Xi’an Famous Foods

www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

When I made it to Kenmare street, I was elaited. Though my friend had canceled on me, I was still going to give Ramen Lab a try. It was friday after all, I’d just gotten off work, why not. When I finally made my final approach to Ramen Lab though, it looked like it decided to cancel on me as well, closed.

I stood dazed for a moment, what now. The yakatori place adjacent looked fly, but I was in noodle mode, and they had nothing on offer. After another moment, defeated, I decided to get going. However when I walked a little past the awning, on the other side of Ramen Lab,, a pleasant surprise greeted me, an outpost of none other than Xian Famous Foods.

Xian Famous foods first opened in Flushing years back. It became popular spot for locals, in a rundown food court on Fulton Street. Then gained additional notoriety after being featured on several prominent television shows. So what’s so special about Xi’an Famous, well it begins with noodles.

Xian famous, like many places these days, is variations on a theme. And noodles are the building blocks for the majority of their dishes here. Fresh noodles paired with a variety of meats, herbs, and spice, and broths. If you aren’t into spicy food, Xi’an famous is probably not for you. The food is quite hot, but not so much so to take away from the flavors, more of a synergy, enhancing them.

You can get many noodle soups here, But my favorites are the dry noodles,(ok not necessarily dry, but not submerged in water). I usually will get one of two dishes, the hand pulled noodles with cumin lamb or the spicy and tingly beef hand pulled. Both are spicy, and both showcase the excellent texture of the fresh noodles. On my most recent visit I got the beef, and was suprised yet again with the tenderness of the beef. It really is satisfyingly soft, and dissolves in each bite.

Beyond these noodle dishes, which I would suggest, the lamb burger is also a popular dish. Its filling and has similar flavor profiles to the noodle dishes. A good spot of quick bite, and a drink borough wide.

Friendship BBQ

www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com

“Queens borough be the back drop,” flushing in particular. A neighborhood teeming with restaurants who draw from the far east. This is where you can find Friendship BBQ. Spice is front and center here and plenty of it. We came here on a Sunday, so I wasn’t in a rush to grab a beer. However, I did have one, as the cuisine (from Beijing I believe) is hot, and suds pair well.

The menu is expansive, variations on the theme of chili flakes. We ordered a ton of stuff, guided by my friends who grew up overseas in China’s mainland. Skewers are a must have, lamb in particular, and they come in different sizes. We got both large and small. My two favorites were the lamb with tendon, and a raw beef skewer we tried that you dip in, if I my memory serves me correctly, a soy based sauce.

We got a hot pot type skewer dish as well, that had different vegetables and meats. Every skewer was submerged in the a spicy hotpotesque broth. I’d skip this, as some of the skewers fell flat, though others were ineresting (like the mushroom one) the price is a good reason to think twice.

One of the stand out dishes, and my pick for the number one or number two spot was a simple dish of cucumbers dressed with garlic and chili flakes. This dish really shines, with bright crisp notes from the cucumbers, that make a great contrast to the chili flakes that heavily garnish the dish. This is a definite must have.

Beyond that we tried the conch, which was ok but also quite pricey. I would stick to the basics here, skewers, vegetables with chili flakes, and a beer for good measure. They also have some interesting dishes I’d yet to see, so feel free to order the chicken skeleton, let us know how it is.

Drunken Dumpling

www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

“New Dumpling Place Opens” read the headline, or at least that was the copy through the lense of my memory. It was just over a year ago when the Drunken Dumpling opened theirs doors. I had read about it in one online periodical or another, and was intrigued. It was most likely the allure of the largest soup dumpling this side of the Prime Meridian, but that was enough for me.

I had planned two separate occasions to visit, but was cut short both times. The first time it was a scheduling thing. I had gone at four, when they were closed between lunch and dinner, and my stomach demanded I go elsewhere. On the second occasion It was just too packed, and again my stomach protested waiting any longer, so I moved on.

As is often the case, third time is a charm. On a tepid summer day, my planned visit finally came together. Me and a friend stopped in for lunch, and quickly glanced over the menu. I like the fact that everything here is organic, and farm to table like. Lets be honest, I love dumplings, and I get them from all types of places. However, many dumpling places most likely don’t use the highest quality ingredients. Now this isn’t a knock on those places, I’m fine with that. But it is nice that there is a place like Drunken Dumping.

Many of the options are your classics, dumplings you’re no doubt familiar with, pork and chive anyone. They also have that large soup dumpling that I mentioned, but me and my compatriot decided to go with the classic soup dumplings. These were great, I personally really enjoyed them. I’m no expert when it comes to soup dumplings, but I thought they were excellent. Something you should consider if you visit.

The other dumpling choice we made to round out our meal was an interesting original (at least for me) that I’d never seen before. The chicken and cashew dumpling was delectable, light, and tasty. Add hot oil and soy sauce and you’re good to go.

