Queens Chronicle Celebration 2017

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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 2

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Published every week by


MARK WEIDLER President & Publisher SUSAN & STANLEY MERZON Founders Raymond G. Sito General Manager Peter C. Mastrosimone Editor-in-Chief Michael Gannon Editor Christopher Barca Associate Editor Anthony O’Reilly Associate Editor Ryan Brady Associate Editor Terry Nusspickel Editorial Production Manager Jan Schulman Art Director Moeen Din Associate Art Director Gregg Cohen Production Assistant Joseph Berni Art Department Associate Richard Weyhausen Proofreader Lisa LiCausi Office Manager Stela Barbu Administration Senior Account Executives: Jim Berkoff, Beverly Espinoza

Account Executives: Patricia Gatt, Debrah Gordon, Al Rowe

Contributors: Lloyd Carroll, Mark Lord, Ronald Marzlock

Photographers: Steve Fisher, Walter Karling, Rick Maiman, Steve Malecki

Office: 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd. Rego Park, NY 11374-7769 Phone: (718) 205-8000 Fax: (718) 205-0150 Mail: P.O. Box 74-7769 Rego Park, NY 11374-7769 E-mail: Mailbox@qchron.com Website: www.qchron.com


Endless Entrees CONTENTS • • • • • • • • •

All the world’s cuisines .......................2 Italian ....................................................4 Irish .......................................................6 Polish .....................................................8 Kosher ...................................................9 Greek ...................................................10 Hungarian ...........................................11 Turkish ................................................12 Indian ..................................................13

• • • • • • • • •

Bangladeshi ........................................ 14 Thai......................................................15 Chinese ...............................................16 Korean .................................................18 Mexican...............................................20 Peruvian/South American ................21 Guyanese/West Indian ......................22 Jamaican .............................................23 American ............................................24

Supplement editor: Peter C. Mastrosimone; Supplement designer and cover illustrator: Jan Schulman; Editorial layout: Terry Nusspickel On this page: At top, northeastern Chinese dishes at Fu Run / photo by Ryan Brady; and Thai delights at Nine Thai / photo by Victoria Zunitch.

On the cover: At top, Mediterranean sea bass at Black Sea / photo by Neglah Sharma; chef San Lung at Nine Thai / photo by Victoria Zunitch; and Greek fried pita chips at Maria’s Mediterranean / photo by Christopher Barca. Below, shepherd salad at Black Sea / photo by Neglah Sharma; Tu Casa manager and chef Noel Alba / photo by Mark Lord; and intricadas at Chela & Garnacha / photo by Victoria Zunitch.


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ALL THE WORLD’S CUISINES They say you can travel the world without ever leaving Queens, and nowhere is that more true than in the realm of food. Whether you’re a connoisseur who’s had it all, or someone of limited tastes looking to expand your horizons, you can probably find just the delicious dishes you’re longing for here, in our 20th annual Celebration of Queens special edition: Endless Entrees. Each article highlights one eatery in the borough serving up a particular ethnic food while also talking about other places offering the same. But it doesn’t stop there: You’ll also learn where in Queens you might go for the ingredients to make your own and even a bit of the history and culture behind each covered cuisine. We start in Europe, with the Italian food that has been one of the most iconic New York cuisines for decades, brought to you in this case by Silvana Chiappelloni of Alberto restaurant in Forest Hills. Then it’s over to Ireland, via Woodbines LIC, where, as on the Emerald Isle itself, the old meat and potatoes cliché is being enriched by new additions such

as curry. Next is a visit to Poland, in the form of Krolewskie Jadlo in Ridgewood, where kielbasa is king and mashed potatoes, peas and carrots round out the royal court. Also in the European section are Greek and Hungarian cooking. Kosher food gets its own piece, independent of any specific nationality, just as the Jewish people who eat it out of religiosity, custom or both so often have found themselves throughout history. Turkish food, often kosher itself, serves as the bridge into Asia, with the historical reach of the Ottoman Empire bringing influences of many other cultures into the cuisine’s repertoire. Then it’s on to India, where the melange of spices plays a bigger role than it often does in American cooking, followed by Bangladesh and Thailand. Next our journey takes us north into China for food that’s not at all what you’d expect if you’re used to ordering lo mein or General Tso’s chicken, and Korea, where communal dining rituals combine with distinctive flavors and, sometimes, whimsical restaurant names for a unique experience.

Crossing the Pacific to the Americas, we land in Mexico, for authentic south-of-the-border dishes that range from, yes, tacos to at least one meal that appears unique to the family behind a particular Queens restaurant. Peru, believed to be the birthplace of the potato, represents not just South America but some Asian inf luences. Guyana’s cuisine was fusion-oriented from the star t as different peoples arrived there — many unwillingly. Similar dynamics shaped the foods of Jamaica. Then finally we arrive home to feature American cuisine — everything from classic diner fare to barbecue and soul food. While a common thread among many of the ethnic foods covered here is that they derived from what was available centuries ago to those who were not wealthy, in the United States they all come together. The melting pot of this country, and this borough, is on constant simmer when it comes to culinary delights, every ingredient both blending together and retaining its singular contribution to the whole. Hence the Endless Entrees you’ll find in these pages. Bon appétit!

Peter C. Mastrosimone


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Blissful bites from the Boot all across Queens by Christopher Barca

By the time she was a young woman, Chiappelloni could make a wide array of dishes, Soothing, classical Italian music tickles but her older brother was way ahead of her. Roberto had already graduated from culithe inner ear, spaced by the occasional clink nary school and begun traveling the contiof a wine glass and a hearty laugh. The aroma of sauteed asparagus, stuffed nent, cooking in Switzerland and a number pasta and seared bronzino fills your nostrils of surrounding nations. After being convinced to do so by a relaand wakes your appetite. Dim rays of light illuminate the mahoga- tive living in New York, he eventually ny doors, stained-glass windows and the moved to Queens and in 1973, opened the large, concrete flower pots hanging in the original Alberto in a small, Yellowstone Boulevard storefront. middle of the burgundy brick walls. While the eatery quickly gained notoriety, No, this isn’t a sidewalk cafe in the heart of downtown Rome or the shores of Paler- even earning a glowing review from The New York Times, Silmo, Sicily. v a n a C h i a p p el lo n i This is Alberto Resfound herself in Genetaurant at 98-31 Metva, Switzerland, workropolitan Ave. in Foring for a wealthy famiest Hills, the pride and ly who owned their joy of Italian immiown upscale Italian grants — and siblings ENDLESS ENTRÉES restaurant. — Roberto and SilvaIt was there where na Chiappelloni. s h e d i s c ove r e d a n “I am passionate interest in such venues about food. I am pasand before long, she sionate about wine,” was on her way to Silvana Chiappelloni Queens to help her told the Chronicle last brother run Alberto. Thursday. “If you’re Over the decades, the going to take $150 out restaurant has become of someone’s pocket, it better be the best brunello. It better be the as equally known for its wide selection of authentic Italian wines in addition to its food. best amarone.” One of the more popular vinos sold at Growing up poor in a small, mountainous village in her native Italy, Chiappelloni was Alberto is vermentino, a light, sweet white just a little girl when her mother began wine featuring hints of fruitiness without the teaching her how to make the best plates bitter aftertaste. Made from grapes grown on the Italian possible with just the few ingrediants they island of Sardinia — the Mediterranean could afford. Minestrone soup — a simple, yet hearty Sea’s second-largest island after Sicily — the mixture of common garden vegetables, rice lightness of the wine derives from the isle’s or pasta and meat-based broth — was the warm temperatures and oceanic climate. A glass of the drink pairs well with most prime example of that. And like many Italian daughters, she’s spent her life trying to per- of the menu items, but it’s especially exquisite when sipped in between bites of earthyfect her mother’s famous dish. “Even today, it’s one of the soups we sell tasting sauteed asparagus, as well as a bowl the most,” she said. “Poverty is the mother of of succulent shrimp served on a bed of angel hair pasta — covered with a helping of tomaingenuity.” to sauce, of course. As Chiappelloni walked the room, she sho ok h a nd s a nd exchanged pleasantries with the restaurant’s guests. W hen one ma n said he found the eatery through an internet search, adding it was one of the best a u t h e n t i c It a l i a n meals he’s had in the neighborhood, she let out a “Hallelujah!,” accompanied with a laugh. “ T h a t ’s w h a t keeps me going,” she told the Chronicle, “mak ing people A glass of light, sweet vermentino white wine goes great with the smile.” While the diets of shrimp and pasta at Alberto in Forest Hills.

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Robert Vintimilla, the manager of Mr. Vino’s Cucina in Forest Hills, stands beneath some of his PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER BARCA market’s many racks of authentic Italian meats. those living along Italy’s 4,700 miles of shoreline consists mainly of seafood — thanks to the sea’s plentiful fish and shrimp populations — the many farmers living away from the nation’s shores are responsible for the countless Italian meats and cheeses enjoyed all over the world. While only 7 percent of Forest Hills’ population is of Italian descent, according to NeighborhoodScout.com, the area boasts one of the best Italian markets in Queens in Mr. Vino’s Cucina — the Italian word for kitchen — located at 71-03 Austin St. The store’s greg a r iou s m a n a ge r, Rober t Vintimilla, was born and raised in Ecuador before relocating to New York as an adult, but he speaks proudly of his Italian heritage. His grandparents fled their home near the cit y of Genoa during World War I I , hop pi ng on a N e w Yo r k- b o u n d boat in search of a new start in a nation not beseiged by dictatorship, fascism and war. But their ship was diverted to Panama, with the couple eventually moving to Ecuador by way of Colombia. Fast forward 70 years, and Vintimilla is now serving the same food his beloved grandparents grew up eating. Hanging from the ceiling of the market are huge portions of cured meats like guanciale, soppressata and prosciutto. In the coolers below are tubs of freshly prepared artichoke salad, a popular side dish in Italy, and dozens of cheese blocks. “We focus on Italian meat products like prosciutto, culatello, salami and dry sausag-

es,” Vintimilla said. “We have all of that.” On the shelves across from the meats are bottles of authentic Sicilian olive oil, jars of pesto, containers of marscapone cheese, gnocchi and even a few cartons of chocolate bars, some from Italy and some from other European nations. And alongside the market’s selection of craft beer are three shelves worth of Italian sparking juices in a variety of flavors. While Howard Beach can be considered the de facto Italian-American hub of the borough, the home of popular eateries like P r i m a Pa s t a a n d New Park Pizza on Crossbay Boulevard is now hav i ng to share the spotlight with other Queens neighborhoods. A significant population of Italians resides in Middle Vi l lage, m a ny of t he m f r e que nt i ng restaurants like Villa Erasmo on Juniper Boulevard South or Barosa on Woodhaven Boulevard. Eve n Coron a , arguably the most overwhelmingly Hispanic neighborhood in the borough, is home to some Italian gems like Park Side or Il Triangolo, both of which are located on Corona Avenue. And in terms of pizza — the modern version of which was invented in Naples about 300 years ago — well, it’s hard to go more than a few blocks anywhere in Queens without stumbling across an awesome slice. But you don’t need us to tell you where the best pies are, do you? Just walk down your street for a bit and you’ll undoubtedly find a slice that keeps Q you coming back for more.

“If you’re going to take

$150 out of someone’s pocket, it better be the best brunello.”


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Not just meat and potatoes any more by Anthony O’Reilly On June 14, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar — whose father was born in India — formally took his seat as the first person of color elected to public office in Ireland. Why bring that up in a food article? It might explain why Shannon Whalen, general manager at Woodbines LIC, brought out a plate of curry when asked to display her restaurant’s best Irish food.



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Like most of the Western world, the Emerald Isle is seeing new demographics rise up and make their presence known. The Irish government estimates that, as of the 2011 census, a little more than 90,000 of its residents were Indian-born. “It’s becoming a much more diverse place and it’s fascinating to watch,” said Whalen, who has Irish ancestors. Like anywhere else, this means the food of the country is changing as well. “It’s no longer just meat and potatoes,” Whalen said.

