Friday July 17 2009
St Johns House – Flushing, Queens – 10:30 AM
I wake up and realize that it literally feels like sweaty balls in the room, looking around at my friends and remembering that most houses in New York have no central cooling, only central heating for air conditioning. It’s okay as I am used to the feeling of sweaty balls in Florida.
Today I will embark on a grand gastronomical journey into the inner intestine of Manhattan. I am dropped off at Main Street and Roosevelt in Flushing by my brother Victor Yin of Stonybrook University (who joins the crew at East Palace for dim sum). There on the corner I meet up with brother Andrew Kayserian of Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute, who is of Armenian descent and lives a few blocks away on Northern Boulevard. On our trip a few years ago, Andrew was the one who opened his basement for us to live in for a few days, all 8 of us on a fold up futon, and a place where I will forever remember his mother’s home made sausages. A graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Andrew is familiar with Manhattan but himself has never had a lot of the items on the list today and decided to join me on this epic journey. Good food always calls for good company. Besides, it’s no fun to eat alone!
After making a mega list and google map of the places that I wanted to try out, mostly of cheap eats, we decide to start in the Chinatown area after getting off the Chinatown Van ($2.50) from Flushing to Catherine Street in Chinatown. From there we will walk up Eldridge St, up Mott St, Across Houston St, Up 1st Ave, and then all around East village. Its a plan partially planned and partially left up to the fates and the capacity of our tummies.
Don’t wear sandals like I did because you will get blisters from all the walking. Maybe it is better to wear sneakers. Dress light as it is hot and humid (think sweaty balls) in New York during the summer. Also, bring lots of cash: all the cheap places take cash only, even some of the not so cheap places take cash only, so bring cash! Also it is a plus to have an I-phone and the yelp app to search and detect where you are along the journey. Make sure you go with a friend or two, preferably two but no more than 4 as it can get cumbersome with too many people. Remember you are on a mission.
Prosperity Dumplings, 46 Eldridge St # 1
After taking the quick Chinatown van from Flushing, we hop off at Eldridge St and head north. Around us, Chinatown, after over 100 years of existence, is alive and kicking with fresh fruit markets and bakeries and all the fake chanel and louis vuitton bags hidden in back alleys you could ask for.
If you walk too fast, you just might miss Prosperity Dumplings where you can find the delectable items listed on the “Best of Cheap Eats 2009” list by the New York magazine.
There is not much to this store front operation: the decor is minimal and there are only 3 seats by the window and plastic utensils for wares. A hole within a hole in the wall, where sometimes the best foods in the world can be found.
For here they serve 5 pork filled dumplings for $1.00 ! What the heosauce?
We order one and it serves as an appetizer for the beginning of our trip.
The gentleman behind the counter quickly opens a wok and plops 5 out for us on a styrofoam plate.
The dumplings are fried and crispy on the bottom yet soft from the top. The skin is slightly chewy and tasty, the pork and chived fillings are savory and delectable. Not bad for $1.00, I would say even better than some dumplings I’ve had for five times that amount.
Here as many places around Manhattan, I observe the reach of the California based spicy red sauce known as Sriracha aka the spicy Rooster sauce. This is the first of many times we will meet the Rooster along our trip. We add a dab to spice up our dumplings.
Tasty Chomps rating!!!!
4 out of 5 Tasty chomps !!!!
After our last bite of the dumplings, we get up and continue our journey up through Chinatown to get our next New York fix: the Vietnamese sub sandwich aka Banh Mi at Banh Mi Saigon on Mott St and Grand.