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Jul 23, 2012 03:54 PM

JFK Layover - great food near the airtrain?

I've got a 6-hour layover. Arriving JFK 1:15PM on Wednesday, flying back out 7:50PM. I could take the airtrain to the LIRR and be at Penn Station in 45 minutes. From there I know what to do - probably Xi'an Famous Foods, or maybe some xiaolongbao, or Ippudo, or any number of options. I know what I would eat in Manhattan, but I don't know my way around any other borough at all. And I'm thinking, I'll bet there's some great food closer to the airport. The AirTrain stops at Sutphin Blvd Station. Anything right near there? Or just a stop or two away on the E, J, or Z?

I'm willing to spend some money for something awesome, but I imagine I'll end up at a cheaper place because (a) I prefer cheap authentic ethnic in general (though, like I said, if it's awesome I'll spend the money) (b) I'm looking for food I can't get in Portland, OR, and most importantly (c) I'm going to be there between lunch and dinner times, so I'll need someplace that'll serve me at 3:00 or 4:00 (so that eliminates Per Se right there).

All ideas welcome. And thank you from your Portland Chowhound.

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  1. Queens has a lot of good ethnic food. My initial thought was to recommend taking the LIRR to Woodside and eat at Sripraphai (great Thai food) but it's closed on Wednesdays.

    Instead I suggest searching the board for good spots in Jackson Heights (a few stops away on the E train) and Elmhurst (transfer to the R train whch is local train that runs on same line). I'm not very up-to-date with specific places myself but many Latin and Asian foods in those areas.

    1. Just ate at Zabb Elee Queens on Saturday night and it was fantastic. Very close to Sripraphai/E train to 74th street/LIRR to Woodside. It will be open too.

      Xian famous foods is great, as is Ippudo, but Ippudo has lines every day, all day, it seems.

      1. One thing you can't get in Portland is good deli. (You can certainly get great Thai food.).
        One thought that comes to mind is to take the A train directly from JFK to downtown Brooklyn and go to Mile End.

        Another thought is to take the Airtrain -> E -> R to Elmhurst, and try Taste Good Malaysian, or research what else in that area might appeal. Interesting Chinese places include Lao Bei Fang Dumpling house and Uncle Zhaou restaurant.

        Another thought is to take the A to the L and explore Williamsburg.

        If you arrive late, these suggestions might prove too ambitious for your window of time! You might find it more realistic to stick to Jamaica and try Maima's (Liberian food). I've never been, so can't personally endorse it, but it's mentioned in other threads on this topic.

        1. Jamaica Queens is a horrible ghetto, best to take a bus or subway elswhere. I live in Queens and if I were you I'd hop a bus to 74th street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights. There you could go for Tibetan at Phayul. Or the real deal Gujarati specialties at Rajbhog Sweets.

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