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Fast food Tibetan in Jackson Heights

I stopped by a new Tibetan fast food place this weekend. Unfortunately, I did not record the name of the restaurant, but it's located on that short block where the Indian movie theater and subway entrance is.

They had both chaat and Tibetan food, probably more chaat then Tibetan. I'm not sure why. On the counter was a Chai dispenser and a thermos. The thermos was corked and had Tibetan-style salted tea inside. Both types of tea were good. I'm assuming they were free, but maybe I was charged for it. It was all very informal.

As far as I can tell, the Tibetan food you can get are all dumplings: beef, chicken or vegetarian. I tried the beef. The dumplings were steamed, I believe. The dumpling skin was light and too delicate, but the beef inside was pleasantly greasy and tasty. It came with a Tibetan hot sauce that was quite nice.

Dumplings were about $6.50 total, and the staff was very pleasant. If you are in Jackson Heights, and want a meaty snack, this is a pretty good way to go. It suited the cold, snowy weather perfectly.

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  1. this has been a go-to place of mine for the past year or so. the momo are excellent, but i am really partial to the chaat, especially the pani puri, which is the best in the area.

    3 Replies
    1. re: david sprague

      david, i didn't see pani puri on the menu. is it on the tibetan side or the indian side? thx!

      1. re: congee

        just to be clear, i am talking about the place a couple doors down from tbe eagle theater. there's an island when you walk in -- just past the phone card vendor (i adore the co-operative nature of this neighborhood) -- where a lady makes chaat. the pani puri is tops (six bucks, fwiw) but i haven't been crazy about the samosa chaat -- mostly 'cause of the samosa,

        enjoy...i hope!

      2. re: david sprague

        tried the papri chaat over the weekend; $6 gets an enormous takeout tin of goodies (we asked for the sev and papri on the side) and, it was tasty. mostly chickpeas, potatoes, not enough crunchy stuff in my opinion, although they did look like the pani-puri specialist since they had bags and bags of that. I'd have to say, I enjoyed the Curry & Curry chaat very much (east 33rd in midtown) and, I really liked the newstand chaat more (on sixth avenue, around 36th or 37th street in midtown), I think it was a dollar less and a lot more crunchy. but, this one had good flavors, the ladies are very nice will have to try the pani puri next time. thanks!

      3. It's called "Himalaya Fast Food"
        74-10 37th Rd
        Jackson Heights, NY 11372
        (347) 837-9157

        I love their food. I need to do much more exploring though. I think their momos beat out anywhere in the heights. especially that cart.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Jeffsayyes

          hey jeff:

          i think andrew is actually talkinbg about the place bearer 73rd, not himalayan ff. your place has much better momo, but no chaat station, if i recall properly.

          1. re: david sprague

            Is this that place that looks like it sells lotto tickets? two doors down from eagle theater? That place is okay. At the very least it's got a homestyle mood to it. the ladies are nice. the food is not bad, though I won't be back.

            1. re: Jeffsayyes

              yep, that';s the place. as i said, i prefer the chaat, but the ladies are very nice -- as are their children,who are often there doing homework -- and i dig the veg momo.

              1. re: david sprague

                Interesting! So there's two Tibetan/Himalayan fast food places in Jackson Heights? Man, I love that neighborhood.

                1. re: Andrew Hyatt

                  more than two, actually...head to the back of merit foods on 74th st just off roosevelt and there;s a tibetan counter. prepared dishes (alu dum especially) better than momo. cool tibetsn thsli. shangri-la on 37th also offers some carryout options

                  1. re: david sprague

                    yeah, I dig the tibetan in Merit. Shangrila has good street cred, but I I prefer the other ones so far.

                    1. re: david sprague

                      Anyone tried the Bhutanese food at Tashi Delek (a.k.a. Dumpling Palace), the counter at the back of Merit Farms? Bhutanese isn't so easy to find around here.

                      Here's place info on the eateries in this thread ...

                      Himalayan Fast Food
                      74-10 37th Rd, Queens, NY 11372

                      Merit Kabab Palace
                      37-67 74th St, Queens, NY 11372

                      Tashi Delek
                      37-67 74th St, Queens, NY 11372

                      73-19 37th Rd, Queens, NY 11372

                      1. re: squid kun

                        Just to double-check: Is the OP's Tibetan+chaat place the one where the awning is for an Internet business in the basement?

                        Back in '07 it seems to have been called K2 ... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/448673 . The Samyeling name - visible on a small sign out front and on the printed menu inside - seems relatively new, and may signal a new kitchen.

