When you get off the 7 train in Flushing, you might feel as if you’ve stepped onto another continent entirely. This Queens neighborhood is New York’s largest Chinatown—in fact, it’s home to one of the largest Chinese populations in the U.S. There are mall food courts lined with hawker stalls, awnings emblazoned with Chinese characters and eateries dishing out specialties hailing from regions across China. The bottom line: You should be eating Chinese food in Flushing. Here are eight places to sample the best flavors. best flavors.
8 Places You Need to Eat in Flushing Chinatown
This unassuming hole-in-the-wall, with about eight seats total, is known for one thing: spicywontons (order number 6). The thin, delicate wrappers are filled with pork and generously drizzled with chili oil and pickled vegetables. Incredibly flavorful yet light and airy, they make it easy to finish a dozen all on your own.
135-02 Roosevelt Ave., Queens
Joe’s Steam Rice Roll
To make this Hong Kong–style street food, rice is ground in a stone mill until it turns into a liquid that resembles pancake batter. The batter is steamed into what’s basically a giant, chewy rice noodle and then loaded with meat and vegetables. Our go-to order is filled with shrimp, scallions and bean sprouts, and garnished with a trio of creamy peanut sauce, tangy black vinegar and spicy chili oil. Order it topped with fried curry fish balls.
136-21 Roosevelt Ave., Queens
Tianjin Dumpling House
Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall is full of unexpected treasures, like the addictive potstickers at Tianjin Dumpling House. You can order these plump, juicy dumplings—either pan-fried or steamed—with dozens of unique fillings from sea bass to pumpkin, but the crowds line up for the thick-skinned, steamed version stuffed with lamb with green squash. (Pro tip: Grab a frozen bag to take home.)
41-28 Main St., Queens
Right outside the Flushing subway stop hangs a red awning with yellow Chinese writing. Walk past the dozens of Peking ducks hanging in the window and make your way through the congested entryway. Inside are a handful of deli-style counters and display cases filled with everything from boneless spare ribs to garlicky bok choy. The star of the show, though, are the $1 steamed buns filled with crispy Peking duck, sliced cucumber and hoisin sauce.
135-24 40th Rd., Queens
New World Mall Food Court
Welcome to the New World Mall, and no, you’re not here to shop. You’ve come for the food court, where you can find regional dishes from all over Asia. Among the various stalls, which are labeled by number, you’ll find Japanese fried octopus balls, Malaysian curried chicken, doughy Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles and Taiwanese shaved ice. Even if you only have room for one or two dishes, it’s worth a trip just to experience this lively and eclectic eatery.
136-20 Roosevelt Ave., Queens
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Shanghai-style soup dumplings known as xiao long bao. At Nan Xiang, the paper-thin wrappers somehow manage to envelop the sizzling broth, pork and crabmeat filling without bursting. Make sure to pair these juicy dumplings with pickled ginger and tangy black vinegar, plus an order of the beef scallion pancakes.
38-12 Prince St., Queens; nan-xiang.com
Chengdu Tian Fu (chengdu Heaven)
Head into Golden Shopping Mall and walk downstairs to the basement. Eventually you’ll be able to make out the words Chengdu Tian Fu on a tiny hawker stand. This is home to the best Sichuan food in Flushing. Here you’ll find all the spicy classics typical of its namesake city, Chengdu, including tender ma po tofu, noodles drowning in garlic and chili oil, and diced chicken and peanuts topped with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns.
41-28 Main St., Queens
If you’re indecisive, you might have a hard time at Dumpling Galaxy, Tianjin’s sister restaurant. There are more than a hundred different kinds of dumplings, and that’s only part of the enormous menu. The perfectly chewy pockets of dough are stuffed with hard-to-resist combinations like duck and mushrooms, or shrimp, scallop and crabmeat. Make sure to order the pan-fried pork and chive dumplings, connected [[held together?]] by a single layer of fried dough, and accept the fact that you’re going to need to make a few follow-up visits.
42-35 Main St., Queens; dumplinggalaxynyc.com