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Best Filipino restaurant in Queens?

Went to Sariling Atin on Queens Blvd in Elmhurst for lunch again today.

Roosevelt Ave in the 60's may have the biggest concentration of Filipino restaurants but so far my experience has been that Sariling Atin is the best of the turo-turo places. (I haven't tried House of Insal.) I've tried a dozen dishes there and haven't had one I didn't like. The choices change regularly.

May 26, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive ethnic CLEAN newish restaurant in Queens?


Most posters on this Board seem to think that the Jackson Diner went downhill about 20 years ago. I'm one of the few who thinks it's still OK.

Please re-read the original post.
I know you're Jackson Heights-centric but the OP was very specifically posting about the Jackson Diner's Bellrose location. I can't talk about the food there. