Monday, September 8, 2008

The Hot New 'Nabe: Flushing

Roast Pork Buns
Over the past few months, Flushing has been 'discovered' (in the Columbus sense of the word,) most notably in this NYT article. Seeing as I live 10 minutes away, you'd think I'd have eaten in Flushing before. Well that answer would be no.

The Flushing I know isn't the hot new food destination, rather the place where you switch from train to bus, protecting your olfactory system against the death stench coming off of Flushing River and Bay (I'm seriously happy that the DEP worked on that problem; tax money well spent.) That and I had a car for many years; you don't drive in Flushing unless you have a death wish. But as of late, I have been in Flushing nearly every day going from the train to the bus (my horrible commute that I hate so much, but I refuse to become a full-fledged LIRR monthly carrying commuter, again), and so has Silly. Silly and I are now making a point to meet in Flushing and eat, if only because it's the hot new food destination. We met a few days ago and after a little wandering, we found Sunway. They have a small dim sum lunch menu where everything is $2.95, in additional to their normal menu. Nothing was exotic or especially unique, so we ordered some dim sum along with a regular entree.

Inside Roast Pork Buns
Roast Pork Buns. I may be in the midst of a pork bun obsession, so be prepared. Unfortunately, everything else on the table Silly would have eaten ended up having shrimp in it, and she comes equipped with a fatal shellfish allergy. She liked the pork buns by default. I thought the pork to bun ratio was much better than Mei Li Wah, but the dough was a bit stickier and denser, meaning it was not as fluffy as I would have liked.

Chive Cakes
Chive Cakes. Each had it's own jumbo shrimp in it, a crispy skin, and tasty. My only caveat was that grease dribbled down my chin while I was biting, it's that greasy. If that not your thing, as it's not my thing, these aren't the things for you.

Pork Siu Mai
Pork Siu Mai. Very shrimpy (good), very thin skin (good), not so porky (bad). Nothing special or out of the ordinary.

Rice Rolls with Beef
Rice Rolls with Beef. I don't know what we thought we were getting when we ordered this. I believe the inside may have been offal of some sort, and that wasn't what we were going for. I tried a bit, it tasted fine, but the textures of the gluttonous rice and the beef weren't up my alley that day.

Chicken with Celery
Chicken and celery on a bed of pan-fried noodles. Though this shouldn't have had shrimp in it, a few pieces were and that's all it takes to off Silly. This was good; the crunch of the noddles with the chicken gave a pleasant experience, but the sauce was a bit overwhelming and sweet. If I were to get this again, I would have the sauce on the side so that I could apply to my liking. Definitely above average.

Fried. Bacon.
The Fried Bacon Rolls. I saw these at the last moment, and knew I had to try them, diet be damned. Simple jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon and then fried, they were crunchy and greasy, but so delicious. The inside shrimp tasted good and fresh, not fishy. The bacon could have been a little meatier, but that's alright with me.

All in all, grease was the word in this meal. It was an average meal in that nothing really stood out or was particularly worth a trip from Manhattan. This did seem like a good gateway into the Flushing scene, as the restaurant is clean and bright, had an attentive staff, is open much later than other restaurants in the area, and is easily accessible (not stairs, or small, dark hallways, etc).

Sunway Cafe
39-07 Prince Street
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 939-3330


Anonymous said...

This sounds like you went for a weekday lunch? The best dimsum isn't off of a lunch menu but with a restaurant that serves the regular weekend dimsum. (Some places do it by trays, but I love the old-school carts.) In Flushing, I'd recommend Jade Asian (136-28 39th Ave.). There might be better, but this is the only dimsum I've been to out there, and it's pretty tasty.

Siobhan said...

It was during a weekday lunch, but they had a separate dim sum menu in conjunction with their regular menu, so I imagine the weekend dim sum wouldn't be much different or have more options. We ended up going there since it appeared they had a greater variety of items without shellfish. Big Bobo's ex-girlfriend used to live in the heart of Flushing and her family would take him out to dim sum, so he knows the go-to places. More on them soon enough.

Yvo Sin said...

Sunway sucks. Sorry. I don't claim to know Flushing anymore but I do know that place is not good.
Oh, and the rice rolls with beef - I really detest those (though I haven't had Sunways, I've had that dim sum dish) but I don't believe they're offal... it's like ground up mish mash of all the side bits of beef that don't go into the beef balls or something also yuck. It's seasoned with something that really turns my tongue. I know Silly can't eat shrimp, but my personal favorite dim sum is the same dish made with shrimp instead... when done right, the slippery rice noodle with the sweet and salty soy sauce, the bouncy shrimp, just... heaven :)

Yvo Sin said...

PS Did you dip your fried bacon rolls in the accompanying mayo sauce? Haha that's REALLY diet out the window...

Anonymous said...

I also have to agree with Yvo that Sunway's food is not that great. However, their Bubble Tea is good :)

If you can survive driving in Flushing, you can survive anywhere!

Try getting the "rolls" with shrimp next time. SO good. :D In fact, that's all I get when I go to Dim Sum.

Ocean Jewel, which is right across the street from Sunway on 39th Ave, is also very good for Dim Sum.

Anonymous said...

oh man, disappointing dim sum experiences are the worst. I feel like it's almost personal preferences these days. My friends and I are more than happy to eat at Jing Fong in Manhattan. Ed Levine calls it less than mediocre. haha.

Siobhan said...

I think we can safely say that this isn't the best Flushing has to offer, but I had to find that out for myself. I am going to keep trying places there without relying too much on all the articles lately.

Yvo Sin said...

It really, really pains me to say this (especially in conjunction with your recent post about Canada and the best bubble tea), but the best dim sum I've had so far has been in Toronto. I don't know if it's a cost thing or what, but the shrimp they put in their dim sum (and like 90% or more of dim sum has shrimp in some form in it) is ginormous, fresh, and delicious. I don't even really like shrimp in general, but that is some good ish. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Why do people keep recommending Jade Asian or whatever it is called now, the best place is Gala Manor off Main St. Going there for weekday lunch is super cheap, dishes of every size is the same price. And the best bubble tea place is Quickly next to the library.

The beef in the beef rice roll is mashed up and if the dim sum place is decent it should have hints of dried orange skin and the meat should be bouncy in your mouth. The fried dough sticks wrapped in rice roll is a good dish to try, just don't let it sit in the soy sauce too long.

As for Toronto dim sum, the ones in the city are not good. It's the ones in the suburbs of Richmond Hill and Markham.