The curry at Woodbines, located at 47-10 Vernon Blvd., and other Irish restaurants is of course nothing like the one you might read about in our story on Indian food. Irish and British curry sauces are often much sweeter and thicker. They also don’t carry nearly as much spice as the Indian-style of curry. In India, basmati or some other variation of rice is often served alongside the curry. Woodbines’ take on it is to use the traditional rice, but also serve it with an Irish classic favorite — ch ips, or as they’re known on this side of the pond, french fries. “It’s almost like an Irish poutine of sorts,” Whalen said. But before Ireland was introduced to the curry and other dishes from outside their borders, they simply survived on what they had — and no, we’re not talking potatoes just yet, but we’ll get there. For thousands of years, the farmers of Ireland lived off the land. For breakfast, porridge was a favorite and was enjoyed by the rich and the poor — because grains were easy to obtain and kept people fuller for longer. Produce and livestock were either used directly by the farmers or sold to others at markets. The meat sometimes included birds or wild animals, even hedgehogs at times. According to DoChara, an Irish travel guide, the Irish weren’t introduced to their most famous

The chicken curry and Woodbines burger are just two examples of taking Irish ingredients and putting a twist on them.

The Butcher’s Block is the place to go to stock up on authentic Irish ingredients for a home-cooked, or premade PHOTOS BY ANTHONY O’REILLY meal. It’s also a good place to get some treats such as chocolates or candies. crop, the potato, until the 17th century. It was brought to the Emerald Isle by explorers returning from South America. DoChara states Ireland’s climate was perfect for growing potatoes. The new food became a staple of the Irish diet and, according to the guide, contributed to a growth in the population from 1 million people just before 1600 to 8 million in 1840. Of course, the potato famine — caused by a fungal infection of the crops — led to the death of more than 1 million people in the 19th century and forced the emigration of millions more, mostly the poor. Now, spuds are on just about every Irish menu you can find — fried to make chips, mashed and mixed with butter or used as a topping for shepherd’s pie. Whalen described Woodbines’ approach to Irish food as using traditional ingredients in new ways. Wild boar is served in a Bolognese sauce, Irish bacon and cheese is used for burgers and sausage is wrapped up in puff pastry for sausage rolls, served with a curry sauce. “We like to think of ourselves as traditional Irish with a twist,” Whelan said. If you’re near the eatery for brunch, perhaps you could try an age-old classic: the Irish Breakfast, which comes with eggs, Irish bacon, black and white pudding,

sausage, sauteed mush rooms, grilled tomato, baked beans, toast and home fries. Not in Long Island City? No problem. Here are just a few restaurants offering traditional and modern

“It’s becoming a much more diverse place and it’s fascinating to watch.” – SHANNON WHELAN takes on Irish food: • O’Neill’s, located at 64-21 53 Drive in the heavily Irish-American neighborhood of Maspeth; • Donovan’s Pub, which has been serving up Irish favorites along with their famous burgers at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside for more than 50 years; • Donovan’s Grill & Tavern, a sister restaurant of the Woodside pub located at 214-16 41 Ave. in Bayside. This place offers a more formal sit-down setting; • Banter Irish Bar and Kitchen, which offers outdoor seating during the warmer months at 108-22

Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills; and • Connolly’s Cor ner, which offers other nations’ cuisines in addition to Irish at 71-17 Grand Ave. in Maspeth. If you wanted to go ahead and buy some produce and meat from your favorite grocery store or butcher to make some Irish food yourself, that would be OK and you would have a good meal. But if you wanted an excellent meal and an authentic Irish feast, there is only one place to go — the Butcher’s Block, located at 43-46 41 St. in Woodside. “That’s where we go to get all of our meats and other food,” Whalen said. The aisles of the Butcher’s Block are stocked with Irish breads, sodas, premade sauces and gravies, chocolates, candies and more. Go to the butcher’s counter, and you’ll find hams, lamb, beef and more — all with experienced butchers who can help you learn how to cook your cut of meat. Right next to the meats are rows and rows of premade lunches and dinners, ranging from fish and chips to lasagna. The Butcher’s Block has been serving Queens’ Irish population for years but moved to where it is now, due to a blessing in disguise. It s old Q ue e n s Bou leva rd storef ront was destroyed in a 2003 fire. When it moved months later, it Q more than doubled its space.

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History helped shape Poland’s hearty cuisine by Christopher Barca

grease to cut through a properly prepared piece. Nevertheless, it is a popular dish served Life in Poland, one of the largest and most everywhere from the regular family dinner storied European nations, has rarely been easy table to weddings, just as it is at Krolewskie Jadlo, the quaint Polish restaurant at 66-21 throughout the centuries. The landscape, ranging from the majestic Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood. The eatery pays tribute to Poland’s grit and Tatra Mountains in the country’s south to the prestine Baltic Sea coast in the north, with its lengthy military history in its decor, as the exteriors’ stone siding and brown, wooden miles of farms in between, is stunning. w i ndows g ive of f t he But domestic political appearance of a medieval upheaval and numerous forfortress. eign takeovers, not to menInside, the dim lighting, tion some of the most brutal tan walls and dark brown winters in Europe, have ENDLESS ENTRÉES furniture, combined with the forced the populace to adapt pair of swords and a photo of over the course of many a soldier on the wall, perfectgenerations, giving Poles ly match the outside of the their trademark toughness eatery, transporting patrons and grit. back to the Eastern EuropeBut you don’t need a hisan homeland. tory textbook for evidence Many of the hungry cusof the culture’s strength. tomers conversed over their All you have to do is sit down at a table inside one of Queens’ Polish meals and ethnic draft beers in Polish during the Chronicle’s visit to the restaurant last week, restaurants. While every region of the country puts its with the server even offering her welcoming own special spin on it, kielbasa — the Polish greeting to the paper’s reporter in that tongue. Served alongside the thick piece of kielbasa word for sausage — is arguably the biggest sta— charred just enough to give each bite a ple of Poland’s cuisine, thanks to its versatility. Originally a meal for wealthy noblemen dur- savory crunch and preserve the meat’s chewy ing the Middle Ages, kielbasa is generally a texture — were mashed potatoes, peas and carsomewhat tough meat, requiring a little elbow rots, three other hallmarks of Polish cuisine

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Racks and racks of kielbasa, pork and other cuts of meat sit waiting to be purchased at Zabka PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER BARCA, Deli and Market, a popular Polish establishment in Ridgewood. eaten with nearly every meal. The potatoes were noticeably thicker and more filling than the fluffier kinds found in most American cooking, harking back to centuries past when such food born from the soil was all the Polish people could eat — thanks to strict past Catholic restrictions on consuming meat during certain times of the year. Unable to enjoy their famous sausage or even eggs and dairy products for days or even

weeks at a time, Poles tired of consuming the same three vegetables often turned to cabbage, or “kapusta” in their native tongue. Sauteed alongside parsley, celery, onions, dill and bay leaves with a touch of salt and pepper, kapusta is normally eaten as a side item. But today’s Poles often add pork and bacon to the mixture, playing against the almost mushy texture of the cabbage and making it continued on page 25


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Kosher delights can be found for all tastes by Michael Gannon

What happens when the proprietor of a famous kosher restaurant marries a pharmacist? Chicken soup with a smile.

Queens Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard and Union Turnpike corridors. Even Aldi, the no-frills discount grocery chain, has shelves from the floor up with kosher cookies, crackers, candy and snacks right inside the door of its Rego Park store But whether customers are looking for takeout, catering or seats at a table in the dining room, Parker says people can get from his cooks and staff some things you just can’t get in another store. “At the holidays I have friends who make ever y thing else and call us for a large brisket,” he said. The secret to success is hard work and authentic food. ENTRÉES “If you go to a good Ch i nese rest au ra nt, you want to know that your food isn’t coming out of a can marked ‘LaChoy,’” he said. “We still roast our own turkeys. We cure our pastrami and corned beef the same way my family has been doing it for 100 years.” Catering to a largely Jewish clientele must occasionally require factoring in geographic heritage. Hanukkah, for example, includes fried latkes for those born in or descended from areas where potatoes are a staple. “But for others, we have small jelly doughnuts,” he said. A nd one group from Eastern Europe forgoes any food with seeds du r ing some holiday observations. “Nothing with seeds ; no r ice; no pickles,” he said. Parker said his cli‘One of everything to go!’ is probably a very common thought at the entele includes those keeping strict reliBen’s Best deli and take out counter.


Jay Parker, owner of Ben’s Best Restaurant on Rego Park, shows off the brisket that has had customers coming back to his family’s restaurant on Queens Boulevard for 72 years while magic PHOTOS BY MICHAEL GANNON transpires behind him at the deli counter. gious observation and those who consider themselves more “culturally Jewish.” And those ranging from Irish Catholics to Koreans who just enjoy fine dining. “A few years ago, I was doing a promotion with some Korean publications,” Parker said. “I came in and the dining room was full of Korean people enjoying our brisket. But all that is cured, salted meat, which is very popular in their culture. “Ever yone likes good food, and good food is good food no mat ter where it comes from.” The same, he believes, goes for overall and individual customer service, p a r t ic u l a rly i n a family restaurant. Pa rker told the story of a little boy whom he g reeted from the counter by asking his name. “G eorge Wa shington!” the boy declared. The boy’s family remained regulars for years. Then one day a customer put Parker on the phone with a friend who needed a catering order filled. The new customer’s name was a familiar one. “Is this George Washington? ” Parker asked. “You remember that?!?” the man asked. While Ben’s Best is an icon, there is no shortage of other kosher establishments in the borough, including but not limited to:

• Aaron’s Kosher Gourmet Emporium and Prime Meats at 63-06 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park; • Cafe Muscat, 178-07 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows • Cheburechnaya at 92-09 63 Drive in Rego Park; • Stix Kosher Restaurant, 101-15 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills; • Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen, Restaurant and Caterers, 211-37 2 6 Av e . , Bayside; • Turnpike Cafe, 187-20 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows; • Or Yehuda Restaurant, 138-44 86 Ave., Briarwood; • Buddy’s Kosher Deli, 215-01 73 Ave., Oakland Gardens; • G r i l l Poi nt , 6 9 -5 4 M a i n S t . , Flushing; • K n i s h No s h , 9 8 -10 4 Q u e e n s Blvd., Rego Park; • Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, 35-09 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; • Bagels & Co. 188-02 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows; and • Benny’s Kosher Pizza, 181-30 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows. So whether it’s a holiday or a just a day ending with the letter ‘Y,’ whether you want a bagel or a full-course meal, the only problem will be choosing a restaurant and a menu selection. Q L’chaim!

“We cure our pastrami

and corned beef the same way my family has been doing it for 100 years.”


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Jay Parker, the owner of Ben’s Best in Rego Park, smiles when he reflects on the food and history that has brought even Hollywood to the restaurant his family has run on Queens Boulevard for 72 years. “We were featured in “The Comedian” with [Robert] de Niro and [Danny] DeVito earlier this year,” he said. Then there was the time Guy Fieri and the crew from the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” paid a visit to 96-40 Queens Blvd., in Rego Park. “He had the kreplach; and I made stuffed cabbage — that was the first thing my grandmother taught me to make,” Parker said. Okay, so no eatery goes as far back as kosher dietary regulations. But Parker’s business has far more than reputation bringing generations of diners through the door. “We’re under rabbinical direction —but we’re also a restaurant,” he said. Fried chicken, chili, even the occasional chicken marsala are available on the menu along with more traditional fare of brisket, chopped liver, beef tongue and knishes. Then there the corned beef sandwiches that are a meal in themselves, even without side orders; anyone having tried the soups has no difficulty believing Parker when he says — with a large, proud smile — they have won awards. Both, as Fieri might say, are out of bounds. Kosher food and groceries are readily available in Queens, ENDLESS especially arou nd Rego Pa rk , For e st Hills and other areas w it h la rge Jew ish, Russian and Middle Eastern populations. A Key Food supermarket on 63rd Drive a r ou nd t he c or ne r from Ben’s Best is just one location with well-stocked shelves of kosher food. Around the holidays some markets can have whole aisles. Small specialty delis and food stores are scattered liberally along places such as the

