The new Chinatown: Elmhurst

Elmhurst joins downtown Manhattan, Flushing and Sunset Park as an East Asian bastion.

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With New York City’s three major Chinatowns overflowing, a fourth has sprung up in the center of Queens. In recent years, many Chinese expats have made the move to the area—there was an 18 percent jump in Asian-born residents between 2000 and 2010—bringing their culinary specialties to a busy stretch of Broadway.


  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Cumin beef chinger at Chinger

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Vegtable chinger at Chinger

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Pork chinger at Chinger

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Chinger

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Seafood congee at Shun Won

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Seafood congee at Shun Won

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Roasted-duck noodle soup at Shun Won

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Roasted-duck noodle soup at Shun Won

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Beef chow fun at Shun Won

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Shun Won

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Big tray of chicken at Uncle Zhou's

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Lamb dumplings at Uncle Zhou's

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    "Dial Oil" noodles at Uncle Zhou's

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Uncle Zhou's

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Uncle Zhou's

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Uncle Zhou's

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Dumplings at Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Hot pot at Shell Cove

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Shell Cove

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Shell Cove

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Lamb at Sweet Yummy House

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Minced pork with cellophane noodle at Sweet Yummy House

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Fish fillet at Sweet Yummy House

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Chicken at Sweet Yummy House

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Sweet Yummy House

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Cumin beef chinger at Chinger

Cumin beef chinger at Chinger

Chinger

Forget about the spot’s strange name—a mash-up of the words Chinese and burger (unfortunately misspelled as BERGER on the awning)—and concentrate on the meat-filled sandwiches known as rou jia mo. Opened last March by the owners of Shell Cove, this takeaway counter slings five tasty versions of the flatbread snacks, typically found on the streets of Xi’an. Try the cumin beef—pepped up by chopped jalapeños—or succulent pulled pork with crisp lettuce and pickled daikon (each $2.60). 718-502-6668, chingerfood.com

  1. 83-02 Broadway at Cornish Ave
Salted Fried Bread and Seafood congee at Shun Wang

Shun Won

Cantonese fare was hard to find in Elmhurst before this blush-tiled canteen opened in 2012. Locals tuck into classic dishes like roasted-duck noodle soup ($5) and combination congee (tang jai jook, $4), a steaming rice porridge laced with minced pork, toothsome squid and a sprinkle of peanuts. Another favorite, beef chow fun, is brimming with thinly sliced meat, leeks and broad noodles, a bargain at $7.50. 718-779-3330

  1. 81-25 Broadway between Britton and Pettit Aves

Uncle Zhou Restaurant

Noodles are the star of this Henan-style restaurant, run by native Steven Zhou, since 2011. For the “Dial Oil” noodles (you bo mian, $5.50), spaghetti-like strands are coated in vinegar, then topped with a sizzling, garlic-infused oil and more of the minced cloves. Another Henanese specialty, da pan ji (literally “big tray of chicken,” $15), takes its cues from neighboring area Xinjiang, the dish’s birthplace. In Zhou’s rendition, stir-fried nuggets of bone-in bird cover hand-pulled noodles, wide silky ribbons ideal for soaking up the plate’s onion-and-pepper sauce. You’ll do just as well with the meaty lamb dumplings (yang rou shui jiao, nine for $3)—bursting with a sweet, slightly gamey soup—which are tasty vehicles for the house-made chili oil.

  1. 83-29 Broadway, (between Cornish and Dongan Aves), 11373
More info

Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

In 2011, chef Libin Zhang relocated his popular Northern Chinese restaurant into this airy, wood-clad spot. At a back counter, you’ll find Zhang twirling balls of dough into pliant bands for noodle soups, including one with tender slabs of beef brisket and bok choy (niu rou shou la mian, $5.50). There are also outstanding pork-and-leek pot stickers (xian rou jiu cai guo tie, eight for $2.75), but don’t miss the hui xiang shui jiao (eight for $3.50), juicy boiled dumplings stuffed with fragrant fennel-flecked pork.

  1. 83-05 Broadway, (at Cornish Ave)
More info
Seafood and meat combo hot pot with Sichuan broth at Shell Cove

Shell Cove

The “one-person meals” at this chic eatery, which came onto the scene in 2011, make hot pot (huo guo) less of a chore. Unlike most restaurants specializing in the DIY feast—groups gather over a giant pot of bubbling broth to cook raw meats and produce together—each diner gets their own bowl. As Chinese pop music pumps through the room—outfitted with sleek wood panels and satin banquettes—polo-wearing staff roll up to tables with overstuffed bowls of ingredients. A surf-and-turf combo ($15.99) arrives with a generous amount of sliced fatty beef and seafood—including head-on shrimp, fillets of whitefish and squid—as well as vegetables and vermicelli. Save the noodles for last. After you’re done cooking, use the glassy strands to sop up the remaining broth—it’s especially good with the Szechuan-style soup ($1 extra). 718-502-6668

  1. 83-02 Broadway at Cornish Ave
Chicken with chef's spicy sauceat Sweet Yummy House

Sweet Yummy House

Contrary to its moniker, there’s nothing sweet about the fiery dishes at this Szechuan joint, opened in 2010. Underneath stained-glass pendant lamps, diners dive into mouth-numbing specialties like “ants crawling up a tree” (ma yi shang shu, $7.95)—named for the ground pork clinging to cellophane noodles—and lamb stir-fried with dried red peppers and cilantro (xiao chao hei shan yang, $14.95). Take a break from the chili-laced fare with chilled cucumber tossed in garlic and sesame oil (xiang kou huang gua, $5). 718-878-6603, sweetyummyhouse.com

  1. 83-13 Broadway between Cornish and Dongan Aves


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