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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

The Food Is Out to Get Him

This Funny or Die promo for the upcoming season of Man v. Food is moderately amusing, mostly because of the shot of the Fruit of the Loom apple guy guarding the torture room door at the end.

Gigantic, Perfect Korean Buns

Near kimchi specialist Seoul Do Soon Yi in Garden Grove, hounds have found Myung Im, another Korean hyperspecialist. The restaurant specializes in wang mandu, which are huge steamed white buns, very similar to Chinese baozi but much bigger. Like, one will probably fill you up. We're talking gigantic.

Myung Im cooks them to order, which is awesome, says Lau, because they come out superfresh. The steamed dough is fluffy, and not quite as sweet as the Chinese version. Fillings are excellent. The kimchi and meat dumpling involves quality ingredients, finely minced, in a perfect filling-to-bun ratio. Meat dumplings are even better: There are mushrooms in the filling, and you can really taste the quality of the meat.

Myung Im is in the food court at the H-Mart, and there are about six Korean specialists there. It takes 10 to 15 minutes for the buns to come, and Lau was told that for absolute primo enjoyment, you should wait an additional 15 minutes for them to fully steam out.

Myung Im [Little Saigon]
8911 Garden Grove Boulevard #3, Garden Grove
714-638-4009

Discuss: Myung Im - awesome korean wang mandoo (gigantic steamed korean buns) in Garden Grove

Crispy Pork Belly in Silver Lake

"Wat Dong Moon Lek's pork belly with crispy spicy green beans is my new favorite thing to eat in Silver Lake," says Hershey Bomar. It's "crispy, crunchy, spicy, rich, sweet. I've gone back for the last two days in a row."

"This dish is all I ever get when going to Leks," says crema. It's the balance of basil, green bean, crispy pork, and spicy, lime-y intensity that does it. The owner once suggested that crema try the dish Thai style: with a fried egg on top. It is, indeed, supertasty that way, reports crema.

Other good dishes: Rambutan salad with coconut milk and fresh onions is light and really interesting, says Hershey Bomar. Larb tod is good, sort of like Indian pakoras. Wat Dong Moon Lek noodles come recommended, as do pork soup and Hainan chicken with rice.

"It's small and has a tight, focused menu and everything I've had there has been good to excellent," says soniabegonia.

Wat Dong Moon Lek [Silver Lake]
4356 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles
323-666-5993

Discuss: Wat Dong Moon Lek's pork belly with crispy spicy green beans

A Kimchi Specialist in Garden Grove

Seoul Do Soon Yi Kimchi is a superb kimchi specialist. It's a tiny store, with a bunch of refrigerators filled with various types of kimchi. In large sizes. Be prepared to buy a lot of kimchi. Completely worth stopping by for their goods, says Lau.

Their regular kimchi is genuinely great. It's not overly sweet, with good flavor and spiciness. It's just solid kimchi, says Lau. Their kkakdugi (pickled daikon) is even better.

They also have shik hae, a sweet Korean rice drink that's yellowish, with bits of rice floating around. It's excellent: refreshing, with a very particularly correct texture of rice. "One of the better versions I've had in a long time," says Lau.

Seoul Do Soon Yi Kimchi [Little Saigon]
9972 Garden Grove Boulevard, Garden Grove
714-638-5424

Discuss: Seoul Do Soon Yi Kimchi Co - awesome kimchi store in Garden Grove

Overheard on the Los Angeles Boards

"Super Sal Market in Encino has a relatively newish and expanded hot food section at the front of their market. They now serve Israeli-style schwarma. By that I mean you can get it in a baguette and dressed with amba, pickled mango sauce, with all the accoutrements." - trojans

"I'll add another vote for Quan Hop for pho in a nicer setting. It was probably the first, non hole-in-the-wall Little Saigon pho shop where the kids driving M3's would take their dates for a nice, but cheap, date. They still have to make payments on that Beemer after all." - Professor Salt

"Their mayo-eggplant (babaganoush) in the cold case is the best I know in Los Angeles. They make it themselves and you can taste the smoke...in a good way!" - liu on Eema's Market

From Cheesy TV to Plain Old Cheese

If you're not familiar with Coronation Street, you're probably not British. An epic prime-time soap opera that is the king of the genre in the UK, the show got its start in 1960, making it the world's longest-running scripted television program.

This long windup is all meant to contextualize the following bit of news that just drifted onto the Internet:

"Actor Sean Wilson, who played Martin Platt, swapped Coronation Street for the kitchen as he started a new life as an award-winning Lancashire cheese maker."