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No frills, just freshness in Greek cuisine by Christopher Barca The concept of one-stop shopping for any ingredient imaginable at the neighborhood supermarket was a foreign one to Maria Petridis growing up. A farmer’s daughter raised in the majestic, rolling hillsides of northern Greece, Petridis learned at an early age that the very nature on and around her parents’ sprawling property was her supermarket. Quite simply, the family ate what they raised or found in the wild, whether it be fruits, vegetables, fish or livestock. “There was nothing else. There was no other way. You have no choice but to learn to cook,” the head chef and owner of Maria’s Mediterranean restaurant in Bayside told the Chronicle last week. “I got to learn what was fresh and I learned to recognize what was good food. “I was around 8 when my parents said, ‘You know how to cook? Now cook for us,’” she added. “As soon as you are in elementary school, you know how to cook for yourself and your family.” Eating whatever grew naturally around her isn’t a story singular to Petridis. It’s the story of many Greek upbringings, no matter where in the nation one was raised. Despite being a relatively small country — roughly the size of Alabama — Greece has 8,500 miles of coastline, the 11th-most in the world. Many child ren growing up along the Mediterranean Sea are raised much like Petridis was, except it was fish, oysters and octoENDLESS pus that they would catch, cook and eat with their families. Much of Greece — about 80 percent of it — is actually mount ainous, with the northern half of the country being mainly far mland, and residents’ diets consisting mostly of fresh vegetables. But despite the differences in geography, Petridis said all Greek children regardless of where they live are taught the same lesson when it comes to food. Eat it the way it exists in nature. No extra sauces. No artificial flavoring. No nothing. “Simplicity in both the style of cooking and the f lavors,” she said. “People love Greek because it’s so fresh. Whatever you put in your mouth, you can distinguish all the flavors.” After spending the first 23 years of her life in Greece, honing her passion for cooking, Petridis moved to the United States, eventually opening the restaurant at 38-11 Bell Blvd. in Bayside with her husband in January 2011. Modeled to look and sound like her kitchen

Served on a simple, white dish, Petridis’ twist on the popular Greek dessert baklava won her $10,000 on a Food Network cooking show. at home — with bright, red and white walls, flowers, images of her old country on the wall and classic Greek music playing over the sound system — the restaurant also features a menu solely of dishes she’s cooked for her family over the years, both back in Europe and in Bayside. “It’s the only food I know how to cook. I don’t want to make anything else,” she said. “I want to serve dishes that give a smile to your family the same way they give smiles to mine.” One of those dishes, which she serves as an appetizer, is her wildy popular five-dip fried pita bread, one of the few fried items on her menu. A common plate in Greece, the f latbread made from wheat flour actually originated in the Middle East, arrivENTRÉES ing centuries ago when Arab armies attempted to conquer the southern European nation. The dish eventually became engrained in G reek cu isi ne a nd , ultimately, at Petridis’ restaurant. The five dips served alongside the warm, soft chips include feta, hummus with red pepper, eggplant, tzatziki, and potato and garlic, each with its own array of flavors and temperatures that pair well with the bread. “Wherever you go in Greece, you’ll find this,” Petridis said. “This is Greece.” As the Chronicle was sampling the dish, one customer even approached Petridis, shook her hand and said it was one of the best plates of food he’s ever had. “That was tremendous,” he said. “That bread is so awesome.” Turning to the Chronicle, Petridis said those interactions make everything worth it for Greek chefs like herself. “That’s my favorite part of the job,” she said. “I want people to feel like they’re coming into my house.” Arguably the most popular dish on the menu is grilled octopus tentacles served on a bed of arugula, another common plate in

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Bayside chef Maria Petridis, born and raised in Greece, said what separates Greek cuisine from PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER BARCA others is the simplicity in which its dishes are cooked. cities and towns throughout Greece. The restaurant puts out over 250 plates of the sea creature each week and understandably so, as the dish provides both a crunch — the tentacle’s suction cups — and a savory, melt-in-your-mouth bite — the scallop-like meat of the appendage. “It takes no energy to make,” Petridis said. “You just need to know how long to grill it, only a few minutes.” The most celebrated item on her dessert menu is a new one, a treat she concocted while competing on “Chopped,” the Food Network’s highest-rated show, late last year. Given grape leaves, wild blueberries, cherry gel candy and tahini ice cream in the show’s final round, Petridis made a twist on baklava, a pillar of Greek cuisine. The dessert was good enough to not only win the competition — and $10,000 — but also earn a place on her menu at the request of the show’s three judges. The layered pastry is both crunchy and sweet — thanks to its layers of baked d ou g h , c r u mble d nuts, ice cream, blueberries and honey — and a top seller. “It’s a really fun dish,” Petridis said. “A lot of people were asking for it to be put on the menu so I did.” Aside from her restaurant, Petridis said you can find good baklava, pita or octopus at almost any Greek eatery in Queens, most of which are concentrated in Astoria. Labeled just another one of the Mediterranean nation’s many islands by The New York Times, Astoria is home to about 20,000 people who have some degree of Greek heritage, many of whom arrived in

Queens during a period of political upheaval in their home country during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Leaving their fear of the nation’s far-right military dictatorship back in Europe, those immigrants brought with them to America their hallmark cuisine. While they’re not necessarily concentrated in one portion of the neighborhood, the area around the corner of Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Street features a number of popular, highly-rated Greek establishments. Seafood restaurant Taverna Kyclades, the interior of which is decorated with detailed paintings of the Greek coast, earned a coveted recommendation in 2013’s Michelin Guide of New York City eateries. Serving many of inland Greece’s most beloved meat- and vegetable-based dishes, in addition to maritime treats like grilled octopus, is Dionysus Restaurant one of the neighborhood’s top eateries as ranked by Yelp and other inter net sites. If eating home is more you r t h i ng, making your versions of the dishes found at Maria’s or elsewhere is still quite easy, as a plethora of Greek markets exist in Astoria. Arguably the most popular among them is the three-decades old Titan Foods location on 31st Street, which identifies itself as the largest Greek specialty food store in the United States. Most of the items on its shelves, ranging from cheese and olives to juices and beans, are imported straight from Greece. On nearby 35th Street, Mediterranean Foods features waving Greek f lags outside and all sorts of native chocolates and figs inside. Q

“Simplicity in both

the style of cooking and the flavors.”


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by Anthony O’Reilly

the Hungarians ruled over the Czechs — but carries many Hungarian classics, such as A food tour in Queens or a trip down the the goulash, Hungarian salami, grilled and Danube River, Europe’s second-longest, boiled kielbasa [Eastern European-style would not be complete without visiting the sausage], served with horse radish and musHungarians — whose cuisine is hard to tard. You could also pick at a few appetizers come by in the borough, though not while sipping a beer, including Hungarian salami served with bread or sauteed dumpimpossible. For much of Hungary’s history and to this lings — made with salt, eggs, f lour and w a t e r — s e r ve d w it h day, traditional dishes conscrambled eggs. sist mostly of farm animals I n the Midd le Ages, cooked with vegetables Hungarian cooking was grown by farmers. inspired by many of its The most well known ENDLESS ENTRÉES neighbors. example of this in Hungary “Hungarian cuisine was is goulash — ty pically influenced by Austrian cuiserved with beef, onions, sine under the Austro-Hunpeppers and, the national gar ian Empire as well; spice of the country, paprika. dishes and methods of food “Don’t compare the Hunpreparation have often been garian goulash to other borrowed from Austrian kinds of goulash you might cuisine, and vice versa,” the have eaten elsewhere, by the way — the original one is a rich and tourism agency states. “Elements of ancient spicy soup, best made out of the meat of the Turkish cuisine were adopted during the Hungarian Grey cattle,” the Hungarian Tour- Ottoman era, in the form of sweets, the cake ism Agency, a state-owned organization, called bejgli [a sweet roll often filled with poppy seeds], the eggplant, stuffed peppers states on its website. Just take a trip down to Koliba in Astoria, and stuffed cabbage.” But it was the Italians who introduced the located at 31-11 23 Ave., which identifies itself as a Czechoslovakian eatery — the two Magyars — or Hungarians in Hungarian — countries share similarities and for a while, to the two staple ingredients that are the


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Klobasa, cooked any way, is a favorite of any Hungarian or Eastern European looking for a tasty PHOTO BY ANTHONY O’REILLY appetizer. foundation of any dish worth its salt. King Matthias Corvinus, who ruled over Hungary and Croatia in the 15th century, married Beatrice of Naples, who brought with her onions and garlic, along with other spices, which were introduced to her new subjects’ cuisine. Although it might be a bit biased, the Hungarian Tourism Agency describes the country as “a melting pot of the continent, with its own original cuisine from the Magyar people.” If you want to experience pure, 100 per-



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cent Hungarian goods, Forest Hills is the place to go to, where you’ll find Andre’s Hungarian Bakery, located at 100-28 Queens Blvd. While it’s primarily a place to satisfy your sweet tooth — with no shortage of options, ranging from the aforementioned bejglis [pronounced bye-glee] to the Hungarian’s take on apple pie, called Almás [olmosh] pite — Andre’s does have some other savory options, though not nearly as much as its sister location in Manhattan. continued on page 25

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Chef Omar Pater of the Black Sea restaurant in Rego Park prepares shish kebabs alongside one PHOTOS BY NEGLAH SHARMA of the restaurant’s most well-known entrees, St. Peter’s fish.

by Neglah Sharma

“When the fish has skin on it, it’s kosher,” Cabuk said, emphasizing that pelagic dishes are Compared to other foreign cuisines, tradi- served with scales intact, to conform to the regtional Turkish food coextensively draws unique ulations of Jewish law, or kashruth. “So they don’t eat any shrimp or shellfish,” elements from Greek, Balkan, Central Asian, Byzantine and Levantine cultures — inevitably Cabuk said, “but they order whole fish.” Customer favorites include the red mullet, or sculpted by the country’s turbulent history. During its reign from 1299 to 1923, the “barbunya tava,” imported from the metropoliOttoman Empire at times ruled over present- tan city of Izmir along Turkey’s Aegean coast, day nations including Albania, Bosnia, along with St. Peter’s fish. The Mediterranean sea bass, also known as Egypt, Greece, Iraq and Ukraine, among a number of others, until the fall of its last sul- “branzino” in Italian or “akdeniz levregl” in Turkish, is the chef’s pièce tan, Mehmed VI. de résistance, due to its butFortunately, a pilgrimage tery and flaky white sweet to Istanbul or Anatolia won’t meat and sizeable be necessary to experience proportion. ENDLESS ENTRÉES the exotic textures and “I think branzino is very boundless f lavor of fresh popular, and every fish marTurkish delights. ket sells branzino.” For Black Sea restaurant But according to owner Yasin Cabuk, “simCabuk, it’s crucial to ask plicity” and “quality” ingreif it’s exotic wild-caught dients are the very pillars of branzino from Turkey or Turkish cookery, guideposts Greece, like at his restaufor how he operates the Rego Park eatery he opened up only a couple of rant, as opposed to it’s Floridian farmraised counterpart. years ago. “That doesn’t taste the same,” he said. “Turkey and Greece have the same products, While the fish at Black Sea are curated so sometimes we get it from Turkey or sometimes Greece,” he said, referring to the array of from high-quality sourcers, Queens markets including Braun’s Fish Store in Flushing and wild-caught fish offered at his restaurant. Keeping in mind neighborhood demograph- Astoria’s Ocean Fish Market are popular retail ics, Cabuk said people from the area’s Russian locations for those cooking at home. Char-grilled octopus salad is also a top conand Bukharian communities mainly frequent tender at Black Sea, perhaps due to its excepBlack Sea due to its kosher fish options. tional tenderness and light flavor of lemon juice, garlic and vinegar. Besides its selection of exotic maritime entrees, the restaurant prides itself on serving only the “freshest” produce, delivered multiple times a week. Typically, Black Sea patrons favor the shepherd salad, a delicious yet uncomplicated mix of fresh tomatoes, kirby and onions topped with black olives and parsley in a Mediterranean sea bass, also known as “bran- house seasoning of vinegar and imported zino” in Italian or “akdeniz levregl” in Turkish, Italian extra-virgin olive oil. continued on page 26 is a popular dish served whole.


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by Michael Gannon

garlic ginger paste. A touch of red food coloring is added, and it is served with grilled Sitting in Haveli, a restaurant specializ- peppers and onions on a bed of shredded ing in cuisine from northern India, Daljeet cabbage. Don’t touch the plate — it’s sizMalik said there is a simple rationale to the zling hot. But the food, while certainly spicy, isn’t business. spicy-hot or overwhelming — each season“Cooking is my hobby,” she said. And fortunately for diners — she and her ing complements the others rather than husband, Sikender lal Malik, are veterans of competing with them. The dish is served with the trade, having owned naan, a tasty f latbread restaurants in the past in treat that could be said to Manhattan and a catering resemble a Mexican queshall near Kennedy Airport. adilla. The naan can be They have owned the ENDLESS ENTRÉES prepared numerous ways, restaurant and catering hall s u c h a s s t u f fe d w it h at 116-33 Queens Blvd. in chopped onions. Forest Hills since 2014. Malik said many AmerSay “Indian food” and ican cooks tend to limit one must be far more their seasonings to four or specific. five items, such as salt, The cuisine over the pepper, garlic and lemon millennia has been influjuice. Nor ther n Indian enced not only by the meat, grains, fruit and spices available in cuisine features a veritable spice rack of each region, but the spice trade during the options, including curry, cumin, coriander, European age of discovery, colonialism and ginger, turmeric and others. “When Indian customers come in, they other forms of commerce. The same food can differ even within the want to taste spices,” Malik said, though they do prepare dishes for milder palates same region. A typical dish is the grilled saffron tan- upon request. They also serve a number of southern doori chicken. A half chicken with the skin removed is coated in yogurt, spices and a Indian dishes, as well as the occasional


Page 13 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017

Traditional takes on old-world favorites

Chefs Bahahindra Sherpuonja and Hussain Jabbar of Haveli in Forest Hills show off some of their handiwork — classic chicken dishes, kebabs and vegetables with authentic seasonings and PHOTO BY MICHAEL GANNON preparation. non-Indian dish. Many of the seasonings, Malik says not only make food pleasing to the palate but are healthy as well. She rejects the idea that healthy food must sacrifice taste.

