Food Stall Review: Shandong Time-Honored Brand (these are the only English words I could find on their packaging)

Details: Located at 136-21 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354. It’s in a small mall/food court. It’s in the food stall directly next to Joe’s Steam Rice Roll food stall. It’s a very small stall compared to Joe’s.

Score: 7.3/10

I originally found this place while wandering around one day not knowing what to eat. I remembered that there was this low key food court nearby and found this little food stall manned by a single woman. I bought one of her baos/breads and was instantly addicted to it. I’ve since visited this food stall at least once a week and often times a few times per week. The bao’s here are meaty, juicy, delicious and most importantly, relatively cheap.

Below is a picture of their menu/flyer.


There’s a backside to the flyer, but I haven’t tried anything from that side. Besides this place primarily focuses on their bread.

The bread here is generally filled with some kind of protein, vegetables and usually heavily spiced. What really captivates me is the texture of these stuffed breads. The bottom of the bread is very crispy while the top is flaky and browned. It’s interesting because these are Chinese style breads, but if you know anything about Chinese buns, they usually aren’t like this.

Usually, Chinese bao’s or buns are steamed. Also, the buns are mostly flour and water, resulting in an end product that is mostly fluffy. The bread here is browned, flaky and extremely crispy on the bottom. That means that there’s some butter or oil involved. I don’t think a tandoori was involved, but a tandoori oven where they stick the bread on the sides would likely have a similar effect on the bread. More practically, she probably used a normal oven and baked them on a special board that heats up well in order to crisp up the bottom of the bread while keeping the top flaky.

The style of this bread is a little different from your standard Chinese style breads, but I am so glad they did it because it is delicious. As an American, texture matters and the contrast in textures is wonderful. Your average, white, steamed Chinese breads lack not only the contrast in textures, but flavor since the dough is mostly flour and water. The bread here does not have that problem with the obvious use of either butter/oil.

I’ve tried a lot of the breads here so I’ll give a quick run down of a few of them and my opinion of the below. Keep in mind that the English names for these items are badly translated, so I’ll try to explain what they actually are.

The Orleans Chicken is the first item listed on their menu. Generally, when I go to a restaurant, I try to stick to the top of the menu because the top listed items are usually the best, most commonly ordered items there. As you got further down the menu, food generally becomes ordered less often, lower quality, and mostly not good. So you should be able to judge a place by the first few items they decide to list on their menu. With that in mind, the Orleans chicken is pretty damn good. It’s a baked bread stuffed mostly with white chicken meat and onions, along with a enough spices to color the filling reddish. It is not spicy though. It is very juicy despite being white meat. The top is brown and flaky while the bottom is crispy. At the price of three dollars, it is sufficiently portioned stuffed bread that you cannot go wrong with ordering.

The number two item on the list is their Black Pepper Beef bread. This is actually my favorite one I’ve tried so far since it is basically a well seasoned hamburger stuffed inside their signature bread. The burger patty is filled with onions and has a ton of pepper flavor, which is great since I love pepper, but I can see how some people might not love a substantial amount of pepper and be turned off from the thing.

Pork with plum dried vegetables is their third listed item. A more accurate name would be plum dried vegetables with pork since is it mostly vegetables with a bit of pork. It’s mainly pickled vegetables, so if you don’t like pickled stuff, you probably won’t like a bread filled with them. I found it to be a bit too much for me.

The spicy squid was the one I was most hesitant to try. I just wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a squid bao since that is not a traditional flavor. It’s actually mostly vegetables with a few strips of squid. Not the best thing on their menu.

The Fish-Flavored Pork bread is a very badly translated food item. It’s simply pork with vegetables and mostly root vegetables at that. I can’t name all the vegetables, but I saw some radish (I think…) and some wood ear mushrooms. I think the reason they called this Fish-Flavored Pork likely resulted from a mistranslation of the name of peppers that are included in this bread. There are some spicy, red peppers in this bread that give it a little kick. This is a spicy bread.

