Restaurant Review: Dim Sum Palace

Details: Located at 334 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036. The official site is

I didn’t come here for the dim sum, I came here for the takeout. Had the general tso’s chicken lunch special where, as at most place, you get a soup (got corn soup) and rice (got vegetable fried rice) with the chicken. Cost around ten dollars. Overall, it was okay. The vegetable fried rice wasn’t great.

Score: 5/10

Restaurant Review: Ming Xing B.B.Q.

Details: Located at 35-14 Farrington St, Flushing, NY 11354. I couldn’t find an official site so here’s the yelp page:

Ming Xing BBQ is a place specializing is Xi’an barbecue skewers. Their twist is that you get to cook it yourself at your table. I usually find communal cooking with friends to be a fun activity and it was pretty fun here despite the many times we burned our hands.

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Restaurant Review: iCook Buffet

Details: Located at 133-24 42st Ave., Flushing, NY, 11355. I couldn’t find an official site so here’s their yelp page:

iCook Buffet is an all you can eat hot pot place in Flushing. I’ve written about hot pot before. To summarize, hot pot is when they give you a pot of broth and let you cook the food yourself. Often times it’s communal in that there is a big pot in the middle for everyone to share. iCook Buffet gives each person individual pots so you don’t need to mix food.

You can choose from four kinds of broth. I think they were clear, spicy, something with a bone in it, and a fourth that I can’t recall. They’ve got all the classic stuff like fatty beef, leaner beef, lamb, fish, spicy/numbing pickled fish and beef, fish balls, seafood, vegetables, etc. I enjoyed my time here. I usually do at all you can eat hot pot.

Service was so-so. They all have tablets to take your orders so it was easy to just point at things in case you don’t speak Chinese. They mostly speak Chinese here.

Total price for hot pot was around $22.00. I came here on a weekend afternoon.

They also do all you can eat Korean barbecue, which I did not select. No opinions from me, but I read some reviews off Yelp and the reviews crapped all over their Korean barbecue. It’s probably safer just to do hot pot. Plus, the Korean barbecue looks like it costs extra.

Score: 6.5/10

TV Show Review: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, “Sichuan,” Season Eight Episode Three.

I am an unabashed fan of Anthony Bourdain television. I’ve pretty much watched every episode of every series Anthony Bourdain has been responsible for. Strangely enough, it never occurred to me to write anything about them… until now. This is largely because in this episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain spends almost the entirety of this episode torturing his good friend, Eric Ripert.

For those who are unfamiliar with Ripert, Eric Ripert is the executive chef and part owner of Le Bernardin. Le Bernardin is a three Michelin starred restaurant in New York City that specializes in seafood. Accordingly, Eric Ripert is one of the most well known and respected French chefs in New York City, in North America, and in the western world. How wonderful is it then that we get to see him suffer for forty five minutes from spiciness and alcohol poisoning? And Bourdain does torture the hell out of Rupert in this episode to hilarious effect. They have a real bromance brewing and it’s really fun watching them make off color jokes and constantly make fun of each other.

Parts Unknown episodes generally try to give the flavor of a place with a heavy emphasis on food. Some episodes try to show the opposing views of an issue relevant to that location. That obviously does not happen here. There’s no general freedom to publicly criticize the government in China. Instead we just get some humorous scenes that show off some of the food in Sichuan. This was still really entertaining, even though I would have liked some commentary on the politics of the country and the opinion’s of Chinese citizens. On the other hand, there’s no point in asking for opinions if it means putting Chinese citizens at risk of “disappearing” or getting sent to jail. Especially if it’s just for a some travel and leisure show on CNN.

Anyways, it’s a fun episode and really educational. I’ve had a lot of authentic, Chinese style Chinese food (in contrast to American style Chinese food, e.g. Chinese takeout), and I’ve never been good at verbalizing the differences between Chinese and American food. This show definitely helped in expressing that difference. Most Americans I know who’ve tried authentic, traditional Chinese food generally find it disgusting because the goals of western cuisine and Chinese cuisine are different. Where Americans like the texture of battered, fried, fatty food to what many in this world would consider a disgusting degree, Chinese people like gelatinous, liquidy, chewy, and meaty food to a degree that many in this world would consider disgusting. This is why so many beloved Chinese dishes consist of sauce covered organs or other chewy parts of the animals (like pig ears, chicken feet, intestines, etc.).

It’s realizations likes this that make this show so interesting. There are few shows that are as successful at accurately conveying foreign places in a digestible, hour long program for American audiences. It’s just fun to learn about new places and see things that you would not see unless you purchased a plane ticket, flew over for a while, and knew someone who actually knew the nuances of the area and was willing to show you around. Thanks to Parts Unknown, I get to experience something similar with substantially less hassle.

Score: 8/10

Restaurant Review: Tianjin Dumpling House

Details: Located at Golden Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing, NY 11355.

Came here with a friend. I’ve eaten in the mall before, but I generally hate eating in such a cramped, dirty basement. He didn’t care and wanted dumplings anyways.

There are many other establishments in here, mostly hand pulled noodle and hotpot places. Tianjin is just a dumpling and cold dishes place though. They have a variety of boiled dumplings priced at five to six dollars for twelve dumplings. For the most part, boiled dumplings generally taste the same regardless of what’s in them. Just meat and vegetables mostly in these dumplings.

The other thing they do here are the cold side dishes. They have things like tofu, pig ears, pig tongue, sausage, some kind of organ and some other stuff I can’t recall. A lot of it is drenched in the same spicy, numbing red oil. I generally love this stuff, even though it gives me indigestion. This is still true despite my dislike of spicy food. The spicy oil isn’t too spicy and the numbing effect is just mild enough to enjoy.

As for service and ambiance… well its a basement, with stools, broken tiles, and all manned by a single person behind the counter. There are other people there, but mainly one person does all the work of interacting with customers.

Score: 6/10 In regards to ordering, the menu hangs off a wall and is written in English. As for the cold dishes, you can just point at them as they are on display.