Giant Kimchi Buns from the borders of China & korea
Ming Chan Dong Korean Restaurant
36-24 Union st.
Flushing, NY 11354
718 358 3935
I was on Northern blvd at the Luh Yu Tea Emporium on a spontaneous visit. Then I was looking for the riceroll and donga place that one of the hounds had mentioned because I was with a vegetarian friend looking for the illusive Korean vegetarian food...Of course, I didn't have the address nor the name with me at the time, so wandering feet got tired after a while and the stomach started to growl and took over the search.
There were some giant buns in a glass case in the window, plus pictures of soon dubu, and the Chinese characters, 麻花, which is the deep fried twisted dough (NOT Youtiao, but more, in this case, like a Chinese pretzel in the shape of a giant twisted braid about a foot long). We sat down and ordered a 麻花 （pronouced ma2 hua1) to start. Granted we were hungry, but fried dough never tasted so good! It was slightly sweet, but just from the dough, not glaze. It was soft, with chewy texture.
Liking this dough, I asked about the buns. Vegetarian bun, pork bun, Kimchi bun, and red bean bun. KIMCHI BUNS???!! It wasn't vegetarian, but neither was I.
The bun was almost as big as my face. I took a bite and it was going fast after that. The vegetarian friend even asked to try because it smelled so good, and there were no visible signs of meat. The filling was all the way to within 1/8 inch of the dough all around. That's a lot of filling, and in this case, a very well-balanced filling so that it wasn't over-powering. It was spicy enough, but the dough held up well against it. It went down so easily and I immediately thought to myself, why haven't I had one of these before?! Am I supposed to keep it a secret? (The vegetarian bun was also quite robust and tasty, but not as stunning after I'd already tasted the Kimchi bun.)
The Kimchi soon dubu was more tart than most I've had elsewhere, which made it a lot more flavorful than places where the soup had lots of red, but tasted bland. This was a nicely flavored soup with plenty of tender tofu. Unfortunately I only had one spoonful which was all I could handle after the Ma Hua, and the bun, and...huh, the huge bowl of Zha jian Mian, which I'll have to be fair and try when I'm not already stuffed. FIrst impression was that I liked the soft crispy fried to black pieces of pork doused in black sauce, almost like pieces of very fluffy toast. Also that the noodles were not the hand-pulled, but almost udon in thickness. I was told their noodle chef wasn't in tonight when I asked about the 麻酱麵 (sesame noodles?), so I'll have to investigate further.
Our neighbor ordered Ma Po Tofu, (either that or the Ma La tofu) and it looked amazing with whole squares of tofu, instead of the usual mush of tofu) and chili pepper sauce and garnish all over. Definitely something I'll try next time.
I got a red bean bun and some tea eggs to go on my way out. The red bean fillings were again, filled to the very limit, and were of really azuki beans that tasted fresh and wholesome, neither too sweet, nor too heavy.
The menus have only Chinese and Korean on it. The waiter is Chinese who came from the border of China and Korea, and speaks both languages. This is a new type of restaurant that's got the best of both worlds to me. They are opened from 7 Am to midnight. A very unpretentious place that suits my "peasant" taste well. If ever anyone crave a Steamed Kimchi Bun late at night, this is the place!
Ming Chan Dong
36-24 Union St, Queens, NY 11354
Those kimchi buns are pretty good.
The pork is ground and you can see it if you look closely.
Hope you manage to make it to dongas next time. It's closer to Roosevelt.
Yum! I can only read the Korean, but I see a bunch of stir-fries, more Chinese-sounding than Korean (stir-fried frog!) as well as some intriguing more Korean-sounding dishes. Corn naengmyeon, which are the North Korean cold noodles--I've never had it with corn. The Zha Jian Mian, I wonder if that's like 짜장면, the black-bean Korean-Chinese noodle dish that's a delivery staple in Korea.
Can't wait to try this place!
the dish you're referring to ja jang myun (korean) is actually based upon zha jiang mian from northern china, so it is the staple delivery you get, but the korean version tastes different (its the koreanized version of a northern chinese dish)
in fact all of the korean-chinese dishes that are popular in korea (and korean areas of america) are based on northern chinese dishes, its similar to americanized chinese food except its the korean take on chinese dishes; well actually i believe its chinese people who moved to korea and then adapted their dishes to korean taste.
In LA there are a few chiense restaurants who's menus read exactly like the korean-chinese restaurants except they are all the original version of the dishes...i find it very interesting b/c alot of the chinese food is so foreign to me b/c i grew up eating mainly southern chinese food; there is so much more bread, wheat, use of lamb, different spices etc
Thanks, this is such a fascinating subject to me. I know many of the Chinese restaurants in Seoul are run by ethnic Chinese. There's apparently even a Chinatown in the city of Incheon. I'm sure the influences run both ways--ethnic Chinese in Korea, ethnic Koreans in China. I recently read an article about Dongbei food that describes a version of kimchi that's less spicy than in Korea, which makes sense given North Korean kimchi is generally less spicy as well.
Anyway, any recommendations for a good Korean-Chinese ja jang myun in Flushing? And for a good zha jiang to compare?
Thanks Joe MacBu for the menu pages!
