The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Another Flushing Food Tour: Dumplings, Crab, Shaved Ice, Stinky Tofu, Etc.

This post originally took place on August 22.

It's 10:30 a.m. in Flushing. What do you start your day with?

pork xiao long bao

Pork soup dumplings from Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao. Thinly skinned, semi-translucent pouches cradling a pork meatball in a pool of porky juice that will burn your mouth if you eat it too quickly, and if you're you're like me, that's what you're doomed to do. Good thing mucous membranes tend to grow back pretty quickly.

scallion pancake with beefies
There's beef in thar.

Next up at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao: beef-filled scallion pancake, a scallion-studded flatbread with a crisp, flaky crust and chewy innards, folded over a layer of thinly sliced beef flavored with a sweet sauce, methinks hoisin. In my world, scallion pancake beef sandwiches would dominate easily accessible breakfast menus instead of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. Alas, that world is probably in China. (Or Flushing.)

The last time I went on a mega-tour of Flushing, Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao was the last stop of our day, but due to its popularity, we thought it'd be better to start there and beat the crowd. Today's crew of intrepid eaters blessed with digestive fortitude: Greg, Jess, Diana, Tam, Al, and—our new enthusiastic eater ripe for a Flushing devirginization—Foster.

Imperial Palace
Lunch time.

Second stop of the day was Imperial Palace, which was still in the process of opening when we ambushed them at 11 a.m. So we loitered until we were allowed in as the first customers of the day.

we hope you can enjoy

We hoped that too.

Dungeness crab with sticky rice
Crabs and rice, get em.

We ordered what seemed to be their most famous dish, Dungeness crab with sticky rice.

photo time
We'll eat it soon.

And not knowing how massive one order was, we got two of them, Oops. (Not that seven people can't polish off two orders, but keep in mind that this was merely one stop in a day of many fooding locations.) But it was tasty, so none of us was going to protest the mountains of rice and crab before us.

Admittedly, I was more into the sticky rice than the crab. The sticky rice was well seasoned with...something savory, and just a smidge sticky with a bit of chew. I've never been much of a fan of shellfish—I don't dislike it, but I'd never crave it since I generally fail at digging meat out of thick, prohibitory exoskeletons. But it can be worth it if you can get a clump of the tender innards, and not the sad bits and shreds my inept hands generally end up with.

Greg being...greg.

Greg victoriously got a clump of claw. Here, he attempts to eat it in a seductive manner. That's nice Greg...that's nice. [pat pat]

tofu casserole with seafood
Oh yeah, other stuff.

Also part of our second meal, tofu casserole with seafood, seafood being shrimp and squid, other stuff being broccoli, mushrooms. and goopy sauce with some sort of flavor that I can't remember.

stir fried...squash thing?
It's shiny.

There was also stir fried squash thing, or spongy porous loofah thing. It glistened.

Shoppin, sort of.

After lunch, we killed some time at Hong Kong Supermarket across the street, where we found such gems as...

goo for desserts

Jars of fruity goo and jelly goo and beany goo. Essential ingredients to an Asian shaved ice concoction.

pimple solution tea.
Pimple tea.

Pimple solution tea, because...that will totally unblock your pores.

Cheerful crackers

Cheerful crackers! Alas, you have to add the happy face yourself.

shaved ice from Ten Ren
Dessert #1.

For post-lunch dessert, we tried the shaved ice from Ten Ren topped with multiple sorts of colored jelly nubs, red beans, and sweet syrup. The ice was not powdery-fine, but it was shaved more finely than the version at the Flushing Mall. THUMBS UP!

$1 roast duck bun
Duck bun!

At Tam's insistence, Foster got a $1 roast duck bun from the stall on the corner of Main Street and 41st Avenue. For one measly dollar, you get a soft steamed bun wrapped around sliced, tender roast duck and scallion shavings topped with a plop of hoisin sauce. "This is one of the best things you can get for $1"—Tam is right on.

kid on a bike
Kid on a bike. With things.

And just because it seemed like a cool photographic opportunity, here's a kid on a box-laden bike.

Second lunch/early dinner.

Next meal was at Gu-shine Taiwanese Restaurant, where we happened to order the most food despite having the least number of stomach power—Foster had to leave and Diana's stomach was nearing explosion point.

Soup with stuff in it.

Our favorite dish was the pork stomach with pickled greens soup. Guess what was in it! Admittedly, by this point I forget why it was the favorite of the bunch, but the soup must've conclusion, I need to take more notes.

oyster omelet
Oysters. In there.

I probably fail at being Taiwanese for not liking oyster pancakes (omelets) (I don't really like oysters). If you like oysters and eggs, then here's your winning combination of soft briny nubbins in a thin blanket of almost-chicken.

stinky tofu

I also fail at being Taiwanese for never having eaten stinky tofu before. Oh, I've smelled it; I recall eating lunch at a restaurant in Taipei over ten years ago and smelling something funny. My mom told me it was from the stinky tofu...from the restaurant cross the street. Jebus. My pre-teen self didn't want in on the stinky tofu action, and I guess my parents weren't very fond of it either.