“Healthy food tastes better,” she insists with a smile. Removing the skin from chicken, she said, is one example where she believes the goals of taste and health work together. continued on page 26



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Get a bite of Bangladesh in the borough by Ryan Brady

As the home to a large Bangladeshi diaspora, the Jamaica area has some terrific restauYou don’t have to go to Bangladesh for an rants that specialize in the country’s cuisine. authentic taste of the South Asian country’s Sagar, according to Rahman, was the first of cuisine. Just head over to one of the great them to set up shop in the neighborhood. More gastronomic greatness can be found at eateries specializing in the food in Queens. The ultraspicy beef curry at Sagar on Ghoroa on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica. Achar, South Asian pickles common in Hillside Avenue in Jamaica Hills is a great dish for those who aren’t very familiar with Bangladeshi cuisine, is incorporated in Ghoroa’s delicious achar Bangladeshi bites. But be goat curry. Meat or vegetable sure to have some water on samosas and mixed vegetahand if your palate is sensible pakoras, which are poputive to hot foods. lar snacks in the South Asian Morog polao is another ENDLESS ENTRÉES country, are also on the stellar dish at the high-qualmenu. ity eatery. With a delicious Dhaka Hajir Biryani in mix of spices perking up its Jamaica is another great rice and chicken, you’re spot for Bangladeshi grub. unlikely to forget it. The eatery has some terrifBangladeshi food has ic chicken seekh kababs, much in common with Indilamb boti kababs and chickan food — the hot taste is en bihari kababs. often salient in both — but Although Bangladeshi and Bengali resthere is a crucial distinction. “We use a little bit less spice than Indi- taurants in Queens are mainly concentrated an,” Samior Rahman, Sagar’s owner, told in the Jackson Heights and Jamaica areas, the Chronicle. “And the way we cook it is a Taste of Bengal in Astoria is another great option. The restaurant serves a tasty mughlittle bit different.” The mixed rice dish biryani is a dish lai paratha, a Bengali staple composed of a commonly served to guests to Bangladesh. deep-fried f latbread filled with minced Sagar serves some delectable versions of the chicken and egg. Vegetarians may want to check out its chana or palak paneers, which dish, like goat and chicken biryani.


The Puran Dhaka street cart in Jackson Heights is one of the many great places in Queens where one can eat authentic Bangladeshi food. Some of its delicious eats include panipuri, also known PHOTO BY RYAN BRADY as fuchka, and chotpoti, both of which go well with a chai tea. respectively combine homemade cheese and spinach with the South Asian cheese paneer. Chai tea is a popular drink in the South Asian country. “Someone typically in Bangladesh would drink that two or three times a day,” Russell Sibly, who owns Puran Dhaka, an authentic Bengali food cart in the Bangladeshi bastion of Jackson Heights, said. When one gets food from his cart, the

lemony and gingery tea’s sweetness elegantly complements the hot foods. Bengali and Bangladeshi cuisine are sometimes considered one and the same by novices, but they are technically different despite their myriad similarities. Bangladesh is part of the cultural region of Bengal, which also includes West Bengal. continued on page 27




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The estimated 4,200 Thai immigrants in Queens are a small percentage of the borough’s more than 2.3 million people but their cuisine holds an outsize presence in the hear ts and minds of foodies. The Asian American Federation of New York says the Queens population represents 57 percent of New York City’s Thais. Takeout site Seamless lists only 23 Thai restaurants here, but there could be many more than that, if the Forest Hills area is any Nine Thai, where cook Lung San here shows off some of his example. creations, is one of several eateries serving that nation’s The neighborhood’s 83,000 cuisine in Forest Hills alone. PHOTOS BY VICTORIA ZUNITCH residents can choose from BangMaybe it’s the extra-spicy red chili peppers kok cuisine on 70th Road’s “Restaurant Row” or Mint’s Thai Kitchen on Austin Street. Yel- that nevertheless exhibit a more restrained lowstone Boulevard hosts Hive Thai and presence on the plate than in some other cuiQueens Boulevard offers Thai Pot, Asia Kitch- sines. It could also be the soft sweetness elicited in the wok from bok choy, basil, mushen, Pinang and Nine Thai. Around the borough, high-profile Thai res- rooms and other vegetables. Thai flavorings and refinements were develtaurants include SriPaPhai and Ayada Thai in Woodside, Chao Thai in Elmhurst and Kitchen oped in the royal court, according to Helen C. 79 and Arunee in Jackson Heights. In the Asto- Brittin’s “The Food and Culture Around the ria-Long Island City vicinity, offerings include World Handbook.” Specifically, the cuisine Enthaice Thai Kitchen, Arharn Thai, Spice and uses unusually hot chili peppers. Other important factors of Thai cooking House of Thai. As good as it is in Queens, Thai food is best might be more easily replicated in America. Parkdee says that the thickin Thailand, says Nine Thai’s ness of the pan or the manager Aviga Parkdee, who amount of fire used for parhails from the southeast ticular dishes have an effect A si a n n a t io n a n d h a s on the taste of the food. returned for visits many ENDLESS ENTRÉES At Nine Thai, cook Lung times. San knows how to deploy “You would taste more f lames in service of his herbs. The vegetables would dishes. He has been workbe sweeter,” Parkdee said. ing at the restaurant for Economist Tyler Cowen more than 20 years but wrote in “An Economist Gets began his immigrant life in Lunch” that ethnic foods America by doing pyrotaste different in their homelands largely because ingredients are mostly technic cooking demonstrations in the Times sourced there and grow under different soil, Square neighborhood. San speaks little English but communilight and weather conditions. Clearly, the classic pad thai offers a world of cates through his food, which is presented flavor. The composite of sweet, salty, sour and artfully. Nine Thai’s most popular item, pineapple umami tastes with its base of rice noodles, comes from a bit of palm or brown sugar, fish fried rice, arrives as a rounded sculpture sauce, lime and tamarind on a base of rice noo- adorned with tomatoes. The pineapple pieces dles with peanuts or peanut butter. From there, tumble happily through the rice along with diners add the protein of their choice, often vegetables, and every bite of the brown rice is infused with the aura of pineapple juice. shrimp or other seafood. Spicy basil comes with onion, bell pepper and string beans. The sauce is plentiful yet the casserole is an improbably architectural construction of vegetables. Many f lavors meld into one recognizable unity and yet provide a chance to taste grace notes of each of the ingredients. Nine Thai also offers classic tom yum soup, pad thai and many other dishes. Home chefs can buy Thai ingredients from places such as Thai Thai Grocery on Woodside Avenue or 3 Aunties Thai Market on 39th Avenue, both in Woodside, or from the Pineapple fried rice is the most popular dish pan-Asian grocery Patel Brothers in Jackson Q Heights, Jamaica or Flushing. at Nine Thai.

Page 15 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017

Both sweet and spicy

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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 16

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In Flushing and beyond, Qns. has great Chinese by Ryan Brady Matching the size of its huge Chinese diaspora, Queens has a wealth of great restaurants serving stellar food in the East Asian country’s style. Trek to Downtown Flushing, the epicenter of stellar Sino eats in Queens, to get a taste. On Prince Street, just a short walk from the Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue No. 7 station, sits Fu Run, which serves regional specialties from northeast China. The style is known as Dongbei, the Mandarin word for the region. Far spicier than Americanized takeout food, the Prince Street restaurant’s fare will be equally new and amazing to Chinese, or Middle Kingdom, cuisine novices acquainted only with Cantonese fare like sweet and sour chicken and lo mein. According to Fu Run manager Danny Liu, cumin is a central ingredient to Dongbei food. “You never see it in a Cantonese restaurant,” he told the Chronicle. “This is why they don’t have this kind of taste.” The restaurant’s epicurean ecstasies include the house special lamb chop with garlic, crispy sliced fish with cumin, the green bean sheet jelly with red oil, and mapo tofu, a dish from the Sichuan region. “Our restaurant has authentic tastes,” Liu said. The green bean sheet jelly with red oil is a telling example of how different northeastern Chinese fare is from its Cantonese counterpart. Cabbage and nuts, which are commonly eaten in the region, enhance the delectable dish; they are complemented by the spicy red oil.

Danny Liu manages Fu Run in Flushing, which offers authentic cuisine from the northeast section of the Middle Kingdom.

In ways, he said, the Dongbei style has more in common with food from the Korean peninsula, which it borders, than with the Chinese flavors you’re likely to encounter at most places in Queens. While Cantonese food has been served in the United States for more than a century, the Fu Run manager said, Dongbei food has only been available in the country for the last 30 years. And the Prince Street restaurant, he said, is the first to specialize in the northeast Sino style in Flushing. Fu Run is one of the finest regional niche Chinese restaurants in Queens. However, it is one of many that specialize in provincial f lavors throughout the borough, even beyond Flushing. Food in Sichuan province in southwestern China is known for having garlic. And at the delicious Danny’s Szechuan Garden in Howard Beach, the ingredient can be found on much of the menu: eggplant, shrimp and scallops with garlic sauce are all orderable dishes there.


Chinese Hennanese food, which comes from a central section of China, is the specialty of Uncle Zhou’s in Elmhurst. A foodie favorite, the restaurant has gotten ink in The New York Times; the Grey Lady praised the hand-pulled noodles in soups served at the restaurant. The eatery’s menu options include jumbo shrimp in sweet tomato sauce, Henan-style tofu and pancake in lamb soup. Although Hunan House is on Northern Boulevard between Main and Union streets, one eating some of the foods may feel he is in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, not to be confused with Henan. Spiciness is on the Flushing restaurant’s menu. Lamb with cumin, braised beef with chili sauce and deep fried chicken with red pepper are some of the killer dishes at Hunan House, which is highly recommended for those who don’t mind a little bit of a bite. Whether you just want a couple

of dumplings for a snack or would like to feast on them for a massive dinner, Dumpling Galaxy is one of the top places for the eponymous dish in Flushing. Actually going to the place is not required to taste its signature style: earlier this year, a cookbook with recipes by its top chef, Helen You, was released. But the place is definitely worth checking out: Lamb soup dumplings, seafood dumplings and vegetable dumplings are all highly recommended at the restaurant. And despite its name, the Main Street spot also has plenty of great Chinese fare that is not wrapped in dough. Among the eatery’s fans are Joe DiStefano, an authority on food in Queens who has extolled the restaurant on his blog Chopsticks and Marrow, where he often writes about borough food. He features the restaurant on his “Feasting on Flushing” tour. DiStefano says that in the past decade or so, Middle Kingdom food in Queens’ major Chinatown has changed in some major ways. “There’s a lot of development in Flushing,” the foodie said. “So you’ll start to see things like One Fulton Square.” The major commercial center, which sits at the corner of Prince Street and 39th Avenue, opened up last year. As DiStefano put it, One Fulton Square has plenty of options from a sushi restaurant in its basement to “a high-end cocktail bar on the roof called Leaf which also functions as a Taiwanese restaurant.” Szechuan eateries are also in the development. This trend, he contends, has coincided with another: Manhattan restaurants like the Cantonese spot Congee Village and the Asian-style Spot Dessert Bar setting up a location in Flushing, the latter doing so at One Fulton Square. Another major way that the north Queens enclave’s selection of Chinese food has changed is an increase in regionally focused restaurants, the food expert said. “One of the ways it’s changed is the emergence of other regional Chinese cuisines beyond Cantonese, Taiwanese and Sichuan,” he said. “So what you started to see, maybe 10 years ago, restaurants like Fu Run ... Other regions have come on the scene as well, including [southern Chinese city] Guilin.” In part, he credits the frequent presence of people from mainland China who visit Flushing for business and like to eat out in the neighborhood when they’re in town. As more provincially specialized

Throughout Queens in general and Flushing in particular, the borough has plenty of fine Chinese food like the house special lamb chop with garlic and PHOTOS BY RYAN BRADY the green bean sheet jelly with red oil at Fu Run. restaurants rise, Queens foodies more and more have the opportunity to taste a wider range of Sino schools of cuisine. Experts recognize eight distinct ones: the Shandong style, which includes food from the Dongbei region; Cantonese; Su; Hunan; Sichuan; Zhejiang; Anhui; and Fujian. Each represents a different region of China, influenced by ingredients native to the land and other factors.

