For New York's food-court explorers, the next frontier is New World Mall in Flushing. This multilevel shopping center opened just a month ago, but the intrepid Joe MacBu has already planted his flag and brought back a brick-by-brick illustrated guide.
Dim sum and seafood palace Grand Restaurant occupies the top floor, and an Asian supermarket, J Mart, anchors the mall's street level. But more unusual discoveries await in the basement food court, which will eventually house some 30 vendors. An early crowd favorite is Live Seafood, which tosses freshly killed lobster or crab into a wok and fries it up with the flavoring of your choice: "Sichuan," "Hong Kong," XO, basil, or ginger-scallion. Joe devoured the Sichuan version, which came simply seasoned with whole chiles. Chong Qing Hot Pot, a Sichuan stall, serves tasty dumplings in hot oil, kdgchow reports: pork-and-chive filling in thickish skins, swimming in chile oil with a slight sour note. M S Han Song Ting will be a familiar sight to hounds who remember its previous digs; it makes spicy noodle soups and other dishes straddling the cuisines of China and Korea. The Chinese-Korean connection is also explored at Yanbian, which serves food from Jilin in northeastern China.
Other vendors offer an edible tour of the Middle Kingdom, from the northwest to Henan to Wenzhou to Fuzhou to Taiwan, as well as Vietnamese food, Japanese, and assorted sweets and snacks. In typical Flushing food-court fashion, many of the menus are only in Chinese (bilingual hounds are welcome to help out with translations). But unlike the competition, the new place hawks hamburgers—and surprisingly good ones, says Joe, served with terrific sweet potato fries. With the nearby Flushing Mall and its famous food court about to close, New World Mall comes along at a good time. "Hopefully in the next few years," says AubWah, "some of the best eating in Flushing materializes here."
New World Mall [Flushing]
40-21 Main Street (at Roosevelt Avenue), Flushing, Queens
No phone available