AppleSister, I actually asked the waiter which version of the Zha Jian noodles they serve (Chinese or Korean), and he said they have BOTH. Since I'd been watching Korean drama I asked for the Korean Version. Anyhow, since you read Korean, I was wondering if you could tell me what page 5 the 12th one down the list is in korean? In Chinese it says "Pine Mushroom sliced meat", and I was just wondering exactly what kind of "pine mushroom" that happens to be. There was also a Potato Pancake that the waiter recommended that I didn't get to try. From his description it sounded like hash brown. I wonder if that's Chinese or Korean...
Lau, yes, this restaurant had more than just giant Kimchi buns :), but there are other similar places in Flushing that serves food like this (I think ScoopG did a report on one). I like that both Korean and Chinese are spoken there, and that native speakers of both countries eat there. To me it doesn't matter so much which country influenced whom in particular dishes, but more important that people from that region can find food they get home sick for. ...
re: Miss Needle
Thanks Miss Needle for the prompt reply!
I was suspecting that the "pine mushroom" would be Matsutake, which if served in a Japanese restaurant would be pretty expensive. Do the Korean's use the Japanese name, too? Or do you just happen to know it in Japanese?
*edit: I'm going to take advantage of Korean speaker/readers here. Before settling on eating at Ming Chan Dong I also wandered to the section of Union street on the other side of Northern blvd. Within that short block, there was one small noodle house on the 2nd floor that had only Korean, no English or Chinese. It's all noodles, and it looked like it might be something for a obsessive noodle hound to try out. If it weren't for my vegetarian friend's nay say, I would have tried. Do any of the Korean hounds know the place, or can have a look? Thanks!
"I also wandered to the section of Union street on the other side of Northern blvd. Within that short block, there was one small noodle house on the 2nd floor that had only Korean, no English or Chinese. It's all noodles, and it looked like it might be something for a obsessive noodle hound to try out."
Oh, that's Jang Tur Noodles, a shop that specializes in Gooksoo noodles. It is my favorite of the several places I've tried around Flushing. Check it out. No real menu, except a choice for plain, seafood, or chicken noodles. All the noodles are handmade, and it takes some time after you order for it to come out. Make sure to ask for some of their killer hot sauce as well.
re: E Eto
Marvelous, E Eto! Thanks for the information about Jan Tur Noodles. The pictures showed exactly the place. I had a feeling it'd be something I want to try...if it weren't for the vegetarian friend who didn't feel like there were anything for her.
What is Gooksoo noodles? And just in case, is the plain vegetarian? Or do they use non-vegetarian broth?
Yes, it's awesome that Korean-Chinese and Chinese-Korean and curious chowhounds can get food they're homesick for :) I don't know if there is a Chinese version of potato pancakes, but there's definitely a Korean one--gamja-jeon. Whenever I make it, my friends say it tastes like a latke with scallions. Some people grate the potatoes more, which makes them chewier and less like a hash brown.
I'm amazed they're serving pine mushrooms at that price--are they truly pine mushrooms?
Thanks to everyone for the tips! When I get to Guh Song, I'll post a menu translation in return.
btw i forgot to answer your question about chinese zha jiang mian...unfortunately i haven't had a good version although to be fair a) i haven't really seen it that many places and b) i haven't actively gone out looking for
its very good when done right, but i dont think its all that readily available in NY (someone feel free to please correct me as id be very happy to find a place)
oh and one more thing...my friend who's gf is korean and from flushing has some other korean-chinese place she goes to and my friend (who is chinese) says its the best
it has some really generic name like chinese restaurant or china house or something...i think its off northern, id never heard of it or seen it
im probably going to try it this weekend, so ill let you guys know how it is
Assume it's Chinese House at 149-08 41st Avenue in the Murray Hill section of Flushing. Been there twice and it is the best of its type I've found in Flushing. Not at the level of Guh Song on Bell Blvd. in Bayside or Mandarin Restaurant on Broad Ave in Palisades Park NJ but very good all the same.
re: Joe MacBu
ok i sat down with a friend of mine and translated the whole menu although given its northern chinese food i don't know what half the stuff is (if you haven't noticed northern chinese food is night and day to southern chinese food which i grew up eating):
#1: not going to translate b/c its just the name of the restaurant
#2 - liang cai lei - cold food category
- rou si la pi - shredded meat with some type of pulled dough
- cong you hai zi - scallion oil jelly fish
- lao cu zhe tou - some type of vinegar sauce clam
- jin zhen gu ban huang gua - dried yellow flower mushroom mixed with cucumber
- huang gua ban zhe tou - cucumbers with clams
- liang ban tu dou si - cold shredded potato
- jiang niu rou - minced beef
- sheng ban niu rou - raw beef (this is yook hwe, which is a korean beef tar tar)
#3 - niu, yang, ji lei - beef, lamb, chicken category
- xiao ji dun mo gu - some type of braised (literally cooked a long time) small chicken with mushroom
- gong bao ji - kung pao chicken
- chong qing la zi ji - spicy chong qing chicken
- shui zhu yang rou - a specific sichuan preparation of lamb (people on the board familiar with sichuan food will know what shui zhu is)
- shui zhu niu rou - same as above except with beef
- hei jiao niu rou - black pepper beef
- xiao jiao niu rou si - shredded beef w/ small peppers
- zi ran niu rou - cumin beef
- suan xiang niu rou - garlic beef
- zi ran yang rou - cumin lamb
- suan xiang yang rou - garlic lamb
- cong bao yang rou - some type of scallion lamb
- cong bao niu rou - some type of scallion beef
#4 - zhu rou lei - pork category
- xiang la rou si - spicy shredded pork
- shui zhu rou - same sichuan preparation as before with pork
- liu san yang - 3 types of meat with some type of corn starch sauce
- jian jiao yao hua - pepper kidney
- gan zhe hei ji rou - dry fried pork tenderloin
#5 - continuation of pork section
- hong shao du pian - braised stomach pieces
- liu fei chang - fatty intestine
- jian jiao fei chang - pepper fatty intestine
- jian jiao du pian - pepper with stomach pieces
- rou chao mu er - stir fried meat with a type of black fungus
- jing jiang rou si - shredded meat with a beijing sauce?