                        1. re: squid kun

                          Wow - is there any other Bhutanese food in the city? Have you tried it? If so, any notable dishes?

                          1. re: lambretta76

                            there is a "breakfast" place on 37th road, near the corner of either 76th or 77th that had a big sign for bhutanese, nepali and tibetan food. didn't catch the exact address unfortunately, but it basically looks like a deli counter with some seating; the menu on the wall was all bagel/egg/cheese breakfast items but the guy I talked to (they were closing) said they had a full nepali menu. so interesting the neighborhood!

                            1. re: bigjeff

                              it's called luli galas, and it opened a few weeks ago after a long long renovation period. haven't tried it yet, but walk by it on the way to and from the subway every day. crowded at breakfast time, not so much at 6-7 PM. it;s on the corner of 76th, btw,

                              1. re: david sprague

                                I think it might be Lali Guras, which means rhododendron (the official flower of Nepal).

                                1. re: Joe MacBu

                                  you're right, joe....sorry for my mangling!

                              2. re: bigjeff

                                I had lunch at Lali Guras. It was cheap and delicious.

                                Good momos - though those who complain about thick skin will not like it (momos are not supposed to have thin translucent skin).

                                The thali with goat curry was solid. It included black lentil soup, sauteed mustard greens, papad, pickled radish and a big mound of rice (we were even offered a second helping of rice). You can get the thali with chicken curry, vegetarian option or fish curry (which they didn't have). I think it was $7 - quite a good deal.

                                They've got the other standard Tibetan stuff on the menu as well. The folks here are very friendly. It's a very small space and they create 1 dish at a time. Everything tasted fresh.

                                1. re: Joe MacBu


                                  Lali Guras
                                  37-63 76th St, Queens, NY 11372

                            2. re: squid kun

                              Gate was down this afternoon at Himalayan Fast Food, and a local said it was out of business.

                              1. re: squid kun

                                damnit. i barely had a proper meal there. and never went upstairs. they seemed pretty busy too...

                2. Besides the unusual or exotic factor, don't you all find this food to be extremely BORING and even a bit tasteless?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: NYJewboy

                    check out Mustang Thakali Kitchen on 37th. Very tasty and interesting (and unusual) food. Even the veggie momos, with the sesame, tomato and chili sauces, were out of this world. I guess it's the good Nepali stuff I like. The one time I went to Himalayan Yak and ordered off both the tibetan and nepali sides of the menus, the former was a bit bland, while the latter was pretty great.

                    1. re: Widmark

                      I so need to check this Nepali place out.

                  2. while this isn't fast food tibetan, I caught a late meal at Shangri-La, located on roosevelt avenue right across from the train entrance and a door down from the Dunkin Donuts. This is the place with a takeout/steamtable area at the back, a few steps down, with a separate entrance at the backside as well. The place has morphed over the years from a typical indian place, to an indian buffet, to an indian buffet that had indo-chinese food and now, to this place, which has Indian, Tibetan and Nepali food. The place looks totally refreshed and we had a nice little meal there last night. The back steamtable area had the typical indian stuff (didn't look very good) and, the indian selections are just a single page in the somewhat expansive menu, as was the nepali choices (no translations) but the tibetan food was well described. We ordered:

                    + luk-sha sha drey (lamb curry) from the tibetan menu, came with tingmo
                    + butter tea from the tibetan menu
                    + jibro fry (goat tongue) from the nepali menu
                    + bhatmas sandoko/chuia (fried mung bean with beaten rice) from the nepali menu
                    + for dessert, rolled pasta with cheese/sugar from the tibetan menu

                    the lamb was quite nice; could be more tender but flavor was good; not particularly strong flavors but definitely unique; they had another lamb dish which sounded similar but also had spinach and daikon which looked interesting. they also had a lamb soup with pasta (sha gutse ri-thuk) which was prob. real good; the hand-made pasta reminded me of cavatelli, like they rolled it around the handle of a wooden spoon or something; same pasta as for the dessert I'm sure. the tingmo (steamed bun with many spirals) was really good.

                    the fried goat tongue was really good! tasted strong, lotta cartilage, some jawbone but basically, cut-up pieces of goat tongue/mouth, fried up and well-seasoned. sounds gross but tastes really good.

                    the mung bean / beaten rice thing was a snack; tasty, garnished with fresh ginger and garlic and we basically ate spoonfuls of it, but also ate it with the curry, with the goat; great textural contrast and really interesting flavor; there was a very pleasant aftertaste of spinach or something vegetal, a faint taste of horseradish somehow.

                    oh, and they also gave us a dish of hot sauce / condiments which was nice; the hot sauce was very sweet (almost korean) but had a very fresh taste and a fast-burn (as opposed to slow-burn) heat and there was also a giant puddle of momo sauce, which sorta tasted and looked like a roasted yellow pepper sauce, kinda sweet, very good.

                    pleasant experience, nice waitstaff (very attentive and helpful with explaining the menu) and definitely worth a trip with maybe a medium-sized group. they also offered thalis, and all other kinds of interesting stuff.

                    there were many other interesting things on the menu. oh and . . . . the food definitely sits a little heavy.

