My family loves adventures and food. That combination has brought us to fine dining establishments in the best of neighborhoods and fragrant shacks in the worst of neighborhoods. But, what it always brings is something unexpected, especially when you are bringing four kids along. That’s the perfect description for our recent treasure hunt for dumplings in Flushing, New York.
It was perfect timing … I ran into a fellow foodie who shared this incredible information about the dumplings just outside of New York City, my son happened to be studying China in his 1st grade class, and we were heading to New York for our spring break vacation. Here begins our adventure to Beijing, oops, I mean Flushing.
My friend and I were chatting about taking the kids to New York City and she mentioned her favorite spot to eat — the dumpling stalls. This is where my pen came out.
My friend, Alyssa Held, a chef at Deborah’s Natural Gourmet in Concord, MA, was inspired by an article in the New York Times (7/30/2008) Finding Beijing in Flushing. She starts by explaining “This part of Flushing is like Chinatown, from the stalls under the subway bridge where you can get a heaping platter of steaming lo mein for $1.50 to the downstairs mall of food stalls where noodles are tossed and slapped against a counter and then thrown in boiling water for a heavenly treat. Flushing is not to be missed!”
Here are a few of the restaurants in Flushing she recommends:
Nan Shian Dumpling House (38-12 Prince Street)
This is where you wait in line (unless you are an early riser and get there a few minutes before it opens on Sunday which I believe is 10 AM) for a steaming platter of freshly made dumplings. You can actually watch them being made on the spot, then steamed and served directly to you.
She cautioned us not to order everything at the Dumpling House. Following her directions, we headed to the Golden Mall underground. We couldn’t see how to get in, so after asking around and a kind person showed us how to get down. At this point we were certainly the one of very few English speaking people and definitely the only ones with four kids-in-tow.
This was a school day so I’m not sure if that’s common or not. My son, eager to try out his few phrases of Mandrin started to say “Keee how,” (hello) to people. At which point he mentioned that you had to “rise” your voice at the right point or you could be saying “Your baby is fat” instead by accident.
Golden Mall (41-42 Main St)
My family was a little skeptical, until we saw the man stretching and slapping the noodles that went into the Lanzhou Hand Pulled noodles in Soup with Greens. My friend said, “The noodles that I dream about are the translucent wheat noodles with spring wheat gluten.” Anthony Bourdain described them as one of the best things he has ever eaten.
As we watched, the cook tossed the mass of very elastic pasta dough, slapped it against the counter, tore it into irregular shaped strips and threw them into a pot of boiling water. When they were perfectly al dente she removed them and placed a heap of exquisitely spiced shredded lamb on top. I ate a huge platter of these in the stall and took some home for my husband in Boston.
Here’s the link to the article on Serious Eats that I found helpful.
All in all this was a wonderful excursion for an adventurous family, but not for skeptical eaters.Let me know if you go!
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