- yu xiang rou si - shredded meat in garlic sauce
- hong shao rou dun dou jiao - braised meat with firm tofu
- suan cai zhu rou dun fen tiao - pork with pickled vegetables and rice rough
- suan cai rou si dun fen tiao - shredded meat with pickled vegetables and rice rough
- guo bao rou - we weren't sure what this was, but i googled it and its a fried fatty pork filet in a sweet sauce (http://www.chinatravel.net/forum/Hung... to fit more with the korean chinese genre
- song mo rou pian - shredded meat w/ mushrooms
- chao san zhen - stir fried 3 types of meats?
- kou rou - preserved pork belly
- hong shao rou - braised meat
- mu shu rou - moo shoo pork
- rou si la pi - spicy shredded meat
- zha qie he - fried eggplant box
#6 - hai xian lei - seafood category
- bei ji bei - clams
- shui zhu yu pian - same sichuan preparation as above except with fish
- ma la tian ji - spicy sichuan frog
- jiao yen tian ji - salt and pepper frog
- suan cai you yu juan - squid with pickled vegetable and rice roll
- gan bian you yu - dry sauteed squid
- gong bao xia ren - kung pao shrimp
- gan shao da xia - dry braised whole shrimp
- jiao yen xia ren - salt and pepper shrimp
- hong shao hai shen - braised sea cucumber
- ge shi long xia - lobster that can be prepared several different ways (you'd end up choosing
)- qing zhen lu yu - steamed fish
- gan shao ce yu - dry braised fish
#7 - continuation of seafood section
- hong shao ce yu - braised fish
- dou ban ce yu - fish in bean sauce
- hong shao min tai yu - another braised fish
- xiang zha xian huang yu - fried small yellow fish
- luong dun yu - another fish unclear what kind?
- liu yu duan - another fish unclear what kind?
- sha guo lao ban yu dou fu - fish and tofu in a clay pot
- chuan bai rou - sichuan pork belly (not sure why this is in fish section?)
- lao ban yu dou fu tang - fish soup
- suan la tang - hot and sour soup
- fan gie dan gua tang - tomato and egg soup
- bai cai dou fu tang - napa cabbage and tofu soup
- gua pian dan gua zi cai tang - melon and egg soup
- suan cai du pian tang - pickled vegetable and stomach soup
#8 - vegetable category
- yu xiang qie zi - eggplant in garlic sauce
- jian jiao tu dou si - shredded potato and peppers
- ma po dou fu - mapo tofu
- hong shao dou fu - braised tofu
- jian jiao gan dou fu - dried tofu w/ peppers
- gan bian si ji dou - dry sauteed string beans
- qing chao dou miao - stir fried vegetable (i always forget what its called in english)
- suan rong dou miao - garlic vegetable (i always forget what its called in english)
- suan rong kong xin cai - garlic vegetable (i always forget what its called in english)
- suan rong xiao bai cai - garlic napa cabbage
- di san xian - 3 treasures
- song ren yu mi - corn with pinenuts
- ba si di gua - sweet potato in this carmelized sugar thing (awesome when done right)
- ba si yu tou - taro in this carmelized sugar thing (awesome when done right)
- xia ren pa you cai - some type of shrimp and vegetable dish (no idea why this is here)
- jiang mi mi chang - something with rice dough
- da mi jiao zi - big rice dumplings
- shui jiao - steamed dumplings
- tu dou big - potato pancake
- leng mian - cold noodles
- ban leng mian - room temperature noodles (i think?)
- yu mi leng mian - cold noodles with corn
- yu mi wen mian - warm noodles with corn
- la bai cai tang - spicy napa cabbage soup
- niu rou tang fan - beef and rice soup
- su cai chao fan - vegetable fried rice
- ji rou chao fan - chicken fried rice
- xia ren chao fan - shrimp fried rice
- bao fan - omelette rice
- ? (only in korean)
#10 - huo guo - hot pot
- niu rou pai huo guo- beef rib hot pot
- niu nan huo guo - beef tendon hot pot
- niu rou huo guo - beef hot pot
- ming tai yu dun dou fu - fish and tofu hot pot
- suan cai huo guo - pickled vegetable hot pot
- hei shan yang huo guo - black mountain lamb hot pot
- chuan bao rou tang - spicy white meat hot pot?