                    7415 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bigjeff

                      Interesting review of Shangri-La. Place looks inviting. Yesterday afternoon, I was walking along 37th Ave below 74th Street and notice what appears to be a new Awning at 7106 37th Ave which reads, "Naan Kebob Sea Food Restaurant". Under the name of the retaurant is, "Indo-Pak-Bangladesh, Nepal, Chinese, Thai". It will also be a grocery store. So it looks like another new opening soon. Can the neighborhood support another new restaurant & grocery store? Oh well, we shall see.

                    2. There was a place on Roosevelt between 73rd and 74th ( approx. ) called the Tibetan Yak. Wonder if it still open? Seemed Authentic.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CCSPRINGS

                        yes, closed for a year, but now it's back as himalayan yak.

                      2. I had a very interesting experience today. Went into Elms Cafe (or Elm Cafe) on broadway across from Pacific supermarket to see what they are about... They are a quick deli with sandwiches and lots of american food, but ALSo, they sell momos and maybe one or 2 tibetan(or nepalese, etc) foods - but they hardly advertise it at all.
                        I got 5 chicken momos for 2 dollars ----- and they were outstanding. The older lady in the back made them fresh for me. There were 2 mature ladies cooking and a frankly beautiful younger woman at the counter. They were cooking food for themselves at the time and it looked great. It was shrimp and bamboo and onions and tomatoes I think. I asked them about it and it wasn't on the menu - it was for their lunch. They gave me some anyways for free and that was very sweet of them.

                        People: We have to encourage places like this not to pander to american tastes and offer their homestyle foods! I don't understand why they don't put things like that on the menu, it would be a hit.

                        Anyways - try the momos - oustanding and stupid cheap.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: Jeffsayyes

                          great tip, jeff....i never thought to look inside this place but will do so this weekend!

                          1. re: david sprague

                            Check that... I asked today where they are from and a girl said Honk Kong. I could have sworn it said momos on the sign - which is not up anymore. Well, momos or not, they were still great dumplings.

                            today i had a beef stew there and it was fine. it seemed tibetan too!

                            1. re: Jeffsayyes

                              I stopped by Elm's Cafe at about 1PM for tea and noticed the older woman was serving herself a plate of the beef stew. She noticed me looking and commented, "you must try it, its very good". I plan on doing so very soon. I plan to also try the dumplings.

                              1. re: Mike V

                                tried the vegetable momo and wow....so good. not difara/sri wait for an hour after a 90 minute drive good, but a thanks to the patron saint of chow for plunking my home three blocks away good.

                                veggies just right. not mush, not raw, and a nice blend of different ones. dough good be a tiny bit thinner but at this price, this degree of care is so thrilling. thanks for the heads up and cannot wait to try more

                              2. re: Jeffsayyes

                                I was at Elm Cafe today and the have a new sign in the window that reads, "5 Chicken Dumplings (Momo) $2 ". I tried the dumplings yesterday and they were very good. The inside very moist chicken with a green vegetable and nicely seasoned. The outside is very thin. These dumplings are so light that 5 isn't enough but they did lower the price from $2.50 to $2.00. The place is busy. Today they had 4 woman behind the counter plus an older gentleman that speaks to the staff in English. Dont know his Nationality. They now have Rice Noodles ($1.50) and recently added Chicken Chilli over Rice. I'm hoping they'll add additional Asian dishes besides the Noodles and Dumplings. I plan to mention this next visit. I hope this place survives. Once the summer arrives they'll have large crowds outside the door waiting for the Express Bus to the Beach which will provide additional business. The place could use some more seating but that's not possible so they need to encourage those who have the few counter seats not to linger and socialize.

                                1. re: Mike V

                                  just had an order of the chicken momo and was super, super impressed. easily the freshest tasting and lightest specimens in the area. the spicing is really good...a little on the sweet side almost, lots of ginger, maybe a little clove?...and the green veg, which seems to be about a third of the filling, makes a big big difference. hope to try more offerings soon.

