Friday, February 27, 2009

Snacking on the cheap in Flushing

Photo taken April 12, 2008

Each week, my parents drive into Flushing, Queens and spend the afternoon ballroom dancing and singing karaoke. When I was home during break, I took the opportunity to tag along, mostly so I could get my snack on in the area while they tangoed and waltzed.
The roast pork triangles from the new Fay Da Bakery location near Queens Crossing are awesome, especially when eaten still warm from their heated display next to the cash register. The pastry crust is flaky and tender, and the whole thing is practically bulging with sweet roast pork. Unlike other versions, where the roast pork filling often tends to be full of chunks of fat, Fay Da's is relatively lean and not too sweet, either. I'm sure the lard in the crust will still kill me, but at least the filling won't.
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I stopped by Gu Shine, too, to see if I could get my hands on some of the bing that I saw being griddled in the window the week before. When I had tried to order one then, it was late in the day and all of the remaining bing had already been reserved by someone else, and this time I was informed that none were going to be prepared until a few hours later. Fail!

But seeing my disappointment, my mom picked some up after their ballroom dance session, and I tried them the next day. While the loss in freshness may have accounted for some of the disappointment I felt when I tasted them, I'm not sure how much better they would have been considering the meager ratio of filling to dough. There was simply too much bread to make the bing notable. So much effort, so little reward.
The gua bao from Gu Shine, though, was much better. Braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens, chopped peanuts, cilantro, and sugar (yes, sugar) inside a soft steamed bun, which at two bucks for the whole monster beats the hell out of Momofuku's pork buns, at least in terms of cost value. Granted, the ones at Momofuku use pedigreed ingredients, but at less than half the price for nearly four times the size, I'm not asking for my pork bun's credentials.

This one I dropped off at my brother's office, along with a load of taro and turnip cake and a bunch of other goodies from my parents. I serve as a pretty good food shepherd, if I do say so myself.


  1. The Gua Bao reminds me of the Taiwanese Hamburgers that I fell in love with back in the days. I still remember taking the dare to eat 6 of those and packing them all away. Love the roast pork triangles. Whenever I visit, I'm always driving back with a cooler full of things from asian bakeries.

  2. Sarah Lin! This is awesome. There's so many great new places and tasty foods in Flushing, I can't wait to try your suggestions next time I'm in New York!

    -Your childhood schoolmate Greg Barlow.

  3. Christopher, I think gua bao IS what they usually call "Taiwanese hamburgers"…you ate six of them??

    Greg, glad you came across my blog! I guess you're not in NYC these days?

  4. Sarah, I'm a human garbage disposal when it comes to good food. Yep, I consumed 6 of them back to back.