Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Flushing Afternoon


Every time I make plans to visit Flushing lately, something unexpected decides to pop up in my schedule like an unexpected visitor. I constantly hear about their restaurants and see endless shopping bags from bakeries on my daily commute to work, constantly enticing me to turn around and go the opposite direction. Therefore, I finally made the opportunity to visit the neighborhood recently to experience the food some New Yorkers say more authentic than Chinatown. I cannot agree with them more, for I literally felt in another country just as I got off of the Main Street subway station.

Dim sum or “touch the heart” refers to a style of Chinese cuisine that one normally enjoys before noon unless he or she is at a specialty dim sum restaurant, where they serve throughout the entire day. It includes a wide variety of light dishes mostly served in baskets or plates accompanied with tea on carts. Dim sum is an ideal meal for families, holidays, special occasions, or even just a normal weekly event. I kept on hearing and reading rave recommendations to visit the infamous Gala Manor for Dim Sum. Almost everything around you is only in Chinese in a slightly over produced, Disney World fashion but as long as you do as the Romans do, you have no problem finding where the food is.

Experiencing dim sum in Flushing was one of the few instances where I have had where I felt like I was literally a genuine minority but not an unwanted visitor. Efficient and kind service immediately offers me tea and generous amounts of steamed dumplings. Unlike an all you can eat food buffet, where one has to go to the buffet, the buffet comes to the guest. The restaurant is a definitive example of showcasing their cuisine. My personal favorites are the steamed shrimp dumplings, pork buns, and crab rangoons. As filling as the food seemed once leaving the restaurant, my stomach started talking to me again after taking a long walk around the neighborhood.

My other goal for the afternoon was to find these bakeries where my neighbors purchase some of the most interesting pastries, breads, and sweets I have yet to try for myself. I eventually discovered all of them from walking so much and anonymously picked Taipan Bakery. I became pleasantly overwhelmed by the scene alone. Buzzing with customers, a wide variety of delicacies and everlasting efficient service leave you happily “satt” as I normally say when I am completely satisfied.

After changing my mind about a hundred times from mousse to cake to tart to rolls, I finally decided on strawberry cake. I expected this little confection to be a filling cream cake, but it ended up tasting remarkably different. Light, buttery, and creamy, topped with a small dollop of vanilla icing and strawberry jam, I left the bakery pleasantly deceived.

After only sampling a taste of what Flushing has to offer to both New York, I left determined to make this 15 minute venture a normal part of my regular routine. I did not even get to experience the so-called small corner shops and the produce markets. In any case, Flushing remains to be another neighborhood that whisks you to an opposite end of the globe without having to pay to travel there.

Gala Manor
3702 Main St
Flushing, NY 11354
718.888.9232

Taipan Bakery
3725 Main St
Flushing, NY 11354
718,888.1111
www.taipan-bakery.com

No comments: