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Feb 22, 2008 11:28 AM

Taiwanese Restaurants in Flushing - recommendations?

I would love to find a really good Taiwanese restaurant in Flushing, but I'm new to Queens (and, therefore, Flushing), so I don't really know where to go. I've heard that Flushing is the best place in New York for Taiwanese food, so any recommendations would be HUGELY appreciated!

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  1. Red Chopstick has come up recently:

    There was also some talk late last year about other places in Flushing and Elmhurst:

    Main Street Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet
    59-14 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

    135-40 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

    Taiwanese Specialties
    84-02 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

    Red Chopstick
    136-17 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

    21 Replies
    1. re: squid kun

      I've eaten at Main Street and liked it very much but be forewarned that it's not that close to the Main Street - 7 line station.

      1. re: kathryn

        Red Chopsticks sounds like a good place to start off - good reviews and near the train. Maybe I will venture a little further out next time. I think there is a bus that runs along Main St., so I could try Main Street Imperial some time once I figure out the route. Thanks!

        1. re: angiebc290

          btw main street sounds pretty good, anyone know whats good there?

          1. re: Lau

            As suggested in the Chow Digest, the “Three Cup Chicken” is quite good at the “Imperial Taiwanese Gourmet” restaurant,” as well as a Tofu dish that comes to your table in a miniature wok and heated to maintain the tofu’s temperature. Unfortunately, we do not remember the actual name of the Tofu dish. There are a number of other dishes that are good, but the names of the dishes we liked elude us just now, since we haven’t been there for a number of months now.

            The dishes are quite inexpensive, most around $10, but the dishes are on the small side and one needs to order more than one dish per person, especially if there are hearty eaters at the table.

            One has to eat there a number of times to find out which are the good dishes, as we have had our clinkers eating there. The noodles with oysters dish was not very good, with very few oysters and the noodles were wet stir fried which did not have much texture or flavor.

            The menu listings of the dishes are quite minimalist with only a two or three word listing. The listing for the three cup chicken is simply “3 Cup Chicken” with no description of how the dish is made. One can of course quiz the waitress about the dishes, but one would need to speak Mandarin, and since almost all of the menu items are non-descriptive, the waitresses might get a little upset describing each dish for you. The waitresses have been known to be brusque, if you take too much time to order.

            Since the business is quite good at “Imperial Taiwanese,” with every table full on weekend nights and a long line out the door, the waitresses can afford to be surly.

            P.S. Since you had posted on the Canton Gourmet restaurant in November 2007, that you had good experiences there and we had a good experience there also last year, we thought to mention the less than good experience a friend of ours had in eating at the “Canton Gourmet” restaurant last weekend. Their family ordered the Steamed Dungeness Crab Over Sweet Rice, and was charged $16 per lb for the crab which the restaurant stated was 3 lbs, and received a dead Dungeness Crab (mushy flesh instead of firm), even though the crab that the restaurant showed them was certainly alive, and the sweet rice was not fresh, but appeared to be old cooked sweet rice that they just steamed up with the crab. Not good for the restaurant to do this when a person pays top dollar at $48 for the steamed Dungeness Crab dish. The restaurant must be having money issues to be serving dead Dungeness Crab to diners like our friend last week.

            1. re: lwong

              three cup chicken translates directly the same in chinese "san bei ji"...its a pretty standard taiwanese dish, i think its called that cuz they use soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil (i.e. 3 cups)...sounds promising b/c i love three cup chicken

              too bad on canton gourmet, hope it was a one-time fluke b/c i really like the garlic crab and garlic chicken dishes

        2. re: kathryn

          its actually pretty far from downtown flushing...i drove past it the other, its real close to the Long Island Expressway

          1. re: Lau

            red chopsticks is really good and has a real nice decor

            1. re: chefjellynow

              My wife and I really enjoy Red Chopsticks. We went back again today, but got more non-Taiwanese dishes, like salt and pepper pork chops and steamed fluke. On our way out, we couldn't help ourselves though and got an order of taiwanese tempura and that intestines vermicelli soup.

              you could also try the food court at flushing mall. it's mostly non-Taiwanese, but there is an Ay-Chung there that has the oyster or squid vermicelli, and other traditional fare. Pretty good as well. I think Red Chopsticks is higher quality, but Ay Chung has some things you can't get elsewhere.

              There is also another place on the same block as Flushing Mall, that is a standalone restaurant with a green awning. I'm not a huge fan, except for their rice with meat sauce.

              1. re: FattyDumplin

                if its the same ay chung im thinking of (they have branches in LA and taiwan)...they specialize in that vermicelli with intestines (its called ah zhong mian xian in chinese), its really good if they do it right

                1. re: Lau

                  It does look like the same Ay Chung with the red and green logo that's in San Gabriel and a bunch of other places. Of course with these fake overseas Chinese restaurant chains springing up you can never be absolutely sure.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    I think they "licensed" from the real store. not clear what that really means. It is the same logo though...

                    I was just in Taipei ove rthe holidays and the real Ay Chung at She Men Ding. The one in flushing is very close. AND, it comes in a heaping bowl - about a year ago, they switched from standard size bowls to these giant ones that I can never finish. And it still costs about $4 bucks.

