Ming Chan Dong Korean Restaurant
36-24 Union st.
Flushing, NY 11354
718 358 3935
I was on Northern blvd at the Luh Yu Tea Emporium on a spontaneous visit. Then I was looking for the riceroll and donga place that one of the hounds had mentioned because I was with a vegetarian friend looking for the illusive Korean vegetarian food...Of course, I didn't have the address nor the name with me at the time, so wandering feet got tired after a while and the stomach started to growl and took over the search.
There were some giant buns in a glass case in the window, plus pictures of soon dubu, and the Chinese characters, 麻花, which is the deep fried twisted dough (NOT Youtiao, but more, in this case, like a Chinese pretzel in the shape of a giant twisted braid about a foot long). We sat down and ordered a 麻花 （pronouced ma2 hua1) to start. Granted we were hungry, but fried dough never tasted so good! It was slightly sweet, but just from the dough, not glaze. It was soft, with chewy texture.
Liking this dough, I asked about the buns. Vegetarian bun, pork bun, Kimchi bun, and red bean bun. KIMCHI BUNS???!! It wasn't vegetarian, but neither was I.
The bun was almost as big as my face. I took a bite and it was going fast after that. The vegetarian friend even asked to try because it smelled so good, and there were no visible signs of meat. The filling was all the way to within 1/8 inch of the dough all around. That's a lot of filling, and in this case, a very well-balanced filling so that it wasn't over-powering. It was spicy enough, but the dough held up well against it. It went down so easily and I immediately thought to myself, why haven't I had one of these before?! Am I supposed to keep it a secret? (The vegetarian bun was also quite robust and tasty, but not as stunning after I'd already tasted the Kimchi bun.)
The Kimchi soon dubu was more tart than most I've had elsewhere, which made it a lot more flavorful than places where the soup had lots of red, but tasted bland. This was a nicely flavored soup with plenty of tender tofu. Unfortunately I only had one spoonful which was all I could handle after the Ma Hua, and the bun, and...huh, the huge bowl of Zha jian Mian, which I'll have to be fair and try when I'm not already stuffed. FIrst impression was that I liked the soft crispy fried to black pieces of pork doused in black sauce, almost like pieces of very fluffy toast. Also that the noodles were not the hand-pulled, but almost udon in thickness. I was told their noodle chef wasn't in tonight when I asked about the 麻酱麵 (sesame noodles?), so I'll have to investigate further.
Our neighbor ordered Ma Po Tofu, (either that or the Ma La tofu) and it looked amazing with whole squares of tofu, instead of the usual mush of tofu) and chili pepper sauce and garnish all over. Definitely something I'll try next time.
I got a red bean bun and some tea eggs to go on my way out. The red bean fillings were again, filled to the very limit, and were of really azuki beans that tasted fresh and wholesome, neither too sweet, nor too heavy.
The menus have only Chinese and Korean on it. The waiter is Chinese who came from the border of China and Korea, and speaks both languages. This is a new type of restaurant that's got the best of both worlds to me. They are opened from 7 Am to midnight. A very unpretentious place that suits my "peasant" taste well. If ever anyone crave a Steamed Kimchi Bun late at night, this is the place!
Ming Chan Dong
36-24 Union St, Queens, NY 11354