“Food courts in Downtown Flushing continue to be big; they continue to open.” – JOE DISTEFANO Dumplings and noodles are more common in southern China and rice is in its northern part, although transportation technologies have made both more common throughout the entire country. American Chinese food is in ways totally divorced from the East Asian country. Broccoli, tomatoes and carrots — common vegetables at your run-of-the-mill Sino joint — are not actually native to the Middle Kingdom, and so are served far less in

dishes there, according to Fox News’ The Daily Meal. The United States also made its own contributions to the style. A central difference between American Chinese and the authentic style is the syrup-like sauces in many of the meals that you can find in Flushing or at restaurants throughout the city. According to the Daily Meal, the style of sauces exists because of the American industry of canned foods. With pineapples or strawberries bought canned, they often have syrupy sauces; American Chinese cooks incorporated them in their meals, the website said. Still, according to DiStefano, there are ways in which Flushing’s Sino food scene has not changed in recent years. “Food courts in Downtown Flushing continue to be big; they continue to open,” he said. His tour hits three of them: those at the New York Food Court, the Golden Shopping Mall and the New World Mall. Each one contains an amalgam of unique flavors from different parts of China. To go on the tour with DiStefano, you can email him at jdistefanonyc68@gmail.com to register for one. But one does not necessarily have to go to “Feasting on Flushing” or even buy food at a Chinese restaurant for some stellar Sino grub. East Asian supermarkets in Flushing have some great products. DiStefano recommends the J Mart at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue for cooks looking to create some Sino tastes.: “I think they have a lot of really fresh produce, fresh seafood,” he said. Liu from Fu Run says that the supermarket at the New World Mall on Roosevelt Avenue is a great choice. Q

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Lyme Disease Prevention Tips With summer approaching we will be spending more time doing activities outdoors in areas such as parks, forests and hiking trails. While getting out and keeping physically fit is strongly encouraged it is important to keep in mind that being in these areas can put you at risk for Lyme disease. Dr. Sherman Klein, MD, specializing in Internal Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center,offers the following information on Lyme disease, how it is spread, its symptoms, and treatment.

Blacklegged ticks more rural Black-legged ticksare arerarely rarelyfound foundininNYC, NYC,but butififyou youhave havebeen beentraveling travelinginin more rural areas of New York such as Westchester and Long Island you are at greater risk of coming into contact with an infected tick. The annual number of cases of Lyme disease reported continues to rise each year in nonrural communities. Some of the early warning signs of Lyme disease are: These signs and symptoms may occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after being bitten. After an infected tick bite, a widening red area may appear at the infected site that is clear in the center, forming a bull’s eye appearance.

• Muscle aches • Headache • Fatigue • Fever • Rash

Dr. Klein suggests that the best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid direct contact with ticks. You can do this by avoiding wooded and brushy areas, and high grass.

Some of the tips to find and remove ticks from your body and clothing are: • Do a check of your entire body viewing under your arms, behind and in your ears, inside your navel, behind your knees, along your legs, waist and hair. Also, check your pet. • Take a shower soon after returning indoors. If you wash within two hours of returning indoors, the ticks are more easily found and washed off your body. • Once you are indoors, take your clothing and place them in the wash using hot water and then put them in the dryer on “high” for at least 10 minutes; if the clothes were washed in cold water, place them in the dryer on “high” for at least 90 minutes If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body causing arthritis, cardiac and nervous system problems. Dr. Sherman Klein is one of the many qualified doctors specializing in Internal Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

To schedule an appointment with him, or any of our other doctors, please call 718-670-5486

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Lyme disease is the most common tick-born infection in New York City and in the United States. On the east coast, Lyme disease is spread by the bite of a black-legged tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Not all black-legged ticks carry this bacterium and, even if they are infected, they must be attached for at least 36 – 48 hours after a person is bitten to transmit the disease.

If you are hiking, try to walk in the center of the trails and wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If in a wooded area you should use a strong repellent. Dr. Klein cautions that when using any repellent, you should avoid applying the solution to your hands, eyes and mouth.

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 18

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Family, flair, all you can eat and then some by Neil Chiragdin It arrives, briny and bubbling. Tender pale stalks of enoki mushroom soften into the broth, absorbing its essence, as tentacles curl under the heat. A crimson-speckled squid’s mantle rises from the pot, filling about a third of it. A troop of shrimp and hillocks of clams and mussels round out most of the rest of the stew. Wisps of steam flavor the air with the smell of the sea and kimchi, a scent that is unmistakably Korean. Korean food has a flair for spectacle, and ENDLESS restaurants in America tend to emphasize this by featuring tabletop grills meant for larger groups. Some of the most popular Korean foods in A mer ica st em f rom Korean drinking culture, pairing popular latenight fare with beer and soju, a Korean liquor typically distilled from rice. Sumptuous and spicy bites are interspersed with communal sips of soju, and the drinking etiquette itself is highly formal, at least among Koreans. Beyond patrons showing respect to their elders when receiving the bottle or drinking, one is never meant to pour one’s own drink,

and glasses are never meant to go empty. Korean meals are highly social affairs, and dishes are intended to serve the group, family-style. At Sik Gaek in Woodside, this convivial atmosphere is readily apparent, and even built in, as many tables are meant to accommodate groups of at least six. Papering the walls are hundreds of Polaroids of parties who have dined at the restaurant in years past, a living collection of good times gone by. A quick study of the photos reveals that many diners forgo the traditional manner of quaffing soju (served neat) and ENTRÉES instead opt for the punch bowl fashioned out of watermelon — full of the melon’s juice in addition to the liquor. At the beginning of a typical Korean meal, banchan is served. These are a number of small dishes of many different types that typically include kimchi, the fermented cabbage dish. Kimchi is made by combining salt, a vegetable (typically Napa cabbage or radishes), chili, ginger, garlic and salted seafood, and then storing it in jars underground. The dish dates back to at least to the period of 37 BCE to 7 AD, when several historical texts



Spicy Korean chicken

can be had at places such as Bonchon, Mad for Chicken and Unidentified Flying Chicken.

Summer 2017

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note the people of the Korean peninsula (then called the Goguryeo) for their skills with fermentation and preservation in food, wine and soybean paste. Traditionally, the dish was made with whatever vegetable was in season at the time of preparation, and ensured semif r e sh veget able s ye a r- r ou n d . T h e Napa cabbage variety of kimchi, today the most popular, Sik Gaek’s haemul jeongol, or spicy seafood hot pot, evokes awe in firstwasn’t introduced to timers such as Peter Li of Brooklyn. PHOTO BY NEIL CHIRAGDIN the country until the late 1800s. As one might expect, its flavor is table can opt for a fried rice to be made in the reminiscent of sauerkraut, but with a complex pot with the remainder of the broth and some fish eggs and other seasonings. The outer edge umami flavor and a spicy kick. Banchan at Sik Gaek is relatively restrained, of the rice dish bares a resemblance to bibimperhaps in deference to the massive portions of bap, where the grains take on a crisp quality. From fried chicken to barbecue, the most each menu item. In addition to kimchi, tteokbokki is served, which is composed of rice well-known items of Korean cuisine remain the cakes (dense cylinders of rice, two to three most popular. Korean fried chicken has attained inches in length) stir-fried with fish cakes and something of a cult following for fans of spicy gochujang, a sweet and gingery chili paste. The food. Chains such as Bonchon, Mad for Chickserver will also fry an egg for each person at the en and Unidentified Flying Chicken have gained notoriety both in table. Banchan and other Koreatown in Manhattan Korean restaurants will and Flushing in Queens typically include kkakdufor their consistent and gi (a diced radish kimchi), popular chicken preparakongnamul (bean sprouts tion. Restaurants typically in sesame oil), sigeumchi elevate the basic thin namul (spinach parboiled crackling skin of Koreanwith sesame, garlic and style fried chicken (huraisoy) and miyeok muchim deu chikin) with a spicy (seaweed in sweet vinegar sauce (yangnyeom) or a and salt), but there are sweet soy-garlic sauce dozens of dishes that (gangjeong). might be served. The menu at Sik Gaek Barbecue, often pretends toward seafood pared tableside, is another items, the restaurant’s Korean staple widely specialty. More specifiavailable both in K-town cally, the restaurant is and in Flushing. Kang Ho well known for offering Dong Baekjeong, Kum freshly prepared long-arm Gang San and 149 Pocha octopus — extremely are barbecue restaurants fresh, as in, still wriggling. In san-nakji, the removed from Main Street’s tourist drag and animal is killed and immediately cut into bite- populate Northern Boulevard instead, toward sized pieces and dressed in sesame oil and Murray Hill. The original location of Sik Gaek seeds, but residual nerve function causes the also lies along this strip, which features many tentacles to continue to grasp and move, mean- specialized Korean foods not found elsewhere ing diners can expect to feel it grasp the insides in the city. Bulgogi, barbecued Korean beef, is of their mouth. Adequate chewing is advised. typically tenderloin cut into very thin slices and There are a variety of seafood hot pots to marinated in soy, sugar, ginger, garlic, pepper choose from. The basic one is called haemul and a tenderizer such as onion or Asian pear. A jeongol, whose broth is made with a spicy kim- variant made from pork belly is prepared in the chi base and whose items are prepared in the same way, and is called dwaejibulgogi. The kitchen before arriving at the table. Daring din- thin sliced meat is then grilled at the diner’s leiers may choose to opt for the san-nakji jeongol, sure, or if desired, by the server, and eaten on a in which a squid is cooked whole and alive in bed of rice wrapped in a lettuce leaf. the broth at the table. There are a variety of For those desiring to try their hand at Koreoptions for the stew that include lobster, crab an foods in their own kitchens, many ingrediand abalone as add-ons. After the contents of ents will be found at Asian specialty stores the stew are finished — a feat which requires such as H Mart, with locations in Woodside Q four very hungry people at a minimum — the and Flushing.


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Are We Over-Using Antibiotics? You have all the symptoms: fever, cough, headache, and fatigue and body pain. You’re sick! You visit your doctor looking for antibiotics to get you better quickly, but is this always the best course of treatment?

Over-prescribing antibiotics can eventually lead to the drugs becoming less effective when they are really needed. Another cause for concern is the evolution of bacteria. When exposed to the same antibiotic repeatedly, the bacteria will change its composition and become resistant to the very

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BAY PARK 2 bedroom, waterfront home. Boater’s dream. Come park your boat! medicationsthat thatare areintended intendedtotokill kill.them. MRSA and and C. difficile are are twotwo examples medications MRSA C. difficile examples of drug-resistant bugs, but they are not the only ones. This growing problem in the medical community has prompted Dr. Tullo and his colleagues to develop an Antibiotic Stewardship Program to educate both the practitioner and the patient about when antibiotics are necessary and when they are not. To help the doctor, Jamaica Hospital has implemented multiple tools into its electronic medical records system. These tools require the doctor to provide extensive documentation before prescribing antibiotics to their patients. Sometimes however, even against the doctor’s best judgment, a patient may insist on receiving a prescription of antibiotics. Dr. Tullo explains, “A culture has been created that implies if a doctor doesn’t provide a prescription after examining you, then he or she isn’t taking care of you. Patients think that antibiotics are some sort of magic wand, when in fact they are not.” To change this perception, Jamaica Hospital, working together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is embarking on an educational campaign to help explain that antibiotics are appropriate for bacterial infections, but not for a virus. Colorful, multi-lingual posters created by the CDC will hang in all Jamaica Hospital out-patient clinics and offer guidance and education to patients. In addition to the posters and other educational handouts, Dr. Tullo believes an emphasis must be placed on how doctors explain the patient’s condition to them. According to Dr. Tullo, “if it is explained that not needing antibiotics may be a good thing, when they have a virus, the message will be better received.” Jamaica Hospital continues to strive to do the best for their patients and hopes that through this effort, they can improve the long-term health of the community.

