By now, the Flushing malls, with their compact food booths from which emerge some dazzling regional Chinese dishes, are a well-known stomping ground for the culinarily curious.
The New World Mall, which opened last year, is hidden on the lower floor of a nondescript office building on Flushing’s bustling Main Street, the predominantly Chinese area’s teeming commercial hub. Enter the building, and the first floor holds few surprises. There’s a wireless provider and a Haagen-Daz ice cream shop. Very humdrum.
But if you ride down the escalator, which is planted straight ahead of you just after you walk inside the building, you’ll encounter a mad riot of neon signs and mobs of hungry locals.
Yes, it’s a food court with booths stationed around the edges, the center filled with long tables. Except this spot is lined with roughly two dozen stalls serving up all manner of Chinese, Korean and Japanese delights. It seems that every family living in or around Flushing’s Chinatown—the second largest in New York after Manhattan’s—has descended on the place. There are families with children. There are teenagers huddled around tables. Elderly people pick at their steaming bowls of soup noodles.
Recently, I roamed around the mall, scarfing down savory hand-pulled noodles with fried duck at Lan Zhou Hand Made Noodles; the broth was savory but not earthy or deeply flavored enough for my taste. Then I tried feathery scallion and pork dumplings at Tianjin Food, easily the lightest and most flavorful I’ve eaten outside China.
I finished up with a steaming bowl of congee, a Chinese porridge that’s often eaten for breakfast; sweet chunks of pumpkin floated just beneath the glistening surface.
If you want to try some Asian food dishes in familiar surroundings, the New World Mall provides a gentle introduction. And, of yes, the food court boasts clean bathrooms for that necessary pit stop before you head home.
How to Get There: Take the Number 7 train or LIRR to Flushing/Main Street.