It doesn't taste nearly as bad as it smells though, at least not in this instance, which was probably pretty mild compared to what you could get in Asia. It smelled a bit garbage-y. Putrid. Rot-like. It tasted like fried tofu cubes, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, with a bit of that putrid sour flavor that I could sort of ignore with enough dipping sauce. Of course, I'd rather just eat fried non-fermented tofu.

chengdu cold noodles
Chengdu noodles.

We ordered a few non-Taiwanese dishes, such as spicy cold Chengdu noodles, which tasted fine.

double cooked pork

Double cooked pork wasn't as good as good as the one from Famous Sichuan, but that probably makes sense since this isn't a Sichuanese restaurant.

diced chicken whatever
Diced chicken something.

And I don't remember the name of this diced chicken dish, but Tam said it was far off from what it was supposed to be. However, it was tasty as is—tender, moist chicken bits in a spicy sauce. Aside from the soup, this was my favorite dish.

Yes, there were many leftovers.

..But we weren't done yet. It was time for second dessert.

shaved ice toppings

Buckets of multicolored viscous goo can only mean one thing.

Shaved ice with jelly bits

Shaved ice (or baobing) from the food court at the Flushing Mall. We didn't go too crazy with this bowl, just lots of jelly bits, including grass jelly, and good old ice chunks. Yup, their shaved ice is more chunky than shaved, but considering a massive bowl costs less than $4 it's a good deal compared to other places. The six of us halfheartedly polished it off, thus completing the stratification of food in our bellies from dumplings to sticky rice to crab to ice shavings to soup to stinky tofu to chicken to more ice shavings and all that other stuff that filled in the nonexistent cracks.

Diana is normal, Greg is Greg, take 1
Random photo.

There's something about Flushing that allows your stomach to expand to unhealthy proportions. The consequence is when you go back to non-Asia-dominated civilization, you immediately pass out and take a nap. At least, that's what I did.

Flushing Like I've Never Flushed Before
I Think I Want to Eat Everything in Flushing, Mostly at Golden Shopping Mall
The Good and the Bad at the Flushing Mall, Plus Mooncakes
Beef Noodle Soup and Ginormous Shaved Ice in Flushing


Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
38-12 Prince St
New York, NY 11354

Imperial Palace
13613 37th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

Hong Kong Supermarket
3711 Main St
Flushing, NY 11354

Ten Ren
13518 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

Roast Duck Bun Stall (Corner 28)
4028 Main St
Flushing, NY 11354

Gu-shine Taiwanese Restaurant
135-40 39th Ave
Queens, NY 11354

Flushing Mall
133-31 39 Ave
Flushing, NY 11354


Chris H / September 20, 2009 11:51 PM

LOVE Nan Shian. Awesome photos as usual. Have you guys gone to the Korean side of Flushing? Kyedong and Tong Sam Gyap Gui are to die for, for Korean Fried Chicken and pork belly, respectively.

Emma / September 20, 2009 11:57 PM

I live in Sunnyside and MAN Robyn, I will get to Flushing one of these days because of posts like this!

Teresa / September 21, 2009 12:13 AM

I'm glad you went to Flushing again. When are you going to have "Taiwanese breakfast"? This is something you definitely can't find in Manhattan's Chinatown. Who knows how long this will last in Flushing. If you need any suggestions, let me know. :)

Mahar / September 21, 2009 2:18 AM

Your friend Greg looks like he's about to explode in the last picture.

Good God, I've read this blog long enough to know that you are more than capable of impressive feats of eating--but it's only now that I realized I could never eat as much you did in that sitting. I bow in awe.

adelyn / September 21, 2009 5:42 AM

haha, aww, the event in which i didn't partake. :-( those pork dumplings are making me hungry. you know what i suddenly crave? steamed lotus buns. argh.

kim / September 21, 2009 8:02 AM

CORNER 28 also serves shaved ice and there's a student discount as well! i also marvel at the elasticity of your stomach. It must be a gift. :)

Brtw,next time at Gu-shine, you should try the taiwanese "3 cup chicken'. it's one of their specialities.

Ed B. / September 21, 2009 8:14 AM

That dish of crabs with sticky rice sounds and looks really's been a while since I've had crab. But I prefer crabs that are in the process of changing their shells (more meat) and those that have roe inside (more tasty).

BTW, those jars in your pic contain halo-halo toppings. I can tell it's Filipino by the label: Handaan, which in English roughly translates to 'banquet'. :-)

Alex / September 21, 2009 8:42 AM

i just posted about taiwanese breakfast and was desperately looking for it in Manhattan. Found 2 really bad places. i guess i have to make the trip to get it...i'm gonna bookmark this post!

christina / September 21, 2009 10:18 AM

I think your new job should be to add hilarious captions to pictures. Sometimes the pictures are better than normal simply because of the captions, so you could charge a lot and retire early!