#11 - drinks - didnt bother translating, plus most were only in korean anyhow
Wonder if there's a second menu of Korean dishes (like the kimchi soon dubu HLing had).
Or maybe the place has shifted gears. I passed by late last month and grabbed a business card (didn't see a takeout menu at the time). From the card (see below), I figured this was mostly a Korean restaurant specializing in soon dubu and BBQ. Then again, the card puts the Chinese characters first.
Here's yesterday's Digest version ... http://www.chow.com/outer_boroughs_di...
And a place record (unlinkable for now because of site issues): http://www.chow.com/restaurants/91268...
re: squid kun
Actually the menu has two columns listing the Mandarin and Korean descriptions of each dish (or most dishes, since some have only one translation). Plus several specials listed on the wall. Also an English menu, though that seemed to omit a number of dishes. Not obvious what the best approach is for those unsure what to order. Talk to them for suggestions.
re: squid kun
well it could be that some of the dishes just translate weird in chinese, i had my gf look at them, she could read everything, but she didn't know what some of the dishes really were b/c they're probably more chinese (i.e. they weren't typical korean or korean-chinese)
i dont know what alot of them are either
thanks again, Lau for the translation. what would be helpful (if anyone can transcribe korean well) is to get the korean "pinyin" or phonetic name translation for the menu as well; for instance the menu item under #9 for "cold noodles" sounds like the chinese word, "leng mian" or simply, cooling noodle, but in korean, it would probably be written out as naeng-myun instead. not sure if there really are korean phonemes for some of the really chinese-y dishes like the yu-xiang chie-zhi though but I would imagine, for instance, there is probably a tang-soo-yook" on the menu somewhere in the pork category, but in chinese it might be the "gua bao rou" maybe. innnnnnnteresting.
And I can help out as well. bigjeff, thanks again for organizing, I was so stuffed and so happy after that dinner. You know, until I read your write-up, I didn't even realize there was a Chinese word "leng mian." The Korean on the menu was definitely "naeng myun" though there was ONE place where it said "leng myun" in Korean. Which reminded me of this crazy North Korean cold noodle ad that had "leng myun" all over it. (http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal/...) Growing up in Seoul, I never heard anyone say "leng," and if it's a North Korean pronunciation/dialect, it would make sense that it's closer to the Chinese.
The menu we saw last night was different from the one Joe MacBu put up. The cover above was definitely different -- it says "sootbul galbi" (charcoal grilled short ribs) and Pyongyang naengmyun (a specific style of Korean cold noodles).
I had those buns a couple weeks ago, indeed amazing. and, to add to all the chatter, the place is one of the better korean-chinese joints in the area too which is amazing, in that unassuming place. dirt-cheap prices too. will def. take notes from this thread when we go eat there; funny that they offer both chinese AND korean JJM.
Bigjeff, dirt-cheap is all I can afford these days, but still, today I had some help, and so ordered their LA 排骨（LA Galbi) for $10. I'm beginning to think that indeed there is a slight difference in taste between the straight Korean places and Korean/Chinese places. The LA galbi is the right cut and thickness that i'm used to, but is less sweet, but I'm fin and ding suites my Chinese taste buds just fine. Same goes for their Kimchi, less sweet/sour, more salty and seems like the napa cabbage is a little drier and thinner. I like that I can taste the cabbage.
The woman there told me that if you go before 2:00 PM, the soon dubu is $4.99 instead of $8.99. Same pricing goes for this Ginger/cabbage soup ( I think that's what she's saying, but maybe the Korean speakers can tell me what that might be) or maybe she meant the Kimchi soondubu...anyhow, it's on the board but I can't read Korean. Sounds like an ideal breakfast place if ever one craves soondubu and big steam buns and fried twisted doughnuts....
I wonder, Bigjeff, if you have compared the place 2 doors to the left from Ming Chang Dong, that also have steamed buns in the windows, except that they are already saran-wrapped, and also have a cleaner, newer looking soondubu picture on the outside, sparkling clean windows and newer, cuter-looking place, but somehow, to my peasant taste, less inviting? Maybe they're lacking the steamed up window look, I don't know.
Hling, sad to say, the place i was talking about IS the pre-saran-wrappled place; the interior is very white with lots of mirrors and paneled screens, and the buns are pre-wrapped and/or sitting in those steaming machines. we got a combo pack of 6 buns i think, 2 of each and all of them were delicious. i do remember walking down the block and seeing another couple places of interest and maybe this one you posted about is one of those. there is a place that is 2-3 steps down; there is also a place with mostly blacked out windows but with some writing on the front.
you know what this requires? another visit to clarify. i mentioned this place a couple months ago: [ http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6480... ] also, any restaurants on union st, on the other side of northern boulevard? any good eats on that opposite side? all i remember ever doing was going to mammoth billiards but never did see anything to eat.
btw, was going down there to see the japanese restaurant that replaced dosanko; i do miss that place!
Bigjeff, funny I had a feeling you might have tried the other place because that place is much more visible. The place I went to, Ming Chan Dong, is not a step-down entrance. Instead the window is taller, and also have a old picture of the soondubu on top left, but you still could see the buns (not wrapped) on the right side through the window (even saw some 花卷 today, the steamed bread that's curled up in strands). The entrance is to the right of the big window. On the right side of this restaurant is a non-food place that had set out in front some fresh concord grapes for sale, though it's gone from a huge pile on Friday to only 2 boxes left today.