READ MORE

Summer Bites and Miniature Golf, Too

The Mets are winning again, the Botanical Garden is opening its farmers' market, and the piranhas are biting at the Hall of Science (did you know you could play miniature golf there, too?). In short, it's shaping up as a full, fun summer around Flushing Meadows Corona Park. And as janie reminds us, no one has to go hungry there.

Just a block from the park, Empanadas Café (formerly Empanadas del Parque) is in top form. On a recent visit janie and two helpers put away a spread of fantastic empanadas with great, fresh fillings: plantain and cheese, spinach and ricotta, sausage and potato, shredded chicken, pesto mozzarella; "we kept eating and eating—love the hot sauce, too."

Next was dessert at Timmy O's, the hound-endorsed frozen custard shop a few blocks away. Vanilla frozen custard (with rainbow sprinkles) and a vanilla shake were pretty much perfect. "This place is just a gem," janie declares—and, owing to its out-of-the-way location, unjustly underpatronized. "I'm worried about their survival there," she adds. "Please go if you haven't been."

Finally, she stuck her head in at Tortilleria Nixtamal, a hound hangout for tamales and other masa treats, and spotted some additions to the menu, including a vegetable taco.

"All of these places are destination spots, not just neighborhood places," janie says. "If you're coming to Flushing Meadow park, or the science museum, or a Mets game, check these places out if you have never been, or return to them if you've neglected them. They are all just great."

Empanadas Café [Corona]
56-27 Van Doren Street (at 108th Street), Corona, Queens
718-592-7288

Timmy O's [Corona]
49-07 104th Street (at 49th Avenue), Corona, Queens
516-242-1843

Tortilleria Nixtamal [Corona]
104-05 47th Avenue (at 104th Street), Corona, Queens
718-699-2434

Discuss: Perfect day in Corona, Queens...

Pork Blood and Brain Crema Wins at Cochon 555

Signs you've attended Cochon 555:

  • You discover a large blob of pork blood mousse dried to your bag.
  • You find a miniature plastic pig lodged in your iPod case.
  • You sleep poorly due to "meat sweats," and come to work with a pork hangover the next day.
  • READ MORE

    Indian from High End to Low

    Hounds who've tried the new Tamarind in Tribeca can't stop talking about the moist, delicious meats from the tandoor. Lamb chops (seasoned with cardamom, cumin, and nutmeg) and venison chops (with pickling spices) are both excellent, slicknik reports.

    It's not all about red meat here. foodwhisperer singles out lobster masala with mustard, tamarind, and coconut milk, served in a coconut shell. And gnocchicroissant reports a beautiful vegetarian thali, a parade of small plates that might include dal, palak paneer (spinach with Indian cheese), vegetable curry and biryani, and poori, the puffed tandoor bread.

    The space, carved out of a former diner by the owner of the popular Tamarind up in the Flatiron, is a gorgeous two-level palace with a special booth for the tandoor chefs. "If you can get past the idea of paying double the price of E. 6th St. Indian restaurants or Curry in a Hurry, you will enjoy the creativity, the ambiance and the quality of really good Indian food," foodwhisperer promises.

    The newly arrived Famous Dal Cart is gorgeous in its own way, a brightly festooned kitchen on wheels that dishes up delicious, dirt-cheap Indian chow to East Village night owls. Black and yellow lentils on rice is $3. For a splurge, try chicken tikka masala with dal, garlic pickle, and rice for $5. Quality can be uneven, but portions are generous and you can't beat the price. "I highly recommend it and hope that this lovely privately owned business does well!" declares hungrycomposer.

    Tamarind [Tribeca]
    99 Hudson Street (near Leonard Street), Manhattan
    212-775-9000

    Famous Dal Cart [East Village]
    Second Avenue at E. 10th Street, Manhattan
    No phone available

    Discuss: Tamarind
    Tamarind Tribeca reviews?
    The Famous Dal Cart - 2nd Ave and 10 St.

    Taco Tuesdays at a Brooklyn Watering Hole

    Out behind the Gibson, a laid-back watering hole that opened last year in Williamsburg, there's a guy who grills tilapia over hickory wood every Tuesday. He tucks it into corn tortillas with cilantro, shredded cabbage, and "deeelicious" spicy white sauce, Phunwithphood says. "A cheap great find, and I recommend it to fish taco lovers out there!" There's also pulled pork on Fridays; no hound reports yet.

    The Gibson [Williamsburg]
    108 Bedford Avenue (at N. 11th Street), Brooklyn
    718-387-6296

    Discuss: FISH TACOS! Hidden find in Williamsburg