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Doctors at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center are taking a long, hard look at how patients are being treated and what they are finding is that prescribing antibiotics is sometimes not the best course of action. “For a number of reasons, physicians throughout the healthcare industry prescribe antibiotics when they are not necessary”,” states Dr. Luigi Tullo, Family Medicine Physician at Jamaica Hospital. Dr. Tullo added ,“Some of the factors are physician driven and some are patient driven, but regardless of the reason, inappropriately prescribing antibiotics can have .” long-term health effects on our community”.

Page 19 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017


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South of the border? You mean the Bronx? by Victoria Zunitch Mexican Americans have been deeply integrated into American life for so many generations that the Mexican cuisine available here has long f lourished and merged with other cooking styles. In New York City, for example, Chino-Latino can be experienced as a derivative of two fusion cuisines. The first is Latino food, a melange of Hispanic and native Indian cuisines from south-of-the border Mexican and farther-south-of-the-border South American cultures. The second is Chinese food, but Chinese as it has evolved in the Americas. There’s also Tex-Mex, the kind of meal that a casually interested American eater might expect to eat at a standard American “Mexican” chain restaurant. It offers crunchy and crumbly chip-style taco shells. And it features burritos, those bulky bullet-shaped packages of beans and onions wth your choice of protein — usually barbecued or grilled beef or chicken — rolled and tucked into a soft, round, wheat-flour and corn tortilla, probably with guacamole on top. Drinks on the table are likely margaritas or a Dos Equis with lime, and don’t fill up on the chips and salsa. And there’s no disputing the popularity of the fast, fresh food at Chipotle, which offers build-it-yourself burritos, tacos and crispy taco bowls with your choice of ingredients and sauces. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you want to try authentic Mexican family food with modern bells and whistles like trendy tunes and environmental consciousness,

hop over to Astoria and visit Chela & Garnacha. The name means “Beer and Munchies,” said server Zofia, but the atmosphere speaks of a rustic glamour. The chic background music is loud enough to provide solo diners company but quiet enough to allow for conversation among friends. Both types of diners seem to pop in during early evening hours and weekday lunchtime. And yes, if you’re remembering that your high school Spanish teacher taught you “cerveza” is the Spanish word for beer, “chela” is Mexican slang for a frosty brew. Chela & Garnacha began life as


Mexican food truck Mexico Blvd. in Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood. The Loaeza family of Mexican immigrants that started the business wanted to bring authentic south-of-the-border cuisine to New York City “one neighborhood at a time,” as per the origin story posted on the restaurant’s front door. Fortunately for Queens, they graduated to Astoria for a sit-down restaurant and brought cook Gabriel with them. “People from the Dumbo food

Quesadillas with guacamole are among the many favorites people can get at PHOTO BY FREI SEIN / WIKIPEDIA authentic Mexican restaurants in Queens.

truck, locals” are the restaurant’s main clientele, said Zofia, who declined to give her last name. She has been with the three-year-old eatery for about a year. How authentic does it get? One of Chela & Garnacha’s most popular dishes is only available through the Loaeza family: the intricadas. Imagine a mother, then a grandmother, feeding her family back in Mexico and wondering what to cook for dinner one day. Maybe funds are low, or maybe her kitchen just has too much of this, that and the other thing. She uses what’s on hand to make masa patties — the exact recipe is still a family secret — and serves them with a delicate, thin lattice of fried cheese, guacamole and chipotle sauce. In the midst of all this tradition, there is no hint of being old-fashioned. Protecting the environment is a priority, so plastic is minimized, straws are only provided on request and tacos are a politely sized affair to avoid producing food waste. The vegetable taco is a short stack of fresh onions, cilantro, a thin layer of crispy cheese, lettuce, tomato and guacamole, all garnished with a flare of jalapeño. Another nod to modernity: there are many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu. The beverage list includes Spanish wine, a variety of Mexican beer brands and Mexican Coca-Cola, which is made with regular sugar instead of corn syrup, and thus much preferred in certain quarters. Some Mexican foods that fit squarely into stereotype are also, in fact, authentic and on the menu, including ceviche, quesadillas fritas, black bean soup and many varieties of tacos. As with all of human culture, “traditional” and “authentic” are usually judged in the context of recent memory. The book “Food Culture in Mexico” by Janet Long-Solis and Luis Alberto Vargas details the history of food and the ingredients used in Mexico dating back to the beginning of known history. Agricultural production in Mesoamerica, is believed to have begun as early as 7,500 BCE, and the Mexican diet’s crucial foodstuffs — corn, beans, squash, tomatillos and chile peppers — were in use by 3,500 BCE, according to the authors. As time marches on, first the Mayans and then the Aztecs developed signature food cultures. In between, archaeological evidence appears for the emergence of clay used to make griddles for tortillas and sieves for nixtamal, which is

Gabriel, the cook at Chela & Garnacha in Astoria, serves up a plate of his PHOTO BY VICTORIA ZUNITCH signature intricadas. alkalinized and hulled maize that is easier to grind and more flavorful than unprocessed corn. The arrival of Spanish conquerors in the 16th century radically changed the Mexican diet with the introduction of the

There’s no shortage of genuine Mexican restaurants and grocers in Queens. European staples of sugar, wheat, meat and dairy, according to LongSolis and Vargas. New food influences flooded into Mexico as borders opened with the end of the Spanish rule after Mexico won its War of Independence in 1821, and more recently with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, the book says. Other authentically Mexican restaurants in Queens include Corona’s hyper-casual Tortilleria Nixtamal on 47th Avenue, which draws rave

reviews for homemade tortillas, and Juquila Mexican Cuisine on 83rd Street in Elmhurst, noted for its beer menu and large portions. If you prefer tasty tidbits, Taqueria Coatzingo on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights serves tapas. When Anthony Bourdain visited Q u e e n s fo r a r e c e nt “ Pa r t s Unknown” episode, he gave a shoutout to Casa Enrique, our borough’s Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant in Long Island City, and highlighted Evelyn Coyotzi, a Roosevelt Avenue street vendor of tamales. Queens’ home cooks have almost endless opportunities to shop for authentic Mexican ingredients, including at Corona’s Tulcingo Grocery on Northern Boulevard. Jackson Heights offers Zocalo de Atlixco on 37th Avenue, Susana’s Mexican Products on 88th Street, Mi Bella Puebla on 37th Avenue, and the chain of pan-Latin Mi Tierra supermarkets. Whereas Patel Brothers is known for its Asian ingredients, Mi Tierra is the Patel Brothers of Latino ingredients, offering many groceries and prepared foods from Spanish-speaking countries. Jamaica hosts El Sol de Mexico on Sutphin Boulevard and Nomi on Jamaica Avenue. Woodside offers Las Americas Meat Market on 46th Street, a full-service butcher shop available for sourcing meat for MexQ ican or any other cuisine.

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by Mark Lord Care for a plate of tallarin verde? Or perhaps a bowl of chupe de camarones? If so, you could hop on a plane and head to South America ... or simply stop in at one of the restaurants right here in Queens specializing in traditional Peruvian dishes. One such place — four, actually, as Tu Casa Restaurant, a family-owned and operated establishment, has that many locales — offers a wide variety of dishes associated with the land that is perhaps best known as home of the Incas. Today, Peru has a multiethnic population that includes native Peruvians, Europeans, Africans and Asians, all of whom have had an effect on the country’s wildly varied cuisine. So, what’s tallarin verde, you may ask? It’s a Peruvian pesto pasta dish with a definite Italian influence, served plain or with steak, chicken or corvina (sea trout). And what about chupe de camarones? That is an Asian-influenced cream-based Peruvian shrimp chowder, which, on a recent visit to Tu Casa on Metropolitan Avenue in Kew Gardens, proved a definite mealtime highlight. It was served in a bowl piping hot,

the main ingredients being giant shrimp, rice, peas, carrots and egg. It could practically serve as a meal unto itself. Also part of the dinner was a side order of maduros, or sweet plantains, a staple of Latin American cuisine that is readily available — uncooked — in neighborhood bodegas and supermarkets. Similar to bananas, but bigger and thicker, the platanos are best when extremely ripe, giving them a soft texture. Representing the Tu Casa family, Gissel Alba said one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes remains its initial attraction, rotisserie chicken. It’s not your ordinary garden variety, to be sure. “It’s marinated for one to two days in our unique sauce, slow-cooked, and it literally comes off the bone,” Alba explained. The chicken is served with a choice of a spicy green sauce or a garlic white sauce, both made from scratch from produce that is hand-picked by Alba’s father, she said. A combination plate includes a whole chicken, rice and beans, salad and a choice of a side: maduros, tostones (crispy green plantains), french-fried potatoes or yuca frita (fried cassava). Another Peruvian favorite is ceviche,

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consisting of fish, calamari or shrimp limemarinated with onions and cilantro. An Asian-inspired linguini dish, tallarin saltado is another Peruvian specialty, and again, it may be served plain or with chicken, seafood or steak — in which case it’s labeled “con carne” — as well as with vegetables. Perhaps the dish that best symbolizes the fusion of Peruvian ingredients with Asian preparation techniques is lomo saltado, sliced beef sauteed with onions, tomatoes and cilantro and served with rice or fried potatoes. Potatoes, in fact, are believed to have originated in Peru, where there are an estimated 4,000 different types. So, it’s no surprise that they are served, in one form or another, with nearly every meal.

Tu Casa is located at 119-05 Metropolitan Ave., Kew Gardens; 116-35 Metropolitan Ave., Richmond Hill; 103-11 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills; and 30-10 Steinway St., Astoria. Peruvian food is unusually diverse and differs within each of the country’s regions. So it is in restaurants, with each preparing the dishes in its own special way. Among the others in Queens you might want to check out are: Sabor Peruano (98-53 Corona Ave., Corona); Chifa Restaurant (73-20 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights); Chaufa Peruvian Chifa (42-02 Northern Blvd., Long Island City). And of course you can try your hand at making your own with ingredients from markets all over Queens, perhaps armed with one of the many Peruvian cookbooks out there. Q


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Pre-K to Grade 8


Peruvian delights at Tu Casa include tallarin saltado con carne, left, a dish of linguine and steak, PHOTOS BY MARK LORD and corvina sudada, a steamed white sea trout in white wine sauce.

Page 21 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017

South American with a dash of Asia mixed in

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 22

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Guyanese: The original fusion food chefs by Anthony O’Reilly One of the worst memories in Dave Kadarnauth’s life is eating the meal he was provided on an elementary school field trip. “They gave us cold fried chicken,” he recalled. “It was disgusting.” And while the cold poultry sticks out, Kadarnauth’s childhood in America is filled with memories of the horrid cuisine from New York City public schools, which he was always giving away to his classmate. That’s because, before moving to Brooklyn in 1968, he was used to food prepared with fresh ingredients in his native Berbice, Guyana. And while his mother made sure he always came home to a homemade meal, there weren’t many other places to get a taste of home. “We Guyanese, we have a lot of things going for us but we don’t showcase ourselves,” Kadarnauth said. “Our food is really good but we don’t have that presence to say ‘come try our food.’” But now, Guyanese are the second-largest immigrant group in Queens and people can get more than their fill of that and other Caribbean fare throughout parts of Richmond Hill and Ozone Park. Of course, many of them are on Little Guyana — a mile-long stretch of Liberty Avenue. “There’s definitely a lot more now than there used to be,” R ic h a r d D av id , a Guyanese immigrant, ENDLESS said of eateries servi ng food f rom h is native country. One of the more well-k nown establishments is owned by K a d a r n aut h — Nest Rest au rant & Bar, located at 125-17 101 Ave. in Richmond Hill. “It’s just a great place to sit down, have a good time and have some good food,” David said. On any given night, families from Guyana and neighboring countries — Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and others — can be found dining on the restaurant side of Nest

A plate of Pepperlicious Chicken, a creation of Dave Kadarnauth’s, awaits to be served to hungry customers.

while others enjoy the bar scene. Kadarnauth has been the owner of Nest —the former site of an Irish bar — for more than 10 years and took it over because at the time, there were still no restaurants serving Guyanese food and he wanted to show the cuisine off to the world. “We need to promote ourselves,” he said. “And I think over the past 10 years I’ve taken it to a level, I won’t say fine dining but food cuisine that promotes Guyanese cooking.” His extensive menu features recipes inspired by the many “aunties” in his life, mostly to remind you nger Guya nese A mer ica ns of thei r ENTRÉES roots. T hese were t he types of cooks who used to measure everything by eye and go by how food looked or felt, rather than following instructions in a cookbook — i.e., good, old-fashioned home-style cooking. “Those are the things I try to promote,” Kadarnauth said. “A lot of times we’re so busy tasting other cultures’ cuisines we forget about our own.” But what is Guyanese cooking? One look at Nest’s menu shows an international array of food items such as curry — including one called a “bhungul,” a dry curry rather than one served in a sauce — fried rice, lo mein, jerk chicken and more. One can even find black pudding, a traditional British food item, on the menu. So why the influence from places all over the globe? To answer that, one has to go back to the days of the slave trade. Guyana and neighboring islands were rich in sugar and natural resources — and when the British ruled half the world, they’d bring slaves and indentured servants to work the land. “The British brought over Africans,” Kadarnauth said. “And when they abolished the slave trade, they started bringing in other Sybil’s Bakery & Restaurant, in the heart of sources of labor. They brought in other Little Guyana, is one of the longest-standing nationalities. Wherever they were in power, they would bring those people to do labor.” FILE PHOTO places to get West Indian food.

