The sounds, smells and sights of Flushing, Queens transported me to China last weekend. After only a thirty-five minute subway ride, I felt like I was in a whole different world. Authentic markets, food and language filled the streets. I was completely immersed in a culture I had yet to experience.
I met up with some close family friends at Biang, originally a fast food restaurant that expanded its brand to a full waiter-service location. The exposed brick walls, hip music, modern pendant lights, graphic posters and deep wood tables immediately set a positive precedent for the cuisine. We started off our meal with tofu and lamb skewers. The lamb was phenomenal…tender and well-seasoned.
The garlic bok choy and cold cucumber salad were both phenomenal veggie dishes, which I don’t have pictures of because I was too busy savoring them. The mini bok choys were cooked with thin slices of garlic that allowed the natural taste of the greens come out. The cucumbers were bathed in Szechuan pepper oil and black vinegar sauce. Going to try replicate both if possible.
Then we ventured into the flour-based dishes. The fresh house-made noodles were excellent, varying in consistency and taste. The first noodle dish we tried was cold. The noodles had a thick texture and were topped with a spicy red sauce and tofu. The second noodle dish was the best thing I ate all night: stewed oxtail flavored with a stew sauce, green onions and greens. The thick hand-ripped noodles were so fresh and almost slightly sweet, and the sauce was so flavorful we almost ordered rice to soak up every last drop.
The last course was quail eggs on sausage with toasted mantou slices. These mini “tapas” were like a Chinese version of a gourmet breakfast sandwich. The yoke of the sunny-side-up eggs oozed into the ginger spiced sausage patties. Finally, the taste of the sweet and soft steamed buns left you wanting more.
I was so impressed by Biang that I am anxious to bring friends back for a second dining experience. Next time I venture into Chinatown I will tote my grocery bag to grab fresh cherries from the street vendors and inexpensive noodles for stir fry from the market. I also want to try authentic Boba tea. Any suggestions for flavors? Special thanks to Michael, Brian, Jenny and Julie for guiding me through my first experience in Flushing. I can’t wait for more adventures this summer!
Love food. Love self. Love life.