I know there's another korean place on that block, but I don't think they had the buns in the windows...so, yes, another visit..or two...
I've never been to Dosanko. Sounds like I missed something good?
dosanko was this japanese chain in the late 80s, early 90s; had a location at the corner of northern and union, and also locations in midtown; not sure if it was nationwide but one of my memories (and probably many people's introductions) to japanese food like yakisoba, ramen, kara-age, etc. was not high cuisine by any measure but catch-all casual japanese; kinda like . . . a Dallas BBQ but from japan.
Bigjeff, I'm assuming you're referring to the Udon house on the corner of Northern and Union being the replacement for Dosanko then?
Also, you asked about places to eat on Union on the otherside of Northern, I had posted a request for Korean speakers to maybe check out this one Korean noodle place on the 2nd floor on the block just across from Northern, but I have not tried myself.
Perhaps this next question is for the Chow site gurus: I'm puzzled as to why in this thread that I started on the restaurant Ming Chan Dong there is only another restaurant's name and location in the upper right corner, the "places mentioned" ..mapped out with address and location? Did I neglect to do something? This seems misleading, as I'm talking about a different restaurant than the one being shown.
after eating at MCD tonight, now I can't remember exactly which place I bought steamed buns from; at the time (October 2009) it seemed like a different place but when we ate tonight; it really did seem like I had got stuff from here before; because of all the mirrors and screens; after our meal we walked up and down the block a bit and by now, I think MCD is the only place on the block selling these since there is now a Yogo Town or something that might have taken over a spot or two. Too much turnover here and now I can't remember! Ah well.
Loved the jumbo kimchi buns at MCD. First time encounter - really tasty and fun. Kind of like a Korean-Chinese kimchi burger. (Ok well, perhaps a distant relation. Similar in size, shape and weight and when you hold it up to take a bite it was somehow reminiscent.) At their suggestion ordered the soon dubu chigae (soft beancurd stew in spicy broth) and it was standard but very good. Tried the kamja jun (potato pancake) too. Not wild about the dduk-like texture - a bit chewy and greasy for my taste. Also a dish of sauteed eggplant cubes that they recommended - a Chinese-type preparation in a vinegar based sauce. It was..ok. Very nice people - ethnic Koreans from China. We'll be back.
Does anybody know what happened o this place? I went over there today and it was closed up. Looked in the window and tables, chairs etc. are still in place but was rather dead looking inside like its has been closed for a while. :(
Just wondering if anyone knows if it has been closed or moved?
I really wanted to try the Ma Hua that HLing mentioned as I have only had the store bought version of Ma Hua. It must be awesome when its fresly made.
If anyone knows another place in Flushing that makes Ma Hua, please share the spot.
I was at Ming Chan Dong on Friday the 13th this month, and it was business as usual.
The Kimchi bun was not as well-oiled as i remembered, and the red bean buns didn't have as much red beans as the first couple of times...I hope it isn't changing.
I hope you get to try the ma hua there. I've not had others like theirs. Although, the store bought versions are usually the hard and crisp kind, aren't they? The crisp ones tend to be smaller and thinner. It's kind of like soft pretzels vs hard pretzels.
Just went to Ming Chan Dong (pronounced in Korean as "Myung Chan Dong") this past weekend and I have a couple of questions I'm hoping one of you can answer. So I was dying to try the Korean and Chinese versions of jjajiangmyeon/zha jian mian. The "Korean" version I got was nothing like what's served at Korean-Chinese restaurants--no pork, no onions--with a lot less sauce. The "Chinese" version, which I asked for in Korean, turned out to be this noodle soup with pork and greens! (See attached photos.) My Korean isn't perfect, so it may have been a mistake in communication. My friends who were there who prefer the Chinese version said they're used to something dry with meat and a bit of sauce. (Both versions had so-so noodles, FYI.) Any thoughts?
Regardless, the rest of our meal was fantastic. We got pork in a black bean sauce, to be wrapped in paper-thin slices of warm tofu, which judging by what the waitress told us and Lau's translation, I think is jing jiang rou shi. We also got the eggplant in garlic, which turns out is coated in egg and fried so the outside is crispy, the inside creamy, and the whole thing absolutely wonderful. We got both on recommendation by the waitress, and when we told her we liked them both so much, she said there are yummier dishes but she thought we should start there because they're cheap, but that the lamb is the bomb! We almost ordered the lamb right then and there but we had to move on to Golden Mall.
Anyway, it turns out the waitress is ethnically Chinese and speaks Korean because it was taught in school. Everyone else eating at the restaurant was Korean, and the menu on the wall only had Korean on it, advertising things like Korean blood sausage and spicy soft tofu stew. I distinctly heard someone ordering cheongukjang stew, which is made from a particularly smelly, natto-like doenjang or soybean paste. The "Korean-Chinese" food on the menu is not the obvious kind, like you find at Chinese House. Totally intrigued. Must go back.