                    Plus their crispy chicken (another Taiwanese fave) is perfectly fried and the stinky tofu's not bad either. Portions of these are huge also.

                    1. re: FattyDumplin

                      oh no way! thats frickin awesome the ay chung at ximending late night food ever

                      must go to the flushing mall asap

                      1. re: Lau

                        haha. yeah, i was shocked the first time we saw it there. it's definitely not quite as good, but beggars can't be choosers. and the serving size is ridiculously huge.

                        if you're familiar with places in taiwan, there is also a place at flushing mall that calls itself "yong he dou jiang", which you may know is famous for its breakfast foods, i.e. chinese doughnuts, soy milk, potstickers, chive pockets, meat pockets, egg pancake, and so on. Not always fresh and a bit greasy, but pretty good renditions.

                        This one i am more certain is a knockoff.

                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                          yeah i think i saw that place last time i was there, i wasn't quite sure what they served as no one was waiting in line and all i saw was a bunch of fried stuff like you tiao sitting around and i didnt take the time to look at the menu

                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                            There's a v. popular mainland China chain, Yonghe King (Yong he da wang) that specializes in such items. Is there really a Yonghe doujiang chain per se? Yonghe is a city in Taiwan famous for dou jiang, and apparently it's quite common for shops to call themselves "Yonghe Doujiang" which would be akin, I suppose, to a pizzeria calling itself "New York Pizza" or a place labeling itself "Philadelphia Cheese Steak".


                            1. re: Xiao Yang

                              ohhh interesting...there are a whole bunch breakfast places in LA that are all called yong he <blank> and i never knew why they all had the same name (sort of)...makes sense now

                              1. re: Xiao Yang

                                I think I may have lived across the street from the original Yong He Doujian growing up in Taiwan! I never knew that it'd become a chain until way after I left Taiwan. Yong He wasn't quite a "city" at that time. (This was 1970's) Every morning as early as 5 am, I can smell the doujian, and you tiao. I also remember them cutting open the Shao Bing with scissors, making the youtiao, (using a chopstick to press the two strands together, and then pulling it to great length in a beautiful bow shape just before placing into the oil. ...those were the best youtiao - light and crisp and whispy soft - and best of all, the little Shen Jian Bao they made - oily and crisp-bottomed with juicy fillings and fragrant sesame and freshly chopped scallions sprinkled on top I think they may have baked the Shao Bings inside a standing steel drum type of barrel. Don't remember how they remove them though, as they would adhere to the sides with the coal burning in the middle. I do remember seeing the forearms of those big tall men from Shandong, how the arm turns red in patches as they manually put each shao bing into the steel drum. They also made those plain hard Bing in those standing barrels. These are like the Bai Ji Mo, or the plain wheat bread in a disc shape that had the flavor of plain wheat-ness, like a good bowl of white rice.

                                Growing up with Yong He Doujian across the street has been a mixed blessing. I had the best, I took it for granted because I didn't have it any other way until I left Taiwan. I've never had any as good since.

                2. re: Lau

                  This reminds me of what I had heard about traveling to Main Street Imperial but have not had a chance to try - anyone willing to give it a try will be much appreciated:

                  Supposedly you can get to this place from Manhattan's Chinatown - Flushing shuttle (at Confuscious tower by the statue) if you can speak enough Chinese to have the driver let you out before you actually get to the Flushing Stop. I forget the magic word, but apparently it's one of the unofficial stops for the regular shuttle passengers. Maybe there can be a volunteer who speaks some Chinese, and kind of know where to get off.....Lau? :)

                  1. re: HLing

                    Aw, c'mon! According to my map it's just a bit over a mile from Main to 59th Ave. Youse guys are New Yorkers, not Los Angelenos, right? Unless there's something daunting I don't know about the terrain or terroir, it seems perfect for a little stroll. I'll no longer walk a mile for a Camel, but will for a good Three-Cup Chicken.

                    1. re: HLing

                      sorry i never take the shuttle, i usually take the LIRR or go with one of my friends who has a car

                      haha the los angelenos in me is making one of my friends drive me there

                      1. re: HLing

                        My friends and I have taken the Chinatown bus that goes directly to Flushing. It was only $3 and only took 30 minutes. I believe you can find this shuttle bus at Market Street and East Broadway (by all the other Chinatown buses). They are the mini buses. You can always ask the driver if they're going to Flushing before getting on. They can let you off anywhere off Main Street.

                3. The best Taiwanese joint featuring 3 cup chicken around the flushing area is 故鄉 (Gu Xiang) restaurant. The one at Red Chopsticks is hit and miss at best. I have had it there at times it is salty and while there is a mound of basil there is no basil flavor at all. While the 3 cup chicken is great at Gu Xiang, there are some stuff that isnt so great. I have had a taiwanese winter staple at Guxiang the aged ginger duck that was really great. This you have to order ahead of time because it takes time to prep. a few of my friends also really love the stirfried stinky tofu. the place is pretty cheap so it cannot hurt to try.