Sake Gumi
I'm back!!! I have been terribly UM delinquent- it's been totally crazy over here in the last two weeks, what with trying to finish up stuff at work (impossible) and packing up 6 years of my NYC life into little cardboard boxes (unfathomable).

But I'm taking some time out for the post that everyone has been waiting for- FLUSHING! I brought on Tyson as our guide- he's a true Flushing Pro who had a meticulous agenda mapped out for us. SWEET! I had wanted to tour Flushing since our very first Umamiventure- we had walked across the street to Flushing Mall and the food court like nothing you would find at your local mall- stay tuned to see what I'm talking about.

Tyson incorporated a mall into the itinerary, as well as some stand alone shops to mix things up a bit. I was going to try to do this all in one post, but it's pretty hefty, so I'm gonna break it up into 3 parts. Va bene? Ok.

This was a totally awesome trip, in my opinion one of the best Umamiventures we've had (16 people came out!). Some weren't so enthusiastic, however... read on for all the feedback.

Most importantly though, thank you Tyson for showing us around!!! We couldn't have done this without you!

Photos by Hamamama, Jones and Tyson.


Chinatown to Chinatown Shuttle
Pick up is like every 5 minutes on Division, right east of Bowery.

This is so sweet- for $2.50, you get a shuttle ride from Chinatown Manhattan to Chinatown Queens (Flushing), which only takes about 30 minutes. We got to watch the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies on a flatscreen all the way there- could you do that on the subway? I don't think so.


$1 Pecking Duck Pancake Sandwiches
Corner of Main Street and 40th Road

A takeout window we randomly stumbled upon as we waited for people to get together, right in the thick of Flushing. Check out the neon signs- you can't miss it.

I can't forget the one nice surprise that was not on the scheduled tour - the $1 warm, crispy peking duck in the little bun. What a bargain!

Peking duck takeout was the best! Needs a little more cucumber but what a fantastic idea.

How amazing is it that this is only $1? Seriously, they are made to order, the buns come right out of a large steamer and the beautifully marbled duck is nestled within.


Qin's Lamb Noodle
13631 41st Ave, Queens, NY
T: 917.838.1011

The noodle shop was interesting and needed to be accompanied by someone who has been there and/or spoke Chinese as the menu was entirely in Chinese. Tried a little bit of both the lamb and beef noodle soup. Though the noodles were fresh and homemade, thought they were too thick & doughy and without the chili sauce the broth was bland... an interesting find and definitely off the beaten path.

Delicious. I love the cloud ear mushrooms, the strips of tripe, and the unidentifiable pickled vegetables... This is the ultimate noodle (literally--it's one gigantic noodle!), in texture and mass... I still like Lanzhou/fujianese hand-pulled noodles a lot too, but Qin's has more subtle broth and better toppings.

I don’t like the smell of lamb. I like to eat lamb chop, but hate the smell. I have a lot of olfactory issues. Probably I would eat a lot of cheese if I didn’t have a nose, but the smell always keeps me away from stinky stuff. The place smelled of lamb, lamb, and lamb! The fact that a place where only customers are Chinese, and no English is spoken exists in New York is quite amazing. Noodle was weird. The way the chef stretched it and dumped in the water was cool, but way too doughy. Soup? What soup? It was white, so I am thinking they put lamb bones but it didn’t taste like much. We had to put in a lot of salt and hot sauce. Toward the end, I had to evacuate from the place to breath fresh air. Failure for me.

I wasn't crazy about the lamb noodle venue, partly because I have a low mutton-stink tolerance, and partly because I wanted the broth to be richer (like tonkotsu ramen, maybe?).

The lamb broth didn't have much flavor, adding pepper oil helped it. It was pretty evident that the chef cut corners by using a pressure cooker instead of simmering for hours judging by the way the lamb cubes retained shape as if they were just cut.

I had the beef noodles that were only slightly improved by copious amounts of chili oil. Only took a few bites but it was everything?? There was no flavor. Noodles were nicely elastic though.

The beef noodles were just freaking nasty, and it was even nastier when you had to throw out the remains in a bucket that had a sieve on top (which was one of those cheapo neon green baskets you find at Asian marts).

Like nothing I had ever had- perfect for a cold winter day. I enjoyed the broth- it was light and drinkable. The noodles were really doughy, mochi-like. I especially liked the tripe and pickle toppings. It was neat to watch the guys behind the counter pull these noodles though- they were really sweet too (even though we couldn't really communicate properly).