Ming Chan Dong
36-24 Union St, Queens, NY 11354
interesting, never really seen those dishes, the menu is very different, i don't know what most of the stuff is on it
if you want to chinese version, go to the golden mall and go to the lanzhou hand pulled noodle place across the way from the xi'an place...they make a decent version
AppleSister, Thanks for the review! That tofu skin wrapping sounds delicious, as does the eggplants.
I'm wondering if they got you the Chinese version of Zha Jian Mian..if it didn't have any pork.
I dug up a picture i had from last time, but it's hard to tell that there actually were pieces of onions dark beyond recognition, and of pork so fried that it crumbled like pieces of deep fried mantou.
*edit: and I think it came with all the sauce covering the noodles instead of what your first picture look like.
HLing, I do think there was a mistake somewhere in translation. Definitely there was no 짜짱면 written on the menu. Just found out from a friend who works in a lab with people from Hunan, Dongbei, and Huangzhou, and she says the jing jiang rou shi and the yu hsiang dish are both Sichuan. And voila! jing jiang rou shi and "yu hsiang" which means "fish-flavored" despite the lack of fish, are both in my copy of Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty.
OMG this place looks redonk...i love restaurants that blur the line between Korean and Chinese like this...
The buns are big. They're enormous. The serated kimchi version reminds me of a Klingon's forehead. If I lived in a bad neighborhood, I'd want it to walk me home at night.
I was finally able to hit this place today. Luckily, I had my Korean-speaking wife along, or I'd never have found it. Naturally, she was also helpful in translating the menu. Naturally, we ordered a few buns, the kimchi and the red bean. The former had an excellent filling, but we agreed that the bun was not quite soft enough. The red bean version hit on all cylinders, though, and was a nice surprise. The filling is not overly sweet, and went very well with the bun itself. We took six to go - we're steaming some, including the beef version, for dinner as I write this.
The other stuff we ordered was okay, pretty much average. The Zha Jian Mian, my wife noted, was more Chinese-leaning than other versions we've had, with ground pork and julienned cucumbers. It was on the sweet side as well. The wife didn't like it that much. I thought it was okay, but not on par with Hyo Dong Gak's version, which is my current favorite. I had a spicy lamb soup which had a nice broth but was nothing all that special. If/when I return, I'll have the translated menu above handy - would like to get a go at that "garlic lamb" if they still have it. We also shared a pretty good order of boiled pork and chive mandoo, with nicely seasoned filling and firm skins.
Overall, so far, based on a virgin visit, I'd go back for the buns, but would be open to trying other stuff on the menu as well.
Polecat, that's hilarious and so right on the point, the "Klingon's forehead"!
The sad part is that I haven't had the kimchee bun as tasty as the first time I had it there. The filling was never the same perfect balance of tartness and just enough oil to taste smooth again. (so it's good that you had good filling this time...gives me hope) I've had somewhat better luck with the red bean bun. Maybe we just need insider information on when the fresh batch gets made....
I'm not sure what's up with the Zha Jian Mian. There should be a Chinese version and a Korean version. I know the one I had was definitely the Korean version though. Maybe that, too has been changed since. I'll make a note of Hyo Dong Gak, for when i get to eat out again in the future. Thanks!
Have you tried re-steaming them at home? We just shared three buns for dinner - the kimchi, the beef w/ vegetable and the red bean - all very good. Significantly better than at the restaurant. The bun gets that much softer and more springy. The kimchi filling was excellent, but we still favor the red bean. It reminded us of these gigantic buns we've gotten in Yokohama's Chinatown, called "nikkumon."
good report...im very curious about this place. A few months ago when I was at home in CA, I found a wang mandoo place that sounds like it has similar type of buns that this place serves. Extremely high quality and we ended up going there like 3-4 times and I'm wondering if this place is similar
yes I have re-steamed it once, when i didn't eat it on my way home. It looks even bigger at home.
As for Yokohama's Chinatown, though I've never been, the minute you mentioned it my mind replays the funny scene from the first episode of Kuitan (the detective who could not pass up any food) where he had been savoring just such a steamed buns when he had to rescue someone, and his look of loss when the bun rolled out of his mouth and his hands were gripping the falling man ...