Super Taste

www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

China town, and Eldridge Street in particular, is home to some of the cities best low key reasonable eateries. Super Taste can certainly count itself among them. As you walk down Eldridge, try not to blink or you might miss it. Like many of the shops its nondescript storefront is easy to pass. I suggest following the street numbers.

Known for its hand pulled noodle soups, I decided it might be good to check it out one icy night a couple of weekends ago. As promised by many reviewers, and a close friend, the soup I got didn’t disappoint. I got the duck, and found the broth to be really tasty. My companion got the beef, also good and without bones. It should be noted that the soup is more than enough food for most people. I was genuinely surprised at the amount of noodles they packed in. This makes for an exceptional value.

Beyond the soup, we also split the Oxtail with rice, which I wouldn’t recommend. If you feel you need something beyond the soup, maybe try the dumplings. I wish we had.

Photo by hungryan_ via instagram

Red Top Mountain Restaurant

www.digg.com www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

Sunday’s are great days for dim sum. The sabbath, and food is religion after all. Headed to flushing for dim sum we collectively decided to try a new place, Red Top Mountain Restaurant. On entering RTMR you’ll be asked what type of tea you would like. This is nice, as you will typically get the same type of tea in most Chinese restaurants, which according to google is often a blend of popular teas. We ordered a fragrant tea, made of whole flowers. It was excellent, and accompanied the small dishes nicely.

We ordered right away as the first cart approached. I was in luck, a native speaker in with us, ordering was no trouble. The first round of dishes included two tripe plates, and shrimp shumai. Out of the three, the tripe marinated in some type of red pepper sauce was my favorite. I personally am not a huge fan of tripe, texture and preparation often the deterrent. I can say this is the best I’ve had it, and would go a step further and say you should try theirs.

As the carts circled we watched, and waited for our next selection. We eventually decided on pork buns, a classic, and these taro root cubes. Coming off a recent visit to Waikiki I wanted to try these, as taro root is featured heavily in Hawaiian cuisine. This was good, but the starchy components of this root vegetable was evident. Interestingly, there were other dishes with taro root on offer. I’m not sure if it was because they happened across a sale at the grocer, or its a staple of their restaurant, but I’m all for it.

More carts roll by, egg tarts, check. Can we have an order of congee, why not. Pigs feat stewed with too much ginger, we’ll take some. Finally, we couldn’t resist and ordered these buns that looked like panda bears. They had a peanut butter-esque filling, not bad, . Really enjoyed the experience here, and the ability to choose your tea only added to it.

Fu Run

www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

I recently went out to Fu Run on a day off from work. I had wanted to try these lamb ribs I saw on the food network. Though this wasn’t the exact place I saw on the tube, you know “Queens borough be the back drop” and this place got pretty good reviews. So there I was, sitting across from the Bland Houses (a housing project in flushing) flipping through the Fu Run Menu.

Fu Run has a large menu, and a lot of offerings, I was surprised. Who knew you could order jelly fish so many ways. Beyond the less mainstream items, they have some more generic dishes, chicken and beef variations. We had come for the lamb ribs, one order of which you’ll find is plenty of food for two people, so we ordered these. These are really good, and I would definitely get them if you come. As you can see in the photo they have dry spices on the top. Piled high spices and fennel seeds pair perfectly with the lamb making happy patrons. These are really rich, so I would suggest getting a cola to wash them down. The only other item we ordered was a pancake filled with beef, fried, also good.

I enjoyed the food tremendously, or whatever. I would mention that the service was poor, it was the end of the lunch shift and I always cut wait staff slack, because I’ve been there. However, if your of some noble lineage and aren’t used to being ignored, I recommend staying home at the palace.

The Chairman

www.digg.com www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com

When I touched down in San Francisco I was starving. I didn’t know where I would end up, but I trusted the success rate would be high, considering all I had heard of the touted scene. On arriving to my hotel I was told I wouldn’t be able to check in until 3, so I set out for lunch.

Finding my self in the little Saigon neighborhood where I was staying was good. A quick tour around the avenues near my hotel and I had already eyed several packed venues. Still starving I decided I wanted something quick, so I walked into The Chairman.

The Chairman is a Chinese bun spot boasting many options, and some unique takes. You can get each option on steamed buns, or upgrade to a baked option with larger portion on a roll. I decided I wanted to try a few of the offerings, and I’m a sucker for steamed buns, so I went with three of these. I chose two pork and the one beef option, though they also have chicken and vegetarian to choose from as well.

The classic pork belly was enjoyable, garnished with pickled daikon, and glazed with red miso. Next was the short rib, braised with horseradish mayo and fennel slaw. This was great, but I liked the third bun a little more, and found it to be more filling. Coca-Cola braised pork, cabbage, mustered seed, and garlic mayo. All said and done an exceptional place for a quick bite.