Danny / September 21, 2009 11:43 AM

10:30am!? that's ridiculous. i wish i could wake up that early to go to flushing on the weekends. they really need a subway line to go from brooklyn to queens...

roboppy / September 21, 2009 11:58 AM

Chris: I'm ashamed to say that I've rarely eaten on the Korean side of Flushing. Thanks for the recs!

Emma: Yeah, you're not that far from Flushing (well..compared to meee), YOU SHOULD GOOO!!

Teresa: Oo, we wanted to do Taiwanese breakfast but didn't really get to fit that in. NEXT TIME! We'll have to have Taiwanese breakfast and Korean food day. I will take any suggestions.

Mahar: We did walk around a lot; maybe that jostled the goo around my belly. ...Ew.


joanh: You have lots of delicious street food in Taipei already! :)

kim: Thanks for the rec!

Ed: I should've bought that jar of halo halo toppings! I recently acquired an ice shaver. Doh.

Alex: I haven't tried to find Taiwanese breakfast in Manhattan. Guess I'm not missing out on much. ;_;

Christina: Haha, I'm glad you enjoy the captions. I just need to put...something in there. Random. Words. ANYTHING.

WL: Whoops, I had no idea! I assume...different kind of okra than what I'd find in non-Chinese restaurants? (I'm not a big fan of that stuff. If it's slimy, at least.)

Danny: We give up sleep to maximize FOODING TIME! At least I got to nap on the subway, hehe. :)

Mahar / September 21, 2009 12:14 PM

Robyn, halo-halo is so simple to make. It's basically, ice + toppings + flan + drown in evaporated milk.

Have fun!

Manda / September 22, 2009 2:33 AM

I wanna go on a food expedition...too bad I'm in CA.

And beany goodness + goopy goodness...I was like, halo-halo alert! Get some ube ice cream, other jiggly things, sweetened condensed milk and you are gravy. Not literally.

laura / September 22, 2009 9:57 AM

that looked soooo good, especially that duck bun. i cannot wait to have a trek out to flushing. too bad my hubby is not a huge chinese food lover -- what's wrong with him! thanks for the excellent post.

Tam / September 22, 2009 10:56 AM

Oh hells yeah! Taiwanese breakfast soon!

beef-filled scallion pancake = niu rou jia bing
stir fried squash thing = si gua (loofah squash/slurp!)
diced chicken dish = la zi ji ding

Terry / September 22, 2009 3:38 PM

holy cow, i totally did all those stops this weekend too. glad to hear you guys ate it all up.

maybe it's just me but i'm used to the thinner skinned xiao long bao, so nang xiang's is a bit too thick for me. you gotta try the scallion mixed noodles next time you're there. REALLY good.

Gu Xiang's take out stuff is real delicious too so i find that to satisfy my taiwanese craving. =)

roboppy / September 22, 2009 6:50 PM

Mahar: SHALL DO! Once I get all those ingredients I don't have.

Gastronomer: Thanks for reading!

Manda: I must procure beany goopy ingredients!

laura If your husband loves you, he'll make the trek with you! I hope. :)

Alice: Ahh yes, next time we go to Flushing I'll let you know!

Ulla: No prob; hope you can hit up a bunch of these places!

Tam: I knew I could count on you for REAL INFORMATION and not "this dish of stuff and things."

Terry: Scallion mixed noodles, wuut!...damn, okay next time. Any other recs for soup dumplings? :)

Teresa: Thanks for the rec!

JustNancy / September 22, 2009 9:31 PM

Stinky tofu! Oof! It is...stinky! My parents both grew up in Taiwan and when my brother and I were out of the house, they'd run over to the local Chinese market and proceed to stink up our suburban neighborhood with the "unique" smell of wok-fried "tso do fu." They were apologetic but it was a craving they just couldn't resist! I'm sure our neighbors were pleased, hehe.

eatyourheartout / September 23, 2009 1:35 PM

Flushing is always calling for adventure. Fooding adventure. Looking forward to the next. Sans stinky tofu.

Terry / September 24, 2009 2:16 PM

hmmm, other soup dumplings in Flushing? to tell you the truth i haven't had any other like the ones i've eaten in Taiwan and Shanghai. however if i find a place, i will be sure to tell you and we can try it together! yes, food adventures!

annie / September 25, 2009 10:01 AM

I never thought I would even think the sentence "I really want to go to Flushing," but it's happening right now. I'd go just for the Duck Bun, which is my idea of heaven. Thanks for a funny, evocative post!

roboppy / September 25, 2009 7:31 PM

JustNancy: I wonder what my parents think of stinky'll ask my mom next time, hehe.

D: No more stinky tofu. I can live with that.

Lee Anne: I WEEP.

Annie: It's TOTALLY normal to think, "I really want to go to Flushing." If you like food. :d

caroline / September 27, 2009 1:32 AM

You should try a chinese breakfast at this place next to the library on main street. It has a green awning- they have delicious, warm, slightly sweet soybean milk with deep fried "crullers" that you can eat together, as well as sesame encrusted pancakes with scallions, hoisin sauce (i think) and beef!! It's really good- try it!

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