But back to the original discussions...if people want the kind of Chinese American that was/is served, mostly to middle-class Jews on christmas, go to Park Slope, where there are several nice, friendly, cheap sit-down chinese places, like Hunan Delight and Hunan Wok, both are good, one's on 5th, the other is on the corner of 6th and Union. They're not Little Pepper or Spicy and Tasty obv, but they're also not fried wings and french fries chinese served from behind bullet-proof plexi, they are places where you can sit down and get some free noodles and some Orange Chicken or whatever and have a nice meal. There's several more like that in the Park Slope area but not much outside of it. Years ago I moved from Parks Slope to Cobble Hill and there's nothing like that, everything is cheap takeout/delivery.

                                        1. re: pepper

                                          "Give me one other Thai place in the borough of Queens that consistently throws out the same quality as Sri"

                                          Well, since Sri is most likely the best Thai restaurant in the U.S. east of California I can't do that. But there are some others like Chao, Zabb, and few other places in Elmhurst that are easily better than anything else in NYC.

                                    2. re: pepper

                                      Caridad, Northern Blvd and 99th St: a Dominican diner.
                                      El Sitio, 68-28 Roosevelt: Cuban
                                      Anthony's, Main Street and 70th Road: Italian

                                      1. re: pepper

                                        Manducati's Restaurant, 13-27 Jackson Ave, L.I.C.
                                        Waterfront Crab House, 2-03 Borden Ave.

                                    3. re: fcara

                                      Umm...who is most of us? Queens has the largest Asian-American population in the U.S. So "most of us" are happy eating "home style" cooking.

                                      1. re: fcara

                                        "Most of us want to eat food that is familiar to us."
                                        Not necessarily. I would say that a great many people who frequent this site want to try something new. Not to knock the familiar, or the food of your youth, but you never know what your standbys will be in five years from now if you don't take a few chances. In any event, I hope you find what you're looking for.
                                        P.

                                        1. re: Polecat

                                          "name more than two or three quality ethnic joints (other than chinese) in this borough, which given its population, one would believe there would be more than a handful."

                                          you cannot say such a blanket statement here on the outer boroughs page! as a korean, there are plenty of choices for me that i've really come to love and appreciate about queens. where do i start?

                                          for kalbi and sam gyup sal, i have a choice of: nam oh jung, dae dong manor, kum kang san, jang tuh, ham ji bak.

                                          for chinese-korean: sam won gak (2 locations), guh sung, chu ying.

                                          for nehng myun: any of the kalbi places, yoo chun nehng myun.

                                          for korean fried chicken: bon chon, kyo chon, gyedong, ufc, cheong ha jip, and rotisserie style at korean health center.

                                          for hwe, korean raw fish: cheong ha jin, pa do hwe, sam da do, and other places i don't remember the names of

                                          for specific items: BCD in sunnyside and other location in flushing for soon dooboo (tofu), arirang for kal-gook so (hand/knife cut noodles), jook at bon jook (rice porridge), kim bap at ttong ttong kim bap (korean seaweed rolls), more rolls at sushi family.

                                          for korean "street" food: h-mart on union, han yang on northern

                                          for pastries & shaved ice: the various goryodahng and various gateux bakeries

                                          i think that korean cuisine is well-covered in queens.

                                          1. re: Linda

                                            Now I would say that was food that was familiar. I grew up on rice, nori and katsuobushi. Talk about comfort food and the food of my youth.
                                            BTW, correction on the previous post. It's Angelo's, not Anthony's. Now there's an ethnic food not familar to me growing up.

                                2. I guess it's not just me. I can't find a decent Chinese-American takeout place anywhere near me (Western Queens). Forget about a neighborhood sit-down place, special dinner, one from clumn A, etc. They don't exist anymore. I know of only 1 and it's mediocre. The buffets are OK but it's not what I'm looking for.
                                  My take is that the old, family run businesses moved to the burbs. I think it's crazy to get better Chinese-American food in Suffolk County than here.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Jackh

                                    They were in Flushing when Flushing WAS the 'burbs. Now Flushing is no longer the 'burbs and has has ascended the Chinese food the learning curve. I don't see anything tragic or unnatural about that.

                                    To steal an aphorism from the late Herb Caen, nostalgia ain't what it use to be.

                                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                                      Went to King Yum last month based on the rec. here and it was dreadful and overpriced! I knew I stayed away from there all these years for a reason. Terrible and forgettable. Next! There is a place on Francis Lewis in Whitestone called Evergreen. Similar to Yum but have no idea on the food as there are not any reviews of the place. Will try that next. Has anybody been? My next choice after that is Keilly's in the College Point shopping center. heard they have good takeout. I still think there is a good Chinese in Flushing for gweillos but its very UTR at this point. This is where being a real chowhound comes into play. I wonder if Jim Leff could solve this mystery. Finding really good Chinese food in Queens the way it was in the 60s and 70s. For the record there are plenty of blacks, latins, indians, whites in Flushing who love chinese food just as much as pizza and burgers. This whole theory that there isnt a market for old school Chinese is pure rubbish. Long live Lums and may he return in all his glory.

