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Feb 10, 2013 06:22 PM

First visit to Flushing

My husband and I spent a couple of hours in Flushing recently during a short visit to NYC. Having heard that Flushing was the place to get Taiwanese food, we decided to try King 5 Noodle House for breakfast. We shared a salty rice roll (飯糰) and sesame cake with beef (牛肉夾餅). They were both decent, but not nearly as good as what I've had in Taipei. We'll definitely want to try other places for Taiwanese breakfast the next time we're in Flushing.

Based on reviews on this board, we also stopped by Nan Xiang Dumpling House to sample some dumplings. We tried the crab and pork soup dumplings and pork sheng jian bao (生煎包). The soup dumplings were quite good and the soup was flavorful, although neither of us could taste the crab meat and the skin was just a bit gummy at the top. We both agreed the sheng jian bao were delicious and actually enjoyed those even more than the soup dumplings. We will definitely return to have those again, and to try some of their other menu items.

After eating, we took a quick stroll around the area and found a Taiwanese bakery called Yi Mei Fang (一美芳). I was so excited to see they had sun cakes (太陽餅) and bought some to take home, along with a couple of mini moon cakes (one lotus seed and one red bean). This was a mistake. The sun cakes bore no resemblance in taste to the ones I'd had before and the moon cakes were mediocre at best, with the red bean paste tasting strangely of dates. That will teach me to buy from a random bakery without doing my research here first!

Overall, though, it was a successful first trip to Flushing food-wise and we can't wait to go back and try other places.

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  1. Check out Golden Mall next time

    20 Replies
    1. re: AubWah

      To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single Taiwanese food stall in the Golden Mall

      1. re: diprey11

        I was just suggesting it to someone who's n ever been there. Everyone who has the chance should see it once.

        1. re: diprey11

          If they really want the real deal Taiwan flavor they must trek to Main Street Imperial Corp.

          1. re: AubWah

            Thanks for the suggestion. We'll check out both Golden Mall and Main Steet Imperial the next time we're in Flushing.

            1. re: AubWah

              Yes, The Main St Imperial (aka, 北港) is the real deal. It is probably the best-known TW family-style restaurant in NY. I know expats who have been regular patrons for nearly 10 years.

              That being said, I am not aware of any good (better than King 5) place that offers TW breakfast items or street fare. I would love to be proven wrong though.

              1. re: diprey11

                Right near Main St Imperial, the newish Kung Fu Xiaolongbao, which appears to be a Shanghai restaurant, and a pretty good one at that, not only has real good XLB but a full slate of what appear to be Taiwanese breakfast items - the turnip puffs were good. Are these in fact just common Chinese breakfast items? I'm confused about that.

                In addition to this menu, which I've scanned a piece of in to show the breakfast items, there's another in-house laminated menu containing more entrees such as Lion's Head Casserole and Dong Po Pork (which I tried and thought was one of the best versions I've had in NYC).

                1. re: Peter Cuce

                  Thank you Peter!

                  I actually find XLB at Kung Fu better, or at least as good as at 南香, a common darling. That whole area is expanding pretty fast. There is another decent (and new) XLB place across the street, a block or two up.

                  Just as a note to those new to that area, it's a 3-4 block long strip of Main St south of Flushing, and although there is no subway service to that area, it's reachable by bus Q44 or Q20A or B. The Chinese shuttle bus also stops there (on request).

                  1. re: diprey11

                    Thanks for the info on how to get to the area where Main St. Imperial and Kung Fu are located. I checked out Main St. Imperial's menu and it looks very promising!

                    1. re: msiangal

                      Msiangal, it's also very walkable from downtown Flushing to Main Street Imperial - 20 minutes at most if you like.

                        1. re: msiangal

                          btw, if you happen to be walking toward Queensboro Hill (the neighborhood in question), there's a new Sichuan restaurant on the way from Flushing proper called Hly (三人百姓), and they have a great looking mantou that's served for breakfast along with some savory dishes. When I went to Hly for lunch one day, the table across from ours had the mantou, but the waiter said it was all done by the time we arrived.

                          You could stop at Hly to fortify yourselves for the three block stretch of Main St with no shops :)

                          1. re: Peter Cuce

                            Good idea! Or we could actually use the walk to preemptively work off everything we're going to eat once we get there. :-)

                  2. re: Peter Cuce

                    As far as I know, items like sticky rice roll are specifically Taiwanese breakfast items. Some of the other items, like the crispy fried dough, are not specifically Taiwanese but having it for breakfast, especially with shao bing, appears to be a Taiwanese thing.

                    1. re: msiangal

                      There is a lot of variety in breakfast in Taipei, that's for sure. All sorts of ma-pa, breakfast-only shops open up from 6 to 9.

                      1. re: scoopG

                        For breakfast in Flushing I get dim sum at Diverse Dim Sum and congee at Sifu Chio

              2. re: diprey11

                King 5 Taiwanese breakfast is maddeningly pedestrian

                1. re: AubWah

                  Ok, I'll bite: what does "maddeningly pedestrian" mean?

                2. re: diprey11

                  There are at least two, right next to each other. King 5 Noodle has some solid breakfast stuff.

                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                    Diverse. Dim sum is my home base.

