One of the five boroughs of New York that hosts the World’s Fair and Laguardia Airport, Queens is bustling with people from all walks of life and is home to the most languages of any place on earth.
Just walking a few blocks will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a different country where you can sample amazing food from around the world and soak in the different cultures that Queens has to offer.
The four areas of Queens that I have visited (and ate my way through) are Astoria, Jackson Heights, Flushing and Corona.
This area of Queens is famous for its Greek food and lucky for me I have a Greek flatmate that knows a thing or two about what good Greek food should taste like.
A few of us traveled by Subway on a cold Saturday in February to try gyros from a famous street vendor called King Souvlaki. There was already a queue when we got there and we patiently waited in the cold to try this local favourite.
After filling up on some kebab, we headed to Boulis Cafe nearby for some Greek dessert. We all ordered a little bit of everything, trying as many sweet Greek pastries as possible.
We chose one of the rainiest days of the year to head to Jackson Heights. It didn’t stop raining for the entire day, but we didn’t stop running from place to place to try as much food as we could.
Jackson Heights is famous for its diverse range of food. One of the best (and secret) places to grab Tibetan food is located in the back of a mobile phone store. Yes, really.
You have to walk through the store, through to the back of the building to find the little restaurant that holds around four tables but serves the best dumplings (momos) I’ve had in New York and for very cheap prices (it’s Lhasa Fast Food if you can find it!).
After this, we went in search of arepas at Arepa Lady, a Latin American dish made of baked cornmeal. We asked the waiter for his recommendation but also tried to vary our order to try a bit of everyone’s.
I wish we could have stayed longer in Jackson Heights to have a better look around, but it was far too wet for that – all the more reason to go back!
Stepping out in Flushing was like being transported to China; it didn’t feel like New York at all. At one point, someone even asked if we needed help with directions – that’s how out of place we looked!
Flushing is home to New York’s largest population of Chinese
We popped into the New World Mall and browsed the supermarket, saw all of the live fish and watched as the fish monger took out one from the tank, place it in a bag and smack the head’s fish on the ground to kill it. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re vegetarian.
We headed out in the search for some dumplings. We grabbed a beef and veg dumpling pancake from Jie Jie Sheng for $2.75 (it was huge!) which was delicious. I could live off the cheap dumplings of New York, I swear.
From the main streets of Flushing we walked around the more residential areas where there are a lot of nice houses and you may even find a huge Buddhist Temple in someone’s backyard, just like this one:
From there, we walked out of Flushing towards the Flushing Meadows Park where they hold the US Tennis Open, just opposite Citi Field Stadium. The park is also home to the World’s Fair.
Walking through the park delivers you to the Mexican area of Queens, Corona.
As the name might suggest, this area of Queens is heavily populated by Mexican and South-Americans.
We were only able to explore a small part of the area before heading home as it was too hot a day to do much exploring. Before leaving, we did of course dine on some Peruvian food from Pollos a la brasa Don Alex.
Amazing, spicy food that doesn’t hold back on portion sizes. Again, it was like being on our holidays as most of the workers there didn’t speak English, nor did the majority of those around us.
It’s amazing where a short train journey out of Manhattan can transport you!