Distinctive Food Service in New York Food Court. [Flushing, Queens]

From our Monday food crawl, our favorite bite, among many wonderful bites, was the crispy rice cake. We actually were on our way to Joe’s Steamed Rice Noodle but once we looked at the menu, we ordered a pretty full meal.

What hooked us into a full meal was the Lion’s head meatballs. Our last trip we had a ghastly bad version at a famous Shanghai tea house, and these more than made up for it. The meatball were super tender making a spoon the only way to eat them. The fat content of a good Lion’s head is upwards of 30% so the sign of good cooking is that they are not greasy. These were perfect. In fact, probably the best I have had except for a version at one of Peter Chiang’s pre empire gigs. We poured the sauce on the rice to get every bit of flavor.

Next up, braised eggplant which was a little blahs until I asked for chili oil. Then it came to life. Pretty dang good, especially for <$9.

I tried to order the crispy rice cake but the something got lost in the translation and we got a stir fry of rice cakes which was good, again chili oil raising it quite a bit. But I wanted those rice cakes. So I went back to the counter, pulled out my phone and went searching for the 0ic I had. The lady really got a kick as I scrolled thru pic after pic of food. Then her eyes lit up as she pointed to A9 on the menu: crispy rice balls. And again, these were spectacular.

The total cost for 4 dishes was $33 but that included $8 for the rice cake stir fry. So we could have gotten out for under $25 for a really good meal.

Thanks to @DaveCook for turning us on to this place.

A word on the New York Food Court. It is less than half full and these places need some love. From our trips there, they are surviving on delivery and catering.

And in fact, the stalls I tried here were all quite good indeed. So help preserve this place and give your tastebuds a treat!


I want to go back to this place too, for another round of the rice “balls” which were also one of my favorite bites from the other day, the XLB which the lady was making so skillfully, and now those lions head meatballs too!

Thanks for the continuing reviews, @Dean.

Look forward to reading about your Baltimore food explorations too!

You reminded me of something. When we were eating, they were pushing out huge totes filled with tons of orders. When they had finished, they pulled out a huge bowl and the three people started making XLB. One lady rolled the skins, the english speaking lady we ordered from would take a skin and put a ball of filling on it and hand it off to “#1 folder the best” who pleated them. He was playing faster than the others could roll or fold. He did not eff around. He came to WORK EM!

Watching was mesmerizing. Now I think $8 for 6 is even more of a bargain.

The other day there was just the one lady up front doing all of it - also mesmerizing! (And I roll a lot of flatbreads and have stuffed my share of indian dumpling-like foods, so it’s admiration for SKILLS!)

It was clear that they’re supplying to places - do you remember the lady making the rice packets at a table? There was a giant basket at the next table with the steamed packets. The XLB quantity vs customers at hand also implied they were being sent somewhere… Nice that one can get a small retail order there from a wholesale place.

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They filled one totes, bigger than you would see at a CVS or whole amazon, etc with individual orders and 2 more with what I assumed were drop off strings but you are right, they may have been meant for other restaurants.