alright! just got back from a meal for 4 and, while I'm feeling lazy like I should write this tomorrow, I'll just do it now while it's fresh. Tasty, homestyle, humble, interesting, delicious, energetic and fun; all those words describe this meal. Thanks Lau for the translated menu; we relied on that as well as our bilingual but ethnically Chinese waitress for recommendations to come up with a hodgepodge:
+ panchan for the table (peanuts and anchovies, bok choy and cucumber kimchi, napa cabbage kimchi, shredded radish kimchi possibly)
+ Di San Xian (eggplant cooked with potato and hot peppers)
+ Zi Ran Yang Rou (cumin lamb, a rec from our waitress when we asked for their best lamb dish)
+ Offfal Three Ways (stir-fried stomach/tripe, large intestine and liver) which is either Liu San Yang or Chao San Zhen on the menu
+ Hai Tu (baby squid sauteed with vegetable, although I couldn't find this on the menu; another waitress rec)
+ Liang Ban Tu Dou Si (cold shredded potato salad was gratis, and really really good)
+ Chik Naeng Myun or Leng Mian on the menu (arrowroot naeng myun, in soup)
+ Yu Mi Leng Mian (naeng myun but made of corn-based noodle, in soup)
+ Fried braided dough thing, similar to Ma Hwa, also gratis
+ Huan Juen or "Flower" Roll, a steamed bun usually with scallions; these didn't have any
+ Ba Si Ji Dan (off the menu dessert, more later)
so this was the place I had got the kimchi buns from before but they did some redecorating so I almost didn't recognize the now gaudier front window but the shoji screens were familiar. the dining room was empty at 7:15 but by the time we left, it was semi-jumping; groups of either chinese folks, or korean folks, pitchers of beer on the table. in our case, we were a mix of the two so that made ordering interesting as our waitress was able to accommodate, seamlessly, two languages spoken to her at once. we went mostly with her recs, but also ordered based on past experience, as well as on this menu. Overall, the food was really good; interesting flavors, definitely an interesting mix of Chinese food, Korean food, and not much in between. We ordered the two different naeng myuns to try something different and they were enormous bowls; pretty good, maybe not the best, but quite good. The noodles were tasty at least; the corn ones were interesting and matched the weak corn "tea" that we were served instead of water. The Ma Hwa was crazy greasy! but good; she plopped one down for us after getting us the panchan; all of the kimchi was really good, in particular the bok choy one just because it tasted barely blanched before being pickled; a nice sharpness almost like mustard greens but to highlight the melange of cuisines, the peanuts and anchovies were good too! but not something I've ever seen next to plates of kimchi; the northeast influence is there for sure.
The lamb was a crazy dish; basically, all lamb; not even fried hard but more like stir-fried hard with cumin and red chilis (the chilis were not that hot) but . . . . tasty. definitely not like most cumin lamb you would find in a sichuan place or even shandong/dongbei/qingdao place; it was wetter and not as fried/crispy but still very good and there was so much of it! we made sandwiches out of it with the "Hua Juen" which I highly recommend to go with this food; really really huge rolled steamed breads, same as mantou with an excellent springy, flavor-shopping texture. The "Di San Xian" was the classic dish I've had at Fu Run and other places but . . . . somewhat bland, which is disappointing. But it was still tasty; the table-side salt (deliciously flaky) helped that one along; we could have also gotten the Yu-Xiang Chie-Zhi which is discussed in this thread; half our party had actually eaten here before so I figured maybe we try something different but actually, that dish is probably better; yes, it has the "yu-xiang" flavors of ginger, scallion and garlic (think garlic sauce for chinese takeout) but instead of stir-fried eggplant pieces like its normally made with, it is stir-fried pieces of deep-fried eggplant instead; damn! we should have gotten that one instead. Next time!
Our server also gave us the shredded potato salad which was very very good; strands of raw potato topped with onion, scallion, vinegar and plenty of seasoning made for a cool, palate-cleansing and refreshing bite between the heavier dishes; really one of the best dishes we had (aside from the lamb).
The offal dish was really good and as simple as it sounds; stir-fried slices of stomach and large intestine (although I think I liked the large intestine and pickled vegetable dish at A-Wah in Chinatown much better) along with tender/chewy thin slices of liver cooked perfectly; all in a thicker corn-starchy typical sauce along with onions and carrots; this was extremely homestyle and our waitress said all the chinese people come in to order this one; they had some other offal-based dishes and when I asked for the best, she just said to get this combo one. Honestly it was kinda bland but again, the salt came to the rescue. Mix of textures and flavors were great though, very very good.
The last main dish was "Hai Tu" which sounds to me like "Sea Rabbit" and so, we got it, since our waitress recommended it. When it came to the table, it looked so much like M&T's "Sea Worms" or "Hai Chang" and I got so excited but then, it was just baby baby squid and . . . it was pretty good but pretty boring; typical squid stirfry with celery, onions, maybe some other vegetables; not the most exciting dish but it would have been amazing if it was sea worms and not just baby squid.
For dessert, I wanted the deep fried taro or deep fried sweet potato (the honey one that you swirl in ice water to crystalize and crunch into) but unfortunately, they didn't have taro or sweet potato! I must have looked really sad because our waitress said they ran out but said if they were less busy, she would have gone out to buy a taro to fry up! No need for that however and we were gonna make plans to get our check and then walk to Fu Run just to order that for dessert but then, she came back and said she was gonna do a different one, with eggs. Huh? Would it still be sweet, I asked? Yes! And so we waited. And then, out came a crazy dessert! I think it was literally an egg crepe, slightly sweet but basically, thin sheets of egg flavored like tomago, but then folded over, bonded together somehow but then, coated and fried again, and then in the honey glaze! I know I'm not describing it well but trust me, it was crazy good! So you still got to pick these sticky pieces of egg coated in honey/caramel, swizzle it in cold water to allow the caramel to harden and crisp up, and then you ate the thing and it was eggy, slightly sweet, with some thick parts tasting like egg custard tart. I couldn't tell if it was purely egg, or maybe egg mixed with just a little bit of flour and water to make a pancake but ya, it was crazy. It's not on the menu but if you ask for "Ba Si Ji Dan" they might make it; the "ba" refers to pulling, the "si" refers to threads", the "ji dan" means chicken egg. Good stuff!