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Guyanese/ West Indian

One of the chefs at Nest Restaurant & Bar serves up plates of Guyanese-style lo mein, a popular PHOTOS BY ANTHONY O’REILLY item at the Richmond Hill eatery. And so Indians, Chinese and Portuguese people came to the island, as did the Dutch and Spaniards — and all put their mark on the culinary culture there. In the Nest kitchen, four chefs work on Indian meals while four work on the Chinese-inspired dishes. Kadarnauth likened the food’s heritage to the relatively modern craze of fusion food — combining one cuisine with another. “We’ve been doing that without even knowing it,” he said. “And that’s part of our culture. If you’re true Guyanese, odds are your mother knows how to make all of those.” But don’t thin k any of these items a re a ny th i ng li ke you’ve had before — a s s u m i n g yo u’ve never tasted Guyanese food. The fried rice at Nest, for example, is seasoned with a special blend u n li ke a ny t h i ng u sed i n Chinese restaurants, g iv i ng it a much more savory flavor. Be sure to try it with some of Nest’s homemade sauces, which come in different levels of spiciness. Or the aforementioned bhungul curry, which lifts the natural flavor of any meat, this reporter had it with lamb, instead of serving it in a sauce. Nest is far from the only place one can experience this — one of the longest standing West Indian establishments sits in the heart of Little Guyana, Sybil’s Bakery & Restaurant, 132-17 Liberty Ave. Here, one can get a plate of curry or some classic baked goods such as cassava pone, a cake made from cassava root, or, a personal favorite, saltfish and bake — salty fish, similar to cod, served on a roll.

Sybil’s started with a Guyanese woman selling traditional fare out of her Far Rockaway home and has since grown into a sort of dynasty — it’s often the first and last stop for Caribbean people visiting relatives in Queens, due to its proximity to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Just walk down Liberty and you’ll find other spots, some dedicated solely to Guyanese-Chinese cooking. Some examples include Kaietuer Express at 120-04 Liberty Ave., Three Sisters Liberty Bakery & Restaurant at 107-04 Liberty Ave. and Carifesta Restaurant at 126-15 Liberty Ave. For those new to West I nd ia n fare, some of these restaurants might sound strange. D av id b el ieve s Guyanese cuisine in Q ueens a nd else where in New York City suffers the same lack of exposure its people do. “Much like Guyan e s e p e o ple ou rselve s, we’r e not really putting our food out there for everybody to know about,” David said. Part of the problem for Kadarnauth is the younger generation’s waning interest in home-cooked meals. “They don’t know how to cook,” the restaurateur said. And while one can walk down Liberty Avenue or Rockaway Boulevard to find delis and bodegas selling fresh food with which to make Guyanese dishes, Kadarnath said most wouldn’t know what to do with the peppers or cassava. He hopes to solve that problem by hosting cooking classes in the future. “We have to keep that alive because once Q it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” he said.

“We Guyanese, we have

a lot of things going for us but we don’t showcase our food.” – DAVE KADARNAUTH

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by Michael Gannon

Puny but potent: Golf-ball-sized Scotch bonnet peppers, shown at a green grocer’s store in Rego Park, give many Jamaican dishes a powerful punch that belies their small size. accustomed to. “But who was cooking it? The slaves,” Skeete said, and they aug mented the desired cuisine with native and other ingredients, and their own skills and traditions. One such ingredient readily available at most supermarkets and area green grocers are Scotch bonnet or Jamaican hot peppers. Ranging in color from red to orange to yellow to green, they can be smaller than a golf ball. But the tiny peppers carry a big and spicy hot kick. “ D o n’t m i s t a k e them for bell pep pers,” Skeete said. “A n d d o n’t t o u c h them and then r ub ENTRÉES your eyes.” Many a restaurant or cafe in and around Queens’ Jamaica center their menus around jerk cooking. Ingredients for jerk seasoning, the ladies said, have been tried, t est ed a nd ref i ned over the centuries based on what was or eventually became available with more than satisfactory results. The slave trade eventually was outlawed, though the British still needed workers for the massive sugar plantations that had sprung up and become established. Irish citizens were brought as prisoners and indentured servants. Eventually workers were brought in from India and China. “There is great Irish influence,” Skeete said. Those coming from India introduced the curried chicken and goat that remain popular in Jamaica. Do you enjoy the occasional Jamaican beef patty with various levels of seasoning ranging from mild to six-alarm? “Jamaican patties are a Chinese inf luence,” Skeete said. Even the pirates who sought refuge on the western points of the island when not marauding on the high seas had their influence.


Chef Leo McAlslend, left, owner Lesa Ann Willie, Dawn Skeete and Sous Chef Derrick Harrison of G’s Restaurant and Bar in Rosedale show off their signature entree of red snapper stuffed, PHOTOS BY MICHAEL GANNON seasoned and steamed in coconut milk. Residents of the island, they said, always have seemed to know a good thing — and how to incorporate it into their diets — when they taste it. And it doesn’t have to be exotic — peas and rice, made with red kidney beans, is a hearty staple in Jamaica, and is a favorite of their own customers. T h at evolv i ng process, Willie and Skeete added, cont i nues, w it h t i me and location forcing their cooks to make their own accommodations to the time and geog raphy of Rosedale in 2017. The women say the traditional steamed fish, the red snapper f rom t he Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, still is a m a i n s t a y. W h e n caught off Hellshire Beach and cooked there, purists always prepare it over a fire of Pimento wood. “We have to use a gas g r ill,” Willie said. And pimento seed is added to the rubs, marinades and sauces, Skeete said, to add the plant’s spicy kick. Willie said a new addition is healthier alternatives to their menu along with nutritional information. But Skeete added that just means old is new again.

“The first vegans were the Rastafarians,” she said. “They did not eat meat; they lived off the land.” Another modern touch at G’s, located at 139-20 243 St., is the takeout window. “That is popular,” Willie said. “We’re trying to get more people to come and sit down in the dining room.” People whose ancestors witnessed t h e e vol u t i o n of Jamaican food have brought it to Queens. The Door Restaurant at 163-07 Baisley Bou leva rd is described as “upscale Jamaican” on Yelp. com. The food site also offers raves for Sybil’s Bakery and Restaurant at 132-17 Liberty Ave. in South Richmond Hill. Both restaurants also offer diverse fare f rom throughout the Caribbean. Other popular spots include: • St. Best Jerk S p o t a t 11 2 - 31 Springfield Blvd. in Queens Village; • Jamaican Flavors at 164-17 Jamaica Ave. in Jamaica; • Jamaica Breeze Restaurant at 232-02 Merrick Blvd. in Laurelton; • Caribbean Delights at 215-21 Jamaica Ave. in Queens Village; and • Yardies Jerk at 198-18 Linden Blvd. in Q St. Albans.

“Her mission is to

bring an authentic part of her Jamaican culture to Queens with healthy, nutritious food.”


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It has been said that geog raphy is destiny. But in the case of Jamaica — the one w it h ocea n bre ezes a nd yea r-rou nd 80-degree temperatures — it also has made for native cuisine that has both influenced and incorporated some of the best of all modern cultures. And, if you include India and China, a couple of ancient ones as well Lesa Ann Willie, owner of G’s Restaurant and Bar in Rosedale, and her family have been serving up Jamaican delicacies first in Brooklyn and now in Queens for the last 30 years. Willie’s grandfather was a butcher and grocer in Jamaica. Her mother founded the first G’s in Brooklyn. “Her mission is to bring an authentic part of her Jamaican culture to Queens with healthy, nutritious food,” said Willie’s cousin, Dawn Skeete, who works on the business end of the operation. Typical is what Willie considers her most popular dish. “When you go to Hellshire Beach in Jamaica and you have been swimming all day, when you are done ever yone has Hellshire Beach steamed fish,” she said. The unassuming name is local vernacular for a feast on a single plate — Caribbean red snapper, served whole and stuffed with vegetables, scallions, local seasonings and steamed in coconut milk. E a ch i ng r e d ie nt , down to individual seasonings can be tasted, ENDLESS with none overwhelming another. “It is a marriage,” Skeet e said. “It is authentic.” To further pin down aut he nt ic Ja m a ica n cooking, one needs to focus on history and geography. It was not long after Christopher Columbus landed on the coast in 1494 that the island became the crossroad of trade between Europe and the New World. Skeete said the Taino were the indiginous inhabitants of the island, though other sources said the Arawaks also lived there at the time. They had their own vegetables, fish, game and seasonings, with the Spanish, for whom Columbus sailed, bringing their own over the next century and a half. “They also began bringing African slaves, who brought their own plants and seeds,” Skeete said. The British kicked the Spanish out in 1655, claiming the colony as their own and continuing to not only import slaves but overseeing the island’s becoming a stop for slave traders and merchantmen bringing riches and goods from the Americas to Europe. The Brits, too, liked the food they were

Page 23 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jamaica at the crossroads of cuisine history

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 24

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Getting a taste of Americana in Queens by Ryan Brady It’s easy to forget when you’re in its most insular enclaves. But from Long Island City to Little Neck, Queens is loaded with high-caliber American food. And though around half of the people here are foreign-born, no matter which of the myriad variations of U.S.-bred food you love — soul food, Kansas City barbecue, New England seafood — it’s never too far. The Flagship Diner in Briarwood is a great point of departure. “A cheeseburger deluxe and a chocolate shake,” Flagship co-owner Vincent Pupplo told the Chronicle, “is about as American as you can get.” The diner has a sinful strawberry cheesecake and a terrific version of another classic American treat, the popover, which essentially is a U.S. version of Yorkshire pudding. To truly replicate great diner food is a tall order. But according to Pupplo, amateur chefs interested in making the best American food don’t have to go too far: Just head to your traditional supermarket. “The same ingredients you’re using at home is what we’re using here,” the diner-runner said. “It’s just knowing how to do it.” Cooking experience cannot be bought. But excellent meat for diner-style food and another great food tradition in America, barbecues, can. One name on a very long list of topnotch meat stores, Astoria’s International Meat Market, sells great ground beef and steak for you to grill on July 4. Those on the western side of south Queens don’t have to go far for a great diner. Another beloved bastion of U.S.bred grub operates in Howard Beach: The ENDLESS Cross Bay Diner. Open around the clock, it offers plenty of stellar options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re a foodie who likes your burger with a little more than just cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, Cross Bay Burger might be your speed: It has a splendid mix of mushrooms, peppers, sauteed onions and mozzarella cheese. The grilled cheese is also a great choice. Eggs Benedict, also on the menu at the Cross Bay Diner, is one of New York City’s greatest concoctions. And though its Manhattan origin is widely accepted, a 2007 New York Times investigation found competing theories of provenance. In a popular one, a hungover Wall Street broker unwittingly authored the dish when he ordered buttered toast, two poached eggs, a hollandaise sauce pitcher, bacon and an eggs-based sauce with vinegar, lemon and butter flavoring in 1894. Between Queens in 2017 and the time that humans started living in what is the United States today, the style of food in this land has irrevocably changed. According to a summary of the history of American food by Karen Carr of Portland State University, Native Americans mostly ate squash, corn, beans, wild berries and nuts along with whatever meat they could

