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Oct 19, 2013 01:09 PM

Ethnic Food Gathering in Queens

I may find myself in NY on the day after Thanksgiving, but only for a few hours. Since there isn't much time, I figured a fun thing to do might be a whirlwind food gathering operation around Flushing or Jackson Hts (or any other neighborhood with a good concentration of interesting finds). I know nothing about the area, apart from the foodie TV shows about the amazing assortment of ethnic food, many types of which may not be available in my neck of the woods (Greater Boston). I figured we could have a cooler or two in the car, and hit some key places for some stuff to haul home.

Stuff I'm looking for:

VERY hot spicy cuisine

Ethnic Chinese (we do authentic Sichuan pretty well around me, so maybe other, more obscure types of regional cuisine?)

Ethnic markets (authentic Latin American, Middle Eastern, Asian, E. European)

Authentic deli (Jewish specialties?)/bakery (bialys?)

Unusual Indian/Pakistani (Sri Lankan?)


any other place offering unique takes on pizza, sandwiches, etc.


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  1. I'll let others give you info about Flushing and Jackson Heights; I'll offer a different idea. Find your way to the Sears mall at Queens Blvd. and 63rd Drive in Rego Park. (Their parking lot is probably your best parking option). Bagelette is roughly a block north and across 63rd close to a REAL NY bagel as you'll find. The mini bagels are especially good. A door or two down is an E. European market. Then head south and cross Queens Blvd. About 1 block east ( on the blvd.) is Ben's Best Kosher deli. Very few KOSHER delis remain in the city. Order the pastrami on rye, with mustard. Get a potato knish to go with it. And a pickle.
    After you've eaten, head out the door and turn left, then left again onto 63rd Drive. Heading south, explore the numerous and varied ethnic markets on both sides of the street. Rego Bagels has good bagels, there is an Asian market that has some delicious packaged frozen dumplings, and there are a couple of East European delis. Walk up to the other side of the LIRR trestle....there is another interesting Eastern European market there. It looks small from the outside (where they will have fresh produce), but inside you'll find a vast assortment of goodies...dry goods, awesome pickles, a HUGE deli...even freshly butchered meats!
    Returning back to Sears, before you cross the Blvd., make a left and walk tne half block to Istanbul for awesome Turkish food. The gyro platter is great, but we like to feast on the various vegetarian salads....usually we order the large "appetizer" platter that includes about 10 different "salads" . The hummus is ok, but the baba gnoush is great, as are the tzatziki with walnuts, the white bean salad, and the 2-3 salads with eggplant. And the ezme...for your hot/spicy fix.
    Have fun!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Anne

      If you are going to Rego Park, you'll also want to check out the Uzbekistani restaurants in the area - Cheburechnaya for the mushroom chebureks and lamb fat kebabs, samcy and the awesome garlic fries. Fabulous.

      1. re: Anne

        Istanbul closed about a month or two ago and was replaced by something called Black Sea

        1. re: el jefe

          Oh, nooooo! Thanks for the head's up, though.

          1. re: el jefe

            Has anyone tried Black Sea since it's reincarnation? Like Anne we used to get the mezze platter and the terrific domaldes from Istanbul but haven't been there for a while and just noticed the change last month.

            1. re: tigerwoman

              I never understood Istanbul. My family loves it, but I always found the food to be very dull. We haven't ordered since the new ownership, as they no longer carry the lamb saute that my son loved so much.

        2. If you don't mind the search for parking, you should be able to get some of what you want near Jackson Heights.

          Kabab King - Bihari Kabab, Nihari
          Merit Kabab - Momos, Chicken Samosas, Braised Tongue
          Zabb Elee - Som Tum Poo Plara, Pla Dook Pad Ped
          Jackson Heights Food Court - biryani, Nepali dishes

          Thai Grocery - 76-13 Woodside Avenue
          Patel Brothers - 37-27 74th Street
          Don Francisco Carniceria & Fiambreria - 85-17 37th Avenue
          El Gauchito - 94-60 Corona Ave

          1 Reply
          1. re: JungMann

            Merit doesn't do the tongue anymore, unfortunately.

          2. Thanks for the recs so far! Keep 'em coming.

            I forgot to include regional cuisines from Africa.

                1. re: Dinsdale45

                  How could anyone know anything about this blog and its author? ;-)

                  1. re: diprey11

                    In case anyone is confused, Dave Cook posts here under hs own name.