Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finding Beijing in Flushing

"Everything tastes different in Flushing, Queens, the best neighborhood in New York for tasting the true and dazzling flavors of China. The dumplings are juicier here, the noodles springier..." -Julia Moskin, "Let the Meals Begin: Finding Beijing in Flushing." (07.30.08)
With the Beijing Olympics only days away (08/08/08 at 8:08 pm), the NY Times ran this excellent article on the extremely rich and diverse Chinese food scene here in Flushing .

I particularly love the interactive (2nd image down the page). It show's you a picture of dishes from specific restaurants as you mouse over different places on the map. There's even an audio pronunciation guide and when you click on a eatery you get even more photos. It's the perfect tool for food lovers in their exploration through the oftentimes intimidating labyrinth of Chinese restaurants here.

The printable version of the interactive map is quite nice because, in addition to the neighborhood map, it puts all the restaurants and their info, along with corresponding pictures of dishes, on one handydandy little sheet that you can carry around with you. The pictures are crucial when you need to convey what scrumptious little concoction you'd like but quite possibly would otherwise be hindered by linguistic barriers.

There's also some interesting stuff in the comments following the article. A few people point out that the sweet beans over shaved ice isn't Chinese. I don't know, but I've enjoyed it on many an occasion in the Philippines (called "halo halo") and in Korea (where it's called "bat bin su"), with slight differences between the two. One commenter mentions a commuter van from Chinatown to Flushing... I didn't even realize there were vans connecting the two spots. So the next day, I went and checked it out for myself. Sure enough, for $2.50, a speedy 25 seater shuttled me and 24 other commuters from Division St. to right in front of the Flushing Library in approximately 30 minutes.

The article comes right on the heels of another Times article about Flushing; this one about the incredible diversity of places of worship in the Flushing area. Some of these houses of worship are truly incredible. Another interesting article about Flushing's incredible religious diversity can be found here.

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