Taiwanese Revival in Flushing

Temple Snacks has been a wandering ministry for devotees of Taiwanese street food, starting a few years back at the Flushing Mall food court. Last year it decamped for a new place a couple of blocks east, a Chowhound favorite that was sadly short-lived.

Now it’s back where it started. Among other things, it makes superior versions of the thick, comforting soups beloved in Taiwan, including one with pork intestine that FattyDumplin considers the best in Flushing—which would most likely make it the best in New York. Overall, he adds, the food is “very simple but yummy,” including a fine Taiwanese-style sausage. Past reports praise Temple Snacks’ gua bao, a snackish sandwich of stewed pork belly and pickled vegetables in a steamed bun, commonly called a Taiwanese burger.

That’s not to be confused with the delicious cumin-scented lamb burger from Xian Famous Foods at Golden Mall on Main Street. These days you can also get one at Flushing Mall, at the newish Xian Famous Foods outpost one stall over from Temple Snacks. Try the lamb noodles, FattyDumplin suggests.

A block away, Jim Leff has struck gold at Golden Szechuan. Beef shank with garlic is supertender stewed meat in succulent brown sauce, a brilliant union of Sichuan, Shanghai, and even old-school Jewish cooking, with an “ultra-slow building burn that was so unexpected and so wonderful.” Fish in hot bean paste sauce is spicy and sublimely cooked, and tea-smoked pork boasts perfect, elegant smokiness. All three dishes are “worth a trip from anywhere,” Jim says. He does fault a lack of numbing/spicy Sichuan peppercorn in his initial order, an omission he ascribes to “gringo displeasure concerns” on the part of the staff. But they came around after he complained. Chalk it up to miscommunication.

No such communication problems these days at M&T, a recent hound discovery that offers dishes from Qingdao in Shandong Province, north of Shanghai. The real-deal specialties, once listed only in Chinese, have now been translated into English, scoopG reports. Some recent hits: pork belly stewed in kelp; fried prawns with dried chile and Sichuan peppercorn; sea worms (a critter something like sea cucumber) stir-fried with Chinese chives; salt-and-pepper Bombay duck (dried lizardfish), rehydrated, battered, fried, and served with basil; and, for dessert, fried pumpkin fritters, crisp, light, and not too sweet. Polecat sums it up: This is “simple food with some subtle and unique flavors. Highly recommended.”

Temple Snacks [Flushing]
In the Flushing Mall food court
133-31 39th Avenue (between College Point Boulevard and Prince Street), Flushing, Queens
347-515-4558

Xian Famous Foods [Flushing]
In the Flushing Mall food court
133-31 39th Avenue (between College Point Boulevard and Prince Street), Flushing, Queens
No phone available

Golden Szechuan [Flushing]
133-47 Roosevelt Avenue (between Prince Street and College Point Boulevard), Flushing, Queens
718-762-2664

M&T Restaurant [Flushing]
44-09 Kissena Boulevard (between Cherry and 45th avenues), Flushing, Queens
718-539-3398

Board Links: Flushing Mall Update
Golden Sichuan in Flushing
New in Flushing: M&T Restaurant–A Taste of Qingdao

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