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.
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 Drive...as 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.
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