A nice Chinese breakfast option(and more) just opened up, Mai Xiang Tan at 40-09B Prince streetin Flushing, Queens. Opened 8 am to 8 pm.
This is a Sichuan place that's a bit more sheltered than a shack, but still quite humble and simple. They offer soy milk, mung bean congee, plain congee. The real treasure is their bao selection and their various deep fried filled cakes. My vegetarian sister liked their veggie bao. I love their special "ya tsai" bao, which is not bean sprouts as the name may mislead, but some sort of preserved vegetable(?) with minced meat. Other bao choices includes daikon radish with meat, the "san sien" bao(Chicken, shrimp and pork), the sweet red bean bao, and a couple more I haven't tried.
As for the fried cakes, there are 5 or 6 kinds, including corn meal(w/sweet rice?), pumkin, red beans, yams, and maybe taro. I can't recall. The baos and the fried cakes were all 3 for $1, which will make tasting and testing rather easy on the wallet.
Then they have these aromatic beef jerkies: the spicy beef sticks, the slices(more like chips), and sweet & sour ribs. All are in dark sauces. These are appetizer type dishes, or the stuff you'd take home as beer snacks(they also have those tiny peanuts for that matter). These beef jerkies will be liked by those who think that the asian beef jerky are too sweet. The sticks are chewy, the slices are thin and crisp, highly addictive. All those who have been searching for the "dry flat" beef can stop looking now.
Though breakfast seems to be served all day, they also have about 12 dishes to chose from for the $3.50 lunch special (soon to go up to $3.99) of 4 choices plus house soup. It seems that they didn't leave the vegetarians in the dust as most places do: they have at least 4 vegetarian dishes in the selection. Today I chose a mystery julienned vegetable that turned out to be very crunchy and tasty, (still not sure what it was, but will definitely get it again)baby eggplants in black bean sauce thankfully not too oily nor too salty, some pork belly with preserved vegetable(also well seasoned), and ma-puo tofu. The house soup was milky looking, with the flavor but not the bitterness of the bitter melon. All were way above most places like this, or even many full blown restaurants. Probably because it's a small place with the home cooking element still in tact.
There isn't much English on the menu yet, but the girl at the counter is nice and friendly. Also you can see most everything at the counter, which makes pointing easy. There's an older lady who seems to be in charge of the bao and the bing(fried cakes), and a tall middle aged man in charge of the lunch dishes. This is a place for those of us who prefer Sichuan fares NOT to be all drenched in hot oil all the time......
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