                                  1. re: david sprague

                                    so having been blown away by the momo, thought i would try another option -- and not the tuna fish sandwich :)

                                    the chili chicken.


                                    or, more accurately, wow for the price. if i were served this for eight bucks at a sit down, i'd be iffy, but for three bucks? generous portion, good ingredients and tasty spice (who is not married to david beckham). thanks, mike, for the tip...this is a biggie for me!!

                                    1. re: david sprague

                                      Thanks for the review on the Chicken Chilli. I'm stopping by this afternoon and taking it home for dinner. I love Chilli but where can you get it in JH's. I once ordered in at Jackson House (83rd & 37th) and it was awful. I plan to also try the beef stew with rice.

                                      1. re: david sprague

                                        Just tried the chicken chili, and while it was filling and a big portion, I have to quibble with your remark about it being good ingredients. The meat is all thigh meat, which makes me think it's probably from those 20 lb bags of frozen commercial chicken meat, like you would find at school cafeterias. $3.25 is about right for the price. And the rice was pretty mediocre (again, commercial quality?). However, that said, it was a decent meal for the measly price. A good recession buster. But I probably won't get it again. I'm more apt to try the beef stew. The dumplings, on the other hand, were good indeed. These and an order of dumplings from Lao Bei Fang in Elmhurst would make a good, cheap combination (and a nice little walk).

                                    2. re: Mike V

                                      I went today and another curious thing popped up on the menu: Thai Iced Tea - $2.00

                                      Didn't get it, but I did get the momos again. this time they only gave me 4 though...

                                      but thai iced tea?? they know no limits

                                      1. re: Jeffsayyes

                                        I went yesterday also and had 5 Momos that was well worth the 5 minute wait.. The sign says, "5 Chicken Dumplings (Momo) for $2." Next visit make certain its 5. Yesterday the momos seemed larger. I've observed that they make 10 momos at a time placing 5 in each container and placing them on the counter. When they're gone they make another 10. I also took home the chicken chilli which was very good and served with fried rice. Well worth $3.25 and a very generous portion. I did add a little hot sauce to spice it up a bit. Once I had momos that were on the counter and weren't freshly made. They were good but not as good as fresh made. Next visit, I plan to order 10 but will insist on fresh made. I always have the Momos on site since I like eating them fresh made and not heated up at home. The rice noodles on the counter are good but not great but for $1.50 I shouldn't complain. Next visit I'll order the Thai Iced Tea. I like this place and feel that they will survive since they are busy.

                                        1. re: Mike V

                                          Is this chilli chicken as in the Indian-style Chinese dish?

                                          1. re: squid kun

                                            Squid: No this is not Indian/Chinese chilli chicken. Its American style chili .

                                            1. re: Mike V

                                              Ah, thanks - not what I expected. Hard to categorize this place (not a bad thing).

                                              Elm's Cafe
                                              74-32 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

                                              1. re: Mike V

                                                I liken it to a stew. Isn't american chili like with beans and stuff ?
                                                it doesn't have peppers in it, that's for sure.
                                                Reminded me of tibetan stews. Not much to them, but they are just good home cooked food. I asked an older woman why are the dumplings so good and she said because it's homemade stuff.

                                      2. re: Jeffsayyes

                                        I tried the chicken dumplings, and while they were good, I wouldn't call them "momos" for several reasons. First, I don't think the owner nor workers are Nepali/Tibetan (as Jeffsayyes has pointed out). Second, the seasoning tastes more Chinese. Nepali momos usually have a more complex flavor from the use of onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, coriander, cumin, timur, etc. Third, they're cooked more in the style of potstickers (though the bottom was only barely golden on the ones I tried). Fourth, the only sauce available is sriracha (a good homemade sauce is an essential complement to momos).

                                        I'm not knocking these dumplings but just making a distinction. They're advertised as "momos" for the sake of the Nepali population in the area. (BTW, the sign saying "momos" was posted this week).

                                        1. re: Joe MacBu

                                          More confusion develops with elm's cafe. A few weeks ago they expanded and today I went in and they were selling a buffet lunch. The price was either 4.50 or 6.50. There were 6 steam tables. And what type of food? Thai and Chinese. This place is a freaking conundrum. BTW, it looked really good, but I am worried that it won't be spicy because it's for the general population.

                                          I'm mad I can't go tomorrow (have to help a friend move ... blahhhhh) , but I'm going to try and get there friday. This place continues to mystify. oh, and the choco chip cookies rock as well.