Overall, the place serves an interesting mix of food; not quite fusion but more like parallel cuisines; the difference with this place is that both cuisines are very well-represented! Our waitress was awesome and we had a lot of fun with her; the meal too was amazing and, a steal at $21pp total (with plenty of leftovers). Highly recommend either being able to speak Chinese, or speak Korean, or make sure someone from your party does; didn't see a lick of english (or hear a lick of english) being spoken the entire time, except by our table. If I manage to get some pictures from our meal, I'll be sure to post them here. The food definitely seems underseasoned and thankfully, there are plenty of table condiments and not to say that everything has to be fiery/salty and all that, that's just how I like my food. Next time I go, I want to try more of the korean selections (soondubu, soondae, their rendition of JJM or maybe their jam-pong, probably some of the hotpot dishes.) A Korean friend of mine told me this place is good for that fusion-y stuff but I guess this time, went mostly with the NE Chinese stuff. Regardless, check this place out!
Additional note; at 37-14 Main Street, there is a new mini food court built; the main place already open is a new bubble tea with lines out the door, huh? Called Kung Fu Tea. But towards the back, it looks like a Korean restaurant will be opening very soon, with the name Korean Delicacies for Your Delight, or something like that; the funny thing is, all in chinese characters (with some tiny korean characters below) and looking very chinese-y. There looks to be also 4 or 5 other smaller stalls, including one which looks like a japanese bar. The front of the building has a plaque that says Korean Commerce Association of New York or something so . . . . . I think another hybrid place will be opening up soon! And this would be the first Korean restaurant to ever hit Main Street (unless you count Ah-Rhee-Soo in Queens Crossing); right in the heart of a very Chinese area of Flushing. Perhaps another Chinese-Korean/Korean-Chinese joint? Interesting.
Wow, this place is excellent! A few things may have changed a bit since this thread started in 2009, but it's delightful.
Unfortunately, yes, a Mandarin or Korean speaker is required. AND, our Mandarin speaker had to convince the staff to let us non-Asians in! They didn't want to serve us because they thought we'd hate the food! Wow. And the food (at least what WE ate) turned out to be much more accessible than a lot of other things I've eaten. We're not talking sea cucumbers or stinky tofu here.
I LOVED the kimchi buns (not as big as your head though -- if they were in 2009, they're not anymore -- they're probably not even as big as a newborn baby's head). At $1, they're a steal. And the pork in black bean sauce, served with tofu skins to wrap it in, was also outstanding. Some of the others (El Jefe, I think?) in the group didn't like the heavy thickness of the tofu skins though. Our Mandarin speaker asked the staff for recommendations and they said the baby squid was good. And it was. It was outstanding, actually. They also recommended a cucumber dish with clear noodles which was excellent. These two dishes reminded me a bit of things we ate at Northern Dumpling House, just up Northern Blvd.
lso we got eggplant with garlic, which was burning hot, temperature-wise. Like molten-lava hot. Once it finally cooled down, seemingly like 15 minutes later, it was very good. The consistency became better and different when it cooled down, I think. Not only was it a bit painful before it completely cooled down (even though I waited maybe 3-5 minutes before trying it), but I didn't like the consistency at first, either.
They also brought us a lamb dish. I'm pretty sure this was their version of lamb with cumin. I tasted some cumin in there. It was excellent and complex and spicy. I liked it better than Northern Dumpling House's version.
There was one other dish which was noodle-y and had chicken and was hard to describe but I liked it a lot. It's on the lower-left side of the first photo. Hmm, I think that's everything.
We almost licked our plates clean.
We were hoping for deep fried taro or sweet potato but they claimed not to have any dessert available.
I got a sweet bean bun and a kimchi bun to go. $2 for those two! What a deal. I'm about to eat them.
So far, I liked this place a LOT more than Golden Palace or M&T. (But I may not have gotten the right things at M&T -- I've only been once.)
Thanks to my friend Joy for translating, for convincing them to serve us, and for taking the photos!
Ming Chan Dong
36-24 Union St, Queens, NY 11354
I don't know about this red bean bun. It's very very beany! And not really sweet at all. I guess I prefer a more dessert-like red bean bun. This seems to be the only thing I didn't like from Ming Chan Dong. The red bean buns at Sun Say Kai probably have three times as much sugar, and I don't think *those* are especially sweet. Maybe by Chinese standards, they are.
Uh oh, now I really want one from Sun Say Kai.
Oh and I forgot to mention the refreshing pitcher of iced barley tea at Ming Chan Dong! I've never had that before. I can't stand hot barley tea, but I was surprised to find that I like it iced! Mmmm!
Ming Chan Dong
36-24 Union St, Queens, NY 11354
Resurrecting an older thread to update. Heading to class from home after tending to my sick daughter, I passed through flushing and wanted to finally try one of these kimchi buns. I had to double back on the block a couple of times because I just could not find it. Finally I saw that while the "oriental glamor" name was still there, the awning is completely different than the pictures I've seen, and the Korean lettering is no longer on it. Now there are Chinese characters on the awning. I went in anyway and the waitress who greeted me did speak Korean. However, when I asked for two kimchi buns to go, she told me they don't sell buns and promptly turned away from me. I left sad, hungry, and running late for class. I didn't have time to linger and check out the menu, but I assume this is one of those 'change in management' deals. Anyone have any pointers of where to go in flushing for great kimchi buns? Now I'm on a mission to have one.