                                      1. re: fcara

                                        Sorry you, and TTBD hated King Yum, I find it authentic 70's chinese and good but to each his own. I remember Lum's and I don't think you will find a present day incarnation of it, but good luck. I have family that live in the Bayside/Whitestone area and I don't know of anything to match what you seek. Keilly's sounds familiar, but not in College Point. I thought it was the place on Francis Lewis by Holy Cross H.S. The takeout place in the Whitestone Shopping Center is so bad I actually went to Taco Bell the last time I had to kill two hours at that shopping center as my previous meal from the chinese place was horrendous. My family, the seniors at least, eat at the chinese place in the Baybridge shopping center so you might try that one if you get a chance.

                                        1. re: fcara

                                          You might try some of the Chino-Latino places on Roosevelt in Jackson Heights. Not Peruvian Chinese, that's different, but the old school stuff made by Chinese who emigrated to 1950s Cuba to escape Communism, then were forced to flee again when Castro came in.

                                          1. re: Brian S

                                            Cuban-Chinese? Where? I grew up in the Bronx where Chino-Latino restaurants flourish. Can you recommend one?

                                      2. re: Jackh

                                        I don't think you need to go all the way to Suffolk. I live in Great Neck and regularly make the trip to Flushing for the food that is available there now. If you just go in reverse, you can do the same thing. Try Pearl East, opposite Macy's on Northern Blvd. in Manhasset.

                                        1. re: Jackh

                                          It's not true. There is not one Chinese or Chinese American restaurant that I know of in Suffolk Cty that is a fraction as good as any in Flushing. Specifically, hot and sour soup is generally a pallid ingredient less conconction filled with cornstarch. Spicy means an ounce of flavor where if you request a dish to be hotter, the waitress will present a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce. They cater to what they feel are suburban American tastes and they stay in business so it means the got it right.

                                          1. re: budcar

                                            I also prefer the food in Flushing, which is why I go there as often as possible (it helps to live on the same LIRR line that stops on Main St.), but I understand what the OP is saying. Sometimes you want the old Americanized Chinese food you grew up on. I like this once in a while, too. It's like getting a steak other than at Luger's (or the equivalent) -- you just think of it as a different type of cuisine that you also enjoy.

                                            1. re: budcar

                                              That "suburban American" Chinese food is what the original poster is looking for though. In short, the kind of Chinese food one could get in Flushing before all the Chinese people moved in.

                                          2. What I find interesting about this topic is that not too long ago one of the popular food myths was that there was no good Chinese food outside of NYC. I went to college at SUNY:Albany in the early '90s and people would say that all the time. Now I hear people complaining that the opposite is true. There are old-school chop suey joints in every small town in America and New yorkers say it's hard to find a decent meal in a cardboard box anymore.

                                            1. I (really my wife) was looking for Chinese American food as well - specifically, Egg Foo Yong and Sweet And Sour Pork. Several in this thread recommended King Yum restaurant on Union Turnpike in Flushing, so we tried it. No good - neither dish was worth going back for. Since then, I have discovered 2 other restaurants that make these dishes. The first is New Pacific Restaurant (37-17 Prince Street: 718-886-0388). They make Sweet And Sour Pork (but not Egg Foo Yong). It is tasty, although each piece of pork often has quite a bit of fat with it. The better place for these dishes is New Tung Yi Fung Restaurant (135-29 37th Avenue: 718-886-8233). They make both dishes, and both dishes are excellent. I should point out that these may be the only 2 authentic Chinese restaurants in Flushing that make these dishes, and the staff at both of them are clear that these are not "real" Chinese dishes - at New Tung Yi Fung, the waiters actually gathered around the cashier as I was checking out, to discuss that these foreign dishes actually tasted pretty good. I should also mention that both of these restaurants are top-notch in their own right, along with a 3rd I am particularly impressed with, Full House Seafood Restaurant (136-14 38th Avenue: 718-358-0666).

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: FarVistas

                                                I believe I have found a winner (s)! Joe's Shanghai Flushing and Tung Yi Fung. The funny thing is that I tried Tung without knowing it. Everything I had which was the Cantonese American standards of fried rice, soup, chicken, rolls... was fantastic. Now I come to find out the place is well know for dim sum and authentic chinese cuisine. Go figure. I got the classics all done like it was 1988. Joes Shanghai another pleasant surpise. I went to try the dumplings as a first timer and noticed the menu had the chinese american classics that I was in search of. Tried them and everything was very good. My plan now is to stick with these two and work my way thru the menu. So far the shrimp lo mein, fried rice, eggplant garlic sauce, general tso were all on the money. Thank you Flushing for not forgetting about us gweillos who crave that classic Chinese food with an American twist!

                                                1. re: FarVistas

                                                  I'm not surprised that you found good versions of these dishes at authentic Chinese restaurants. I've had killer lemon chicken in Hong Kong and sweet and sour pork at other authentic restaurants. But I was curious how New Pacific and Tung Yi Fung prepared these dishes. Were they done the same way that the old Chinese American places made them? With the dishes I've had, the dishes were "updated" consistent with the way their authentic dishes were prepared, not gloppy or gooey.

                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                    Don't know about Lemon Chicken, but Sweet and Sour Pork is actually a traditional dish that has been altered slightly in different regions. It is usually sweeter with more corn starch slime in the US. I think b/c of how Chinese food is usually served here in the US. Dishes tend to be runnier (or slimier) so they can be poured over a mound of rice or mixed it. This may be a result of how westerners tend to eat an individual dish that one orders rather. Interesting how food adapts to culture and local habits, not just tastes.