The Pork Filling with Sauce is simply fatty pork with eggplant. I normally love fatty meat. Fat equals flavor after all. However, this was bordering on too fatty even for me. They egg plant doesn’t help since the texture of the eggplant just makes the whole thing taste even fattier. This is one of the less appetizing bread’s on their menu.

I also tried the Cuming Lamb Stuffing one. Unlike the other breads, this one was priced at five dollars. This was good, but I think the Orleans Chicken and the Pepper Beef are just as good without costing two dollars extra.

I also tried the Wu Dalang Biscuit. It’s a flat bread with a spiced spread of either meat or tofu, I couldn’t be sure. Wrapped in it is some lettuce and a hot dog. It’s basically a Chinese style falafel. This wasn’t great and reinforces the notion that if you come here, just get the stuffed bread.

Overall, I love this place. All the breads I’ve tried are delicious, flaky on top and crispy on the bottom. With the exception of the Cumin Stuffed Lamb, all the breads I had were only three dollars… which is an amazing price give the portions and flavor. The only demerit I’ll give this place is that some of the breads I’ve bought were later in the afternoon or at night and the breads were a little cold. However, that’s an issue you’ll get at any any place that sells baked goods. The best time to get a stuffed bread from this place is early in the day when the baking is first done. The later in the day you get, the colder and worse the quality of the bread will be. Even still, I love this place.

Below are some more pictures of the bread.

Flaky top.
Pork with Plum Dried Vegatables filling. Probably my least favorite bread I’ve tried there, but still pretty good. Plus a shot of the crispy bottom.

Food Stall Review: Pat LaFrieda, Meat Purveyors

Details: Located at 2 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10121. More information can be found at http://www.thepennsy.nyc/pat-lafrieda/ and http://www.lafrieda.com/

Score: 6/10

This place is a food stall inside Pennsy, a food court in Madison Square Garden. The food was good, but damn expensive.

I got the original black angus steak sandwich for about sixteen dollars. It was pretty damn good for a food court steak sandwich that they reheated on an assembly line convection oven. Unfortunately, it cost SIXTEEN DOLLARS. It wasn’t even that big. Never again.

Overall, it was a good sandwich, but way to expensive to justify the taste and small serving size.

Food Stall Review: Happy Wheelie

Details: Located in the small mall at 136-21 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354. A claimed Yelp page can be found at https://www.yelp.com/biz/happy-wheelie-%E9%96%8B%E5%BF%83%E7%B4%85%E8%B1%86%E9%A4%85-flushing

Score: 7/10

This place is just a small food stall that sells these sweet, dessert cakes filled with some sweet fillings. It’s pretty damn good actually and delicious when eaten hot and freshly made, which they always are since they are made to order. All items on the menu are priced two for $5.

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Food Stall Review: Thai Express

Details: Located at the food court at Hong Kong Plaza, which is located at 3711 Main St, Flushing, NY 11354. An unclaimed Yelp page can be found at https://www.yelp.com/biz/hong-kong-food-court-6-thai-express-flushing

Thai Express is a food stall in Hong Kong Plaza’s relatively new food court.

They only make four things here: Hainanese chicken, fried chicken leg, chicken cutlet… and one other thing I can’t remember. I like that since it simplifies things. Everything costs around ten dollars. You can get a Thai iced tea for a dollar extra with your order.

I had the fried chicken leg which came with rice and a small soup. The chicken was well seasoned and it came with a nice sweet and spicy sauce.

Overall, pretty good and likely the least redundant option in that food court.

Score: 7/10

Food Stall Review: Taco Dumbo

Details: Located at Pennsy, the food court at 2 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10121. The official site is https://www.tacodumbo.com/

Pennsy is a food court at Madison Square Garden. Taco Dumbo is a food stall inside. It’s a really hipster-y food stall.

I ordered the Wild Salmon Nori Taco for four dollars and the Chicken Tinga Taco for four dollars. The nori taco was more like sushi than taco and was dressed with a chipotle mayo. The chicken tinga was your regular taco. Both were okay.

Overall, it was okay for the price.

Score: 6.5/10