                    1. re: AubWah

                      Yes, Diverse Dim Sum (aka 不樣點心) in the semi-deserted Flushing Mall has a few good breakfast items, although none of them are distinctly Taiwanese. Their crab&pork XLB are definitely superior to 南香 (which are just meh...) but the overall food quality can be frustratingly uneven. IMHO, 南香 still runs supreme for pork-only XLB. But *do* try Kung Fu.

              3. so for taiwanese:
                - main street imperial: i'm about to write on this place very soon as i just ate here several times in the last few weeks, but in general it is probably the best taiwanese although you have to know what to order as not everything is good and it's not very english friendly as half the menu isn't translated and alot of famous street food dishes aren't very good there

                - gu xiang: gu xiang does the best san bei ji (three cup chicken) by a long shot and they do some good simple home style stir fries...better than main street imperial for those specific dishes

                - liang's kitchen: this place is from LA and has some pretty decent dishes

                - red chopstick's: their chicken roll (ji juan) is worth trying, they make it very well

                - taiwanese breakfast: others are correct that no one really makes an awesome one. I think the it's alright at nan xiang (where you got soup dumplings) and also at ren ren (no 1 east


                - yeh's bakery: this is my favorite taiwanese bakery so far and does the only decent tai yang bing (sun cake) in flushing that i've tried. I'm also in process of writing this up.

                Also, are you sure you got tai yang bing? that sounds alot more like a lao po bing? the original tai yang bing usually has this malted sugar stuff in the middle not red bean or lotus paste.

                just an fyi on tai yang bing, they aren't even that easy to find in taipei anymore. Last time i was in taipei i went to several bakeries trying to find them and was told jokingly several times i need to go to tai zhong (where they are from) and that young people don't eat them anymore haha. we had to ask my friends aunt where to get them and she finally pointed us to some branch of a famous tai zhong bakery (they were really good though when we found them)

                6 Replies
                  1. re: Lau

                    Thanks for the links, Lau and scoopG. Definitely planning on trying Main Street Imperial the next time I'm in NY. Lau, looking forward to your write-up.

                    Too bad, though, that it doesn't sound like there's a really good place for Taiwanese breakfast and street food. I can make lu rou fan, san bei ji, etc., but the breakfast and street foods are the stuff I don't know how to make!!

                    Will keep Yeh's bakery in mind too. Re: the tai yang bing, yeah, I'm sure that's what I got. The filling actually looked like the filling for tai yang bing, but just had a weird taste.

                    Totally agree they're getting harder to find, even in Taipei. IIRC, the last time I was there (about 3 years ago), I found some at the airport. Brought home a couple of boxes, but they didn't last long! :-)

                    1. re: msiangal

                      well a lao po bing looks very similar to a tai yang bing and the filling looks almost exactly the same too, but it would taste weird if you were expecting a tai yang bing. Lao po bing is very common while tai yang bing is not in NY is the only reason i say that, but looks like you can read chinese anyhow.

                      yah taiwanese breakfast would be difficult to make, if you go to the good places they roast their own soy milk, bake their shao bing right there etc etc. it's so good, but it's impossible to make at home i think. next time you're in taipei, go to this place in yong he (every famous breakfast place is called yong he <blank>), but this one is really really good

                      tai yang bing doesn't last long at all really if it's a good one, i need to go to tai zhong one day to get the real deal, ive never been there before

                      1. re: Lau

                        Fair point about the tai yang bing vs lao po bing. I've had lao po bing before, though, and if that was what I got, it would still have been a weird-tasting lao po bing! :-)

                        My mom used to make soy milk at home when I was a kid. This reminds me that I should try making it myself (and finding someplace where I can buy shao bing and you tiao to go with it).

                        1. re: msiangal

                          lao po bing are kind of weird, half the time they don't taste the same. some of them in NY are weird they're really gummy or strange tasting. you're supposed to use wintermelon filling, but i think everyone has their own way of making them

                          im sure you could make it, but it'd be alot of work...i think im too lazy haha. i did try making lu rou fan and it turned out pretty good actually, better than any of the restaurants, but then i had this huge vat of it that we couldn't finish

                    2. Really surprising to hear that there are no good Taiwan breakfast places in Flushing. We were in Vegas a few weeks ago and even that horrible city had an awesome breakfast shop ("Yi Mei Champion Deli")

                      For what it's worth, I've never had pork/crab xiaolongbao that ever tasted like it actually contained crab. And this is having eaten them in LA, New York, China (including the real Nanxiang restaurant in Shanghai & elsewhere in China) and Taiwan. I can recall only one time, ever, that I actually detected even the slightest whisper of crab, but d'oh to me for not actually remembering where that was. I should have taken better notes.

                      I've been disappointed in this way so many times (especially because you usually have to pay a dollar or two more the the crab upgrade) that I've essentially given up on the endeavor.

                      Mr Taster

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        I think you've just inspired me to do a side-by-side comparison of the pork and pork/crab versions the next time I get XLB!

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          i wish i would've taken a picture of the inside of these, but these soup dumplings had hairy crab roe in them. Hands down the best XLB filling ive ever had.


                        2. Is there anyplace where I can purchase ginseng root fresh.I'm looking for American to add to soups or tonics.Years back in NYC on Mott st at a produce stand it wa sold loose. So maybe in Flushing?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: scunge

                            yah i think there are alot of places, i think there is a big place right on the corner of 40th rd and main st like directly across the street from corner 28