Saturday, June 30, 2012
Queens Supper Club Goes to Flushing!
I always look forward to attending the once-a-month Queens Supper Club, organized by my friend Anne from Cityspoonful blog and her friend Leigh. The dinners are always adventurous, interesting and most of all, affordable. Dan came along for this one, and had an awesome time hangin' with my adventurous foodie crew.
So where did we go this time, you may wonder? Flushing! We ventured to the New World Mall, which is known for their amazingly diverse food court on its lower level. The rest of the building serves very much as a shopping haven for all sorts of things including clothes, electronics, toys, specialty food items, cosmetics and more. If you haven't yet been, I strongly encourage you to check it out.
Located literally right outside of the 7 subway and also not far from the Flushing/Main Street LIRR station, you won't miss the large building, which is the New World Mall.
Upon setting foot in the mall, I was right away amazed by its magnetic energy and all the bright colors. It sort of reminded me of the many underground malls I went to in Tokyo, and I felt pleasantly nostalgic, ready and excited to uncover its goods.
The immense food court, which was our main destination was just down the escalator, and once we got down there, we marveled at its offerings. I just couldn't believe how much there was explore, from homemade dumpling stands to noodle bars; from frozen treats to all sorts of stir fry.
Our strategy was to first make a full round, checking out all the stands, and then in our second round to actually buy stuff. I liked this approach a lot because it let you scope out the scene and formulate a plan of action - and it also helped to see where most people were gravitating. Dan, Meg and I sort of went splitsies on everything, which was a nice way to go.
Red Bean Sesame Bun - Even though this was more desserty than anything, we got one on the fly and ate it on line, while making other food decisions. The dough was flaky and delicious, while the inside was soft and gooey and super sweet from the red bean paste. Again, this dessert was nostalgic, as Dan and I had lots of red bean goodies back in Japan. Good times...good flavor!
Seared Pork Buns - In the same stand where we got the red bean bun, we also got these amazingly huge seared pork buns. They came in a box of six, and the portion was enormous, where we each got to have two of them. I loved their well done, slightly crispy top and the soft doughy sides. The filling was of course the best part, consisting of soft ground pork mixed with Asian spices, one of which I think was lemongrass, adding a nice zing of freshness.
Surf and Turf Stir Fry - As we went around the food court and took note of which stands drew in the biggest crowds, the ones with stir-fry definitely qualified. Dan and I were intrigued, as we noticed a whole lot of spicy options, with all sorts of meats and veggies. One thing that really impressed us is how these were served, in large wooden bowls that you'd normally use to house a family style salad. They were huge, and looked absolutely delicious!
Once we got to the front of the line, we got food stage fright, as we didn't know what to go for. Some of it looked downright foreign but still interesting, while other stuff seemed a bit scary (like the crab). After a few quick moments of deliberation, we went with a surf and turf bowl, combining shrimp, thin pieces of beef, squid, tofu and various types of veggies.
The whole thing was done at the speed of light (in about 3-4 minutes) and off we went, to sit down with our impressive bowl of ingredients. Wow! All in all, the dish was awesome. I loved the spicy sauce that was interlaced throughout all our diverse ingredients, giving it a lot of quick, sharp heat, that luckily dissipated quickly. The protein was delicious, especially the shrimp, which we ate with the shell still in tact. For those of you not yet convinced, I urge you that it's a great way to enjoy shrimp, adding beautiful and unexpected texture. The beef and the tofu were really tasty as well, and paired with veggies such bok choy, bean sprouts, bamboo and more, this dish was overall exciting and super satisfying.
Dessert - Even though we were pretty stuffed, we made room for dessert. Trying two things including the famous Snopo frozen treats (in two flavors) as well as a chilled mango and tofu dessert, we ended things on a sweet and refreshing note.
Out of the two, Snopo definitely shined for me, as I got to try the taro bubble tea and a lemon/yogurt smoothie. The former was something totally different, with big droplets of tapioca balls, which were slightly chewy, thus adding a really interesting texture. The tea itself was nicely chilled and tasted a little bit nutty.
In terms of the other drink, which Dan ordered, it was a totally new take on a smoothie - slightly tangy from the yogurt and ending each gulp on a clean, refreshing note from the lemon. It was a nice palate cleanser for sure.
Service and Cost:
Even though some of the stands had big lines, they all went pretty quickly and the service was efficient. While I was a bit like a fish out of water at some of the stands, feeling awkward to approach the servers in English, it worked out well and everyone was friendly and welcoming. Overall a great experience, which I'd love to repeat.
Costs are super cheap, but please note that all places accept cash only. For all the foods I just described, we paid about $25 total, which is a great deal for apps, a main dish and dessert.
New World Mall - 40-21 Main Street, Flushing NY 11354
7 Train to Flushing