Monday, March 21, 2011

Flushing Mall Food Court 03-13-2011

Location: 133-31 39th Ave. Flushing
Time: 2pm
People: 8 Ramen and Friends: BLee, JBH, MLev, Jaye & Hubbie, RB, CK and myself

Feelings: After hearing tragic news that the Flushing Mall will be closing in 2012, we had to meet at their renowned food court just one last time. Since it takes about two hours for us Brooklynites to get to the mall via public transit, I have a feeling this might be the last time. Not to be confused with Golden Shopping Mall, where Anthony Bourdain visited, Flushing Mall is located across the street from the amazing dim sum spot, Ocean Jewel, and SaSha's soup dumpling favorite, Nan Xiang is nearby. The mall itself exudes rather strange atmosphere, and the shops seem to carry many oddities.

When I hear the word "food court," I automatically picture teenagers, Cinnabon and Sbarros and other unhealthily crafted fast food, but this particular food court is quite the opposite of the stereotypes. "There's such a variety of quick, cheap, and tasty Chinese dishes all in one location. It was obvious that families go there, too--a good sign when grandmas area eating alongside you," said BLee. We were overwhelmed by the variety and aimlessly explored the area. All the menus included English, but it was still difficult to order and more difficult to pick it up when it was ready without speaking the language. Since substitution and requests are more of American culture, I would encourage to strictly stick to the menu items. RB's shrimp dumplings ($6 for a large plate of dumplings) ended up containing at least 50% pork, so if you're a selective eater like myself, I would recommend to stick with vegetable dishes.

My cold vegetable noodles were chewy and full of flavors, mostly garlic. JBH enjoyed her beef stew soup and red bean bun, and BLee's triple delight dumplings (pork, shrimp and chives, $6) were handmade in front of her and steamed to order. Don't forget to pick up JBH's favorite, Delimanjoo on your way out. This custard filled mini cakes are soft and creamy inside and quite addictive.

It will be sad to see this food court go. For many non locals, this was a safe introduction to the world of Flushing food. One of the counters, Xi'an is easily accessible in Manhattan's Chinatown, but this food court is no longer about just the food as BLee meticulously pointed out, "This place obviously serves the local community and brings them together in a larger seating area." I hope the new development, Flushing Commons, will have the same sense of community and maintain the unique flavors, both food and cultures, of ever growing Flushing.

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