Social Saturday – 2019 Queens International Night Market

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Almost two months ago we were privileged to attend the preview of this year’s Queens International Night Market behind the New York Hall of Science inside Flushing Corona Park in Queens. With a small fee $5 which went to charity, we get the opportunity to taste dishes from returning and new food vendors. Founder John Wang, started the International Night Market back in 2015 in the effort to create a cultural event to celebrate the diversity of immigrants and small businesses. The Night Market was designed to sell dishes at a cap of $6 and in the beginning of this project, I’ve learned that half of the proceeds were going to be donated.

On April 27, there were 54 food vendors that participated in the event. The vendors came from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Moldova, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia. In addition, to the diverse food options, there were unique food creations such as the Moffle Bar and Twister Cake.

This was my fourth time I visited the Night Market and this time my goal was to taste the food at Burmese Bites. This vendor always had a long line because you get your money’s worth. Portion sizes were shareable. So finally we were able to order a dish from Burmese Bites. Burmese Bites were selling three dishes and we ordered the Keema Palata for $6. The dish tasted authentic and really good plus it fed two people, the portion size appeared deceivingly small but it was extremely filling.

During our visit to the Night Market, we sampled food from 7 out of the 54 food vendors. We just want to disclose that healthy food choices during this visit did not cross our minds as we were embracing the diversity that was celebrated through cultural and even fusion dishes. Below are the dishes that we tried that stood out from the event. The total cost of the dishes below we spent was: $40 for two people, which was not bad for 7 different dishes.

There were five other dishes we tried including the Pho Ga (chicken pho soup) from Em Vietnamese for only $5. The soup was really good especially that it was cold that night. The soup was also hot, fresh and filling.

We were already full at this point so we walked to various vendors and we spotted another vendor that we wanted to try: Jibarito Shack which is a Latin food vendor that served sandwiches using fried plaintains instead of bread. As a result we decided to split a low carb sandwich. We ordered the El Dominicano made with roast pork, pickled onions, queso frito and Dominican salami for only $5. The sandwich was definitely low carb but the first two dishes we had previously were better.

We also checked another new vendor called KINIKorean Dakgangjeong & Ganjang Chicken. We ordered the Ganjang (not spicy) fried chicken $5. The chicken was messy but tasty however it wasn’t as crispy as Bon Chon.

The next place we tried again was Joon a Persian rice cup spot that can be filled up with various flavors. We got the Pomegranate Walnut Chicken and Tumeric Beef and Eggplant at $6 each. Personally I like overcooked rice which is a little dried but other people didn’t like it. In addition, the proportion or balance of meat with sauce to rice was uneven meaning that there was more rice leftover after eating the meat(s). The leftover rice had no flavor and once it got cold, the taste was not the same once served hot.

For dessert we went to Wembie for some awesome Farmer cheese donuts ($4). The donuts definitely hit the spot.

We ended the night with Ecuadorean dark chocolate from Element Truffles. These chocolates were raw, organic and dairy free. We ordered a small dark chocolate bar with sea salt and tumeric for $3.

The Queens International Night Market runs every Saturday night starting at 5pm until midnight starting now until August 17 and September 28 thru October 26. It’s free and prices for each food item is capped at $6.

Flashback Friday – Sweet Chick – LIC

Five months ago my friends from college wanted to do a girls night with dinner at the new and popular chicken and waffle spot in Long Island City called Sweet Chick.  Personally I have heard how popular this place was in Brooklyn, but the one in Long Island City was said to be bigger and more accommodating than its original location.  They are also two additional locations, one in Brooklyn and the other in the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

When my friend contacted me on Saturday afternoon, she informed me that this restaurant did not accept reservations and it was walk in only.  Given my knowledge of this franchise’s popularity, I decided to take a cab to the restaurant.   I was glad I did because the nearest train station was closed for routine weekend repairs.  When I approached the restaurant, there was a line going out the door of people putting their names down on the wait list.  As I got closer to the host inside the restaurant, the host was telling each person on line that the wait was two hours.  When I heard that the wait time was two hours, most people walked out, but I stayed so I can talk to the host and even the manager about wait time, when the restaurant did not appear crowded.  Anyways, I put my name down and the host stated that they would try to reduce my wait time and as more and more people decided to leave, my wait time was reduced to 30 minutes.  Thirty minutes was definitely better than two hours.  By the time, my friends arrived and we were finally seated.  To start, I ordered the Pink Noise cocktail ($12).  The cocktail tasted really good (flavors were well balanced), but strong (there were two maybe three different liquors in this cocktail) and I was buzzed throughout the night despite consumption of the fried chicken and waffles.

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Pink Noise – White Rum, Brut, Luxardo, Rhubarb-Ginger Shrub, Lime and Grapefruit Bitters

Now to the food:

 

For the table we ordered the Crawfish Hush Puppies ($11).  The hush puppies were greasy.  The hush puppies also contained corn, which enhanced the texture.  I loved the jalapeno jam because it complemented the saltiness of the hush puppy.  If you don’t want to feel that you’re eating greasy fried fish fritters, the remoulade sauce was a great addition if you want to mask the oily exterior while embracing the crawfish flavor inside.20180428_1959136262720583375910645.jpg

Crawfish Hush Puppies – Remoulade Sauce, Jalapeno Jam

For those who can’t eat seafood, there are the pork belly nuggets ($10), but personally it was too small of a portion for the price.  It was also forgettable.  Personally it was a failed attempt to create a balanced dish of a sweet marinated pork belly with a pickled fruit and the acidic kimchi.

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Pork Belly Nuggets: Kimchi, Blueberry Balsamic Glaze, Pickled Watermelon

On to the entrees…

We ordered three different chicken and waffles dishes ($19 each); all look really good and interesting.  In addition, you can even design your own chicken and waffles meals. 

  1. Nashville Fried Chicken Waffle – my friend ordered this meal because it was one if not the spiciest meal in the menu.  My friends like their meal, I took a bite of the chicken and it was packed with Southern flavors and spice.  If you like hot and spicy, this is a choice you won’t regret.
  2. Buffalo Fried Chicken Waffle – my friend ordered this meal and tasting a piece of that buffalo fried chicken,  it definitely lived up to its name.  What I mean is that this was definitely a chicken and waffles version of Buffalo Fried Chicken. It is a twist from a classic that will leave you satisfied.
  3. Fried Chicken Parmesan – I am a sucker for cheese so when I saw fresh mozzarella on top of a fried chicken served on a little cast iron plate with tomato sauce, it was over. The mozzarella, basil and parmesan waffle complemented the tomato sauce.

Overall the fried chicken was properly battered and the texture of each bite from three different dishes was very consistent.  Plus, the dish helped alleviate the alcohol buzz from the Pink Noise.

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Nashville Fried Chicken Waffle with Milk Jam Waffle

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Buffalo Fried Chicken Waffle – Celery and Carrot Waffle, Blue Cheese

 

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Fried Chicken ParmesanTomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Basil and Parmesan Waffle

To end our evening of awesome comfort food, we ordered the entire desserts menu.  All the desserts were to die for.  If you want to go towards the healthy route, stick with the blueberry cobbler.  Personally I would choose the Daily Special Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, which was amazing.

I realized why service was slow throughout the evening because the chef was ensuring that every dish that came out of that kitchen was up to par and all of our orders did not disappoint.

After sharing this information here on my blog, I am craving chicken and waffles.  I definitely want to check out the other locations especially the one in the Lower East Side.

Cheers!!!