Start: 6023 Eighth Ave between 60th and 61st Sts, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
End: Seventh Ave at 44th St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Time: 90 minutes
Distance: 1 mile
1 Armed with an empty stomach, begin your cheapo culinary adventure at the sprawling Hong Kong Supermarket (6023 Eighth Ave between 60th and 61st Sts, 718-438-2288), which has the neighborhood’s best beverage selection. Cans of Vietnamese iced coffee (99) or soy milk studded with tapioca balls (99) are appealing, but a better accompaniment for the coming comestibles is the lightly sweetened Foco mango juice (79).
2 After weaving your way past the greengrocers and fishmongers that line Eighth Avenue, pop into the colorful Dragon Bay Bakery (5711 Eighth Ave between 57th and 58th Sts, 718-853-8188). It stands apart from other humdrum bakeries in the area by dressing its counter ladies in bright orange shirts and serving the wonderfully bizarre hot dog cookie ($1): a fully cooked wiener encased in an almond-topped croissant. It’s breakfast by way of lunch.
3 If you’d rather stick to more familiar-looking foods, walk one block north to a nameless metal cart that’s usually parked on the corner of West 56th Street in the late afternoon. More than a dozen dollar skewers, including fried tofu, Chinese broccoli, squid and—our personal favorite—lamb, are sizzled over charcoal and cooked until they have a crunchy brown crust. Take our word for it: This food on a stick tastes even better with a squirt of chili sauce. Scarf it while seated on one of the folding chairs scattered across the sidewalk.
4 Since you can’t survive on meat alone, make a pit stop at dumpy take-out joint Taste Good Soya (5103 Eighth Ave between 51st and 52 Sts, 718-686-6088). The tofu and noodle factory sells plastic containers of warm, soft tofu ($1) so silky, it evokes custard. When the server asks, get your snack topped with the sugary syrup for a sweet, on-the-go treat.
5 Find a quiet place to digest while contemplating a higher (equally rotund) power; duck in next door to the recently remodeled Buddhist Xi Fang Temple (5101 Eighth Ave at 51st St, 718-871-4299). In the long, incense-perfumed room, spend a few minutes meditating—or slipping into a food coma—in front of the serene, golden Buddha statue. Donations aren’t necessary, but a buck or two will only help your karma.
6 Now that you’ve created a smidge more room in your stomach, stroll to frill-free Fujianese eatery Red Apple Fast Food (4817 Eighth Ave between 48th and 49th Sts, 718-853-8811), where diners slurp bowls of thick sweet-potato congee (75 each). You’re here to down a Frisbee-size oyster cake (70), a crisply fried rice-flour fritter that’s dotted with peanuts and packed with scallions, pork and fresh oysters.
7 Still hungry? Color us impressed. Head to hole-in-the-wall Kai Feng Fu Dumpling House (4801 Eighth Ave at 48th St, 718-437-3542). Despite the cramped eatery’s name, its dumplings aren’t Sunset Park’s best; instead, opt for the doughy, pan-fried pork buns (three for $1) that are the size of lemons.
8 Next, you’ll finally get the top-notch dumplings you crave at the Brooklyn branch of Prosperity Dumpling (4317 Eighth Ave between 43rd and 44th Sts, 718-436-2516). Like the Manhattan original, the interior is as attractive as a hospital ward, but there are plenty of tables and the same plump, cracker-crisp pork-and-chive pot stickers (five for $1).
9 Conclude your gluttonous saunter at the neighborhood’s scenic namesake green space, Sunset Park (enter on Seventh Ave at 44th St, 718-965-6533). Climb to the top of the lush hill to take in the Manhattan vista and wave to Lady Liberty hanging out in Upper New York Bay, then find a patch of grass and nab a nice postprandial nap.
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Ten treks to get you out of your apartments and deep into the heart of New York City.