Sunday: both the Indonesian and the Burmese food bazaars in Astoria & Woodside?
I can't find corroboration of this anywhere, and news of either of these would be exciting to me. Is it true that these are both happening at the same time on this Sunday?
Here's what I got from Eating in Translation:
Indonesian food bazaar
Sunday, May, 10:00-5:00
Outside the Al-Hikmah Mosque, 48-01 31st Ave. (at 48th St.), Astoria, Queens
Home cooked Burmese food bazaar
Sunday, May 1, 10:00-5:00
P.S. 12 (The James B. Colgate School), 42-00 72nd St., Woodside, Queens
Via the grapevine, I heard of entertainment beginning at 1:00, and, at some point, nominations or elections for the Citizen of Burma award. Also something about butter rice with curry chicken.
Hey, round 2, I don't know that any Chowhounds will be able to corroborate those listings for you. Although many of the listings in my weekly roundup of food-friendly events are culled from online sources, news of these two events came from personal contacts. It's a pity that the Indonesian and Burmese bazaars, as well as the Mexican, Romanian, and "Floralia" events, all are taking place on Sunday, and that today, Saturday, is relatively quiet. If we have to pick and choose, however, I think the two of us are of one mind: Indonesian and Burmese.
Both events are scheduled to kick off at 10:00. I plan to visit the Burmese first; though I'm unfamiliar with the group that's running it, my experience with other such events at this location is that they're up and running very early. The Indonesian, a recurring event that I've attended many times in the past several years, gears up a little later. If this were a midsummer bazaar at the Al-Hikmah Mosque, I'd be determined to arrive no later than noon, but the first bazaar of the season usually is less crowded, and I won't sweat it.
Do note: The R train, which stops at 46th street a few blocks from the mosque and is the easiest transportation between the two events, has a service change this weekend. Bay Ridge-bound trains will run express from Roosevelt Ave., the station nearest the Burmese bazaar, to Queens Plaza. Chowhounds who plan to take the subway to the Burmese and Indonesian events, in that order, will need to transfer at Queens Plaza for a Forest Hills-bound R train, entailing an extra 15 or 20 minutes of travel time. I plan to bring a good book.
I got there about 2:15 after a 95 mile bike ride and was starved. This usually clouds my judgment and I think things are better than they really are.
The Gado Gado from the vendor in the back was outstanding -- individual servings freshly made to order, allowing her to adjust any spicing or ingredient to taste. I'm glad I tried this last when i could better judge the quality. I was already stuffed and brought most of it home and finished it this morning. I was equally happy today.
The Opor Ayam was pretty good.
Fried food - Most of it had been sitting around much too long. Just about anything fried is great when it's hot, but even a great dish is pretty bad when cold.
The last 4 were all from the 2 vendors doing "rice plates" with up to 3 different dishes. I tried these first while I was starved. The Beef Rendang was particularly disappointing. The least flavorful version I've ever tried. Every Indonesian restaurant in Queens and most of the Malaysian ones do a much better version. If I had eaten any of these dishes at a "real" restaurant, I doubt I would give them a second chance.
And none of the dishes from the first vendor on the left as you enter were hot. Having pre-cooked food sitting for hours at room temperature is just asking for trouble.
This wasn't the first time I've been there and it won't be the last. It's fun and a great neighborhood event. Just don't go with high expectations.
re: el jefe
el jefe, any idea who the vendor with the awesome gado gado was? (perhaps associated with a restaurant?)
i'm totally intrigued, as the Upi Jaya veggie gado gado we tried last week was great at first, but then was overpowered by a distinct aftertaste of lemon that was reminiscent of household cleaners! i'd love to try (or learn how to make) a truly good version of the dish.
76-04 Woodside Ave, Queens, NY 11373
Sorry, CS. I didn't realize how good the gado-gado was til I got it home.
It was made by the group of 3 women in the back and they didn't appear to be associated with any of the queens Indonesian restaurants. afaik, all the local restaurants use a pre-made sauce for the gado-gado. I was pretty surprised that she was making the sauce for each plate as you ordered it. Even in Indonesia, I've usually been served a pre-made sauce. Only in truly out-of-the-way places has it been made while I waited.
It looked pretty simple. She used something similar to a mortar and pestle and mashed one clove of garlic with about a teaspoon of salt and hot chilis to taste (I asked for spicy and she used 4; that was probably one too many). Then she added some palm sugar, maybe a tablespoonful. Then she added the peanut butter (although it might have already had some other ingredients mixed in) and diluted it all with a little water to thin it to the appropriate consistency.
Show up next month. they'll probably be there again.
The food bazaar behind Masjid Al-Hikmah is held about once a month in warmer weather, except during Ramadan. The member of the congregation who first tipped me to this event has stressed that it's best to arrive between 11:00 and noon.
Early on she also noted that "the vendors mostly sell the food at their home or special order only." To my knowledge the only stall associated with a restaurant is the first on the left. The restaurant, however, is in Philly; the vendors used to live in Queens and return for these bazaars.
48-01 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11103
I was able to get to both of them too, and thoroughly enjoyed them. First we went to the Burmese food bazaar, which took over a public school building, with a large room (the cafeteria?) ringed by tables with a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar offerings. A few tables were already depleted when we arrived at about 1pm. Love a noodle dish, and a coconut pudding/mash type dessert. A box of pickled vegetables was a very new taste to me, and a big hit in our house all week, getting happily added to enhance a variety of different dishes. Possibly less available than at the Moegyo event last year, but fun and much that was delicious. There was a large crowd filling the auditorium next door watching (or socializing during) a series of traditional dance and singing performances.
We zoomed over to the Al-Hikmah Mosque where I too was knocked out by the delicous individually prepared gado-gado. The woman asked me how many chilis to throw in and I only said two, which still added a decent kick. The leftovers were still delicious the next day. I had a fried tofu stuffed with vegetables that I ended up refigerating and microwaving the next day. This of course lost much of what pleasure freshly fried food offers, but the kick-ass spicy peanut sauce (very different from the gado-gado) was addictive. I took home a couple of bags of spicy yucca chips which were fun to have in the house for the few days they lasted. We got to the Indonesian mosque around 2:30, and many things were gone, especially the tempeh dishes I was hoping to find. Very busy, and festive, and I will definitely show up if I can when it returns (hopefully) next month. Arriving early is definitely a good tip.