Queens is full of fine American food. The beef burnt end sandwich at Butcher Bar in Astoria is a great version of the Kansas City barbecue PHOTO COURTESY BUTCHER BAR / FACEBOOK dish. get their hands on before they were colonized. European conquerors, Carr said, introduced cows, sheep, pigs and chickens and also ate the indigenous population’s cuisine. In the centuries since then, immigrants from all over the world have brought foods with them that have been incorporated into what is called American cuisine today. Many of the world’s finest foods were born in the United States. Its origins in the American South, soul food is a tradition that blacks brought with them up north during the Great Migration. To many African Americans, soul food like fried chicken and collard greens are sy nony mous with com mu nit y and togetherness. Southeast Queens has no shortage of the stuff. At the Burgandy Cafe in Jamaica, you ENTRÉES can get Southern fried wings, collard greens and macaroni and cheese. Another solid choice is the whiting sandwich on coco bread. If you’d rather get some good barbecue food at a restaurant in Queens than fire up the grill on Independence Day, it would be a good idea to check out Butcher Bar’s location in Astoria. According to its owner, Matthew Katakis, Butcher Bar’s food is a deliciously unique blend of regional barbecue comfort food styles. “It’s a mix of Texas and Kansas City,” he said. “We call it ‘New York City barbecue.’” He recommends the “meat candy” beef burnt end sandwich, a version of a Kansas City staple that uses meat from a smoked brisket. Other delicious American fare at the restaurant, which only uses grass-fed meat sourced locally from sustainable farms, includes the smoked and pulled pork dish and its excellent New York steak strip. Many mouth-watering pictures of Butcher Bar’s food are posted on its Facebook page. Beyond barbecue, the Astoria restaurant has some great eats in the tradition of American comfort food, like creamy mac and cheese and cornbread with honey butter. It also does a terrific take on the Philadelphia cheesesteak, one

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Vincent Pupplo is co-owner of the Flagship Diner in Briarwood, one of the borough’s best places PHOTO BY RYAN BRADY to order some classic American food, like a cheeseburger and a milkshake. of the most celebrated U.S.-bred foods. Katakis believes the kind of American restaurants one can eat at in Queens has seriously changed in recent years. While it used to be mostly just simple diners where you could order a cheeseburger, he said, “American food is being taken more seriously” with the market for it growing as the borough becomes more of a food destination. Restaurants like Butcher Bar, which “evolved not only comfort food and barbecue” but developed a unique style combining the cuisines to carve out its own niche food genre, Katakis said, are on the rise. “It’s a kind of American food that’s up and coming,” the eatery chief said. T h e U. S .- s t y l e Astoria eatery is far from the only place to get a great bite to eat on the Fourth of July: the Smoke BBQ Pit in Jamaica is also a great choice. If you don’t mind messy gr ub, order some ribs from the Southeast Queens eatery, which also has some great pulled pork on the menu and a terrific burger. Those looking for a quick bite of Americana would do well to go to Arby’s, which has locations in Middle Village and Fresh Meadows. The smokehouse brisket is a highly recommended choice at the restaurant, as are the milkshake and fries. An outstanding beef brisket can be found at the John Brown Smokehouse on 44th Drive in Long Island City. The eatery’s barbecue options include rib tips and pork belly. Unlike the Eggs Benedict’s creation, the Queensian genesis of Little Neck clams is a clear tale. While they were native to the area, the Queens Library says a Danish sailor in the 1860s planted additional clam beds at Little Neck Bay to rapidly increase yield.

They were served in fine restaurants in the five boroughs and major European cities. But in the 1890s, pollution from the city decimated the business. More than a century later, though, the name has stuck. Little Neck clams — small ones that, in groups or seven or 10, make a pound — are a seafood staple. You can order them at places such as the CrabHouse Restaurant in Long Island City. The eatery, which is near the waterfront, also sells classic American seafoods like crabcakes and oyster Rockefeller, a dish named in 1899 for its richness; the monopolist was America’s wealthiest man then. London Lennie’s in Middle Village is another fine location for food from the sea. Among its great U.S.bred dinner options are the housemade Maryland crabcakes, the Alaskan red king crab and the fresh shelled New England lobster salad. No article about fo o d i n t he U. S. would be worth its salt without giving some ink to that most iconic of American foods, apple pie. And there may be no better place to get a taste of it than Martha’s Country Bakery, which has locations in Astoria, Bayside and Forest Hills. Martha’s variations of the treat — apple crumb, sour cream apple and apple blueber r y — also come highly recommended. Although synonymous with the United States, apple pie is not indigenous to it. And the only apples native to America are the crab variety, according to the blog Today I Found Out. European cultures, the website said, that relished the dessert brought it to America during the 17th and 18th centuries, taking the Q seeds with them.

“A cheeseburger deluxe and a chocolate shake is about as American as you can get .”


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continued from page 11 One such dish is the cabbage strudel, in which the leafy vegetable is cooked in butter and wrapped up in puff pastry. You’ll also be able to stock up on plenty of traditional breads, which are always served alongside a classic Hungarian meal, whether it be soup, a meat dish or even breakfast. If you’re in the mood for something on the heftier side, you might try any of these options: • Cevabdzinica Sarajevo, a vegetarian’s worst nightmare serving Eastern European delicacies at 37-18 34 Ave. in Long

Kielbasa and more

Swords hang above hungry diners at Krolewskie Jadlo. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER BARCA

Almas pite, the Hungarian take on apple pie, is a great way to sooth one’s sweet tooth. The PHOTO BY ANTHONY O’REILLY treat is available for purchase at Andre’s Bakery in Forest Hills.

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continued from page 8 into a perfect lunch plate. That’s the case at Zabka Deli and Market at 66-51 Fresh Pond Road, according to Beata, a store manager who declined to provide her last name when interviewed by the Chronicle earlier this month. And it’s not just some of the approximately 20,000 neighborhood residents of Polish descent who love the market’s soft cabbage; more and more younger American-born people looking to try new food are flocking there. “We still get mostly Polish people, but now we’re getting a lot of Americans too,” Beata said. “A lot of the Polish people love the soft cabbage. That’s what the Americans always want to try. “And when they try the food,” she continued, “they really like it.” As with many of Ridgewood’s Polish markets — most of which line Fresh Pond Road between Linden Street and Myrtle Avenue — the grocery items sold at Zabka are imported straight from Poland. Everything from soft drinks and spices to fruits and vegetables can be had, but the market’s crown jewel is its meat showcase. Choosing among almost a dozen kinds of kielbasa and a rack full of pork items, a half-dozen people waited in line for their chance at the register, asking Beata in Polish for the cuts they wanted. “This is what a lot of people come in Q for every day,” she said.

Island City; • Boon by Moldova Restaurant, a celebration of all things Eastern European located at 43-45 40 St. in Sunnyside; and • Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, where one can get a serving of klobasa or European-style dumplings while enjoying a pint of specialty beer. Queens lacks a dedicated Hungarian market, but one can easily find klobasa and much of the paprika found in stores comes from the country. The many Eastern European markets and delis in Ridgewood are Q also a safe bet to find fresh goods.

Page 25 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017

Don’t read this if you’re feeling ‘Hungary’

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 26

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Turkish food derives from an empire’s reach continued from page 12 Coincidentally, the shepherd salad at Sunnyside’s Turkish Grill is also one of that restaurant’s most ordered items. Just a few of the other eateries in Queens specializing in Turkish and nearby cuisines are Taci’s in Forest Hills, Djerdan Burek Astoria and Mangal Kabob in Sunnyside. Fresh produce, spices, and garnishings used in Turkish cooking can be found at Seasons, a large kosher grocery store located on Main Street, as well as smaller markets such as A-Z Glatt Kosher on Union Turnpike.

To emulate a platter of Turkish-inspired mixed appetizers, or “karisik meze tabagi,” a sampler of cold starters served at Black Sea, a carefully curated shopping list would include hummus, stuffed grape leaves, spicy ezme, strained yogurt, or “lebne,” babaganoush, and sauteed spinach and pine nuts. Ethnic grocery stores such as Titan Foods, a specialty emporium for Greek foods, as well as Mediterranean Foods, both located in Astoria, feature a plethora of such products, which can also be used in regular, day-toQ day food preparation.

The shepherd salad at the Black Sea restaurant in Rego Park, above, is a customer favorPHOTO BY NEGLAH SHARMA ite, as it also is at Turkish Grill in Sunnyside.

Fans of Indian cuisine are at home in Queens continued from page 13 Another is the restau rant’s expanding vegetarian offerings. Many main dishes incorporate lentils and chick peas, which are considered beneficial for heart and digestive health aside from their nutritional values. While incorporating from other cultures, Indian cooking also has had an impact on other ethnic cuisines. Worker mig ration As good as it looks: grilled saffron tandoori chicken with cabled to a major Indian bage and grilled vegetables is fit for fans of traditional Indian inf luence in the local cuisine or those just wanting great food. PHOTO BY MICHAEL GANNON cook ing in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. Malik said Queens Blvd. in Rego Park; many classic Indian kebab dishes have • Rajdhani Indian Restaurant at 206g row n popular over generations in 12 Hillside Ave. in Queens Village; regions of Afghanistan. • Samudra Vegetarian Restaurant & And being The World’s Borough, Chaat House at 75-18 37 Ave. in Jackson Queens has no shortage of restaurants Heights; featuring delicacies from one of the • Taj Mahal Restaurant and Party Hall world’s oldest cultures. at 148-01 Hillside Ave. in Jamaica; They include, but are not limited to: • Joya Hall Grand Banquet Hall at • Aaheli at 71-51 Yellowstone Blvd. in 63-108 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park; Forest Hills; • Panahar at 139-32 Hillside Ave. in • Jackson Diner at 37-47 74 St. in Jamaica; and Jackson Heights; • Taste of Cochin Restaurant at 248-08 Q • Tandoor & Co. Restaurant at 95-24 Union Tpke. in Bellerose.

We are proud to join with the Queens Chronicle in Celebrating Queens CONGRESSMAN U.S. House of Representatives 5th District – New York Washington D.C. Office 2234 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20215 PH: (202) 225-3461


JOSEPH CROWLEY 14th Congressional District Paid for by Crowley for Congress ©2017 M1P • JOSC-072002


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Jamaica District Office

Rockaway District Office

153-01 Jamaica Avenue Jamaica, NY 11432 PH: (718) 725-6000 FX: (718) 725-9868

67-12 Rockaway Beach Blvd. Arverne, NY 11692 PH: (347) 230-4032

– Paid for and authorized by Friends for Gregory Meeks –

C M CELEB page 27 Y K

continued from page 14 According to Culture Trip, beef is more common in Bangladesh than West Bengal, owing to Hindus being the religious majority in the latter state. Additionally, the blog said, river fish is more pervasive in the certain southern parts of Bengal because of the people’s proximity to rivers; vegetable curries are seen more in the region’s northern section and meat and fried rice more popular in central areas of Bengal. And, according to the website, food from the Bangladeshi city of Dhaka stuck to area traditions more so than that of the West Bengali metropolis of Kolkota, which incorporated more influences from other cultures. Throughout Bangladesh, food carts with Bengali grub are common. They are seen less frequently in New York, but Sibly is working to change that with Puran Dhaka. “This is Bengali street food and this is the first ever food cart for it in New York,” he said. “And probably in America.” Along with its Jackson Heights location, the food cart can be seen in Astoria and Lower Manhattan. Panipuri, also known as fuchka, a common Bengali street snack, is the most popular item at the food cart, according to Sibly. The deliciously spicy dish is a delectable mix of onions, chickpeas and cucumbers.

Established In 1973

Elmoghazi Metwally, who serves food at Puran Dhaka, recommends the chotpoti. The Jackson Heights street cart offers a terrific take on the light meal, which features potatoes, chickpeas and onions. If you’re looking for a place to sit down in Jackson Heights for some tasty Bengali and Bangladeshi food, look no farther than Dkaka Garden. The restaurant serves an outstanding beef tehari, which is a spicy rice dish that can also be served with chicken. Though native to northern India, the meal is common in the Bangladeshi food world. And on the other side of the world in the borough of Queens, you can make some tasty Bangladeshi food yourself. Those in the Jamaica area interested in trying their hand at cooking the cuisine should head to Hillside Avenue for the Kawran Bazaar and the Mannan Supermarket, Rahman of Sagar recommends. Just ask for the ingredients that give Bangladeshi food its unique f lavors. “When you go and ask them, they’ll give it to you,” he said. Traditional supermarkets also carry some of the crucial components of Bengali and Bangladeshi cuisine. Some ingredients commonly found in food from the country include cumin, red chili peppers, onions, mustard seed, cinnamon and garlic, according to the cultural webQ site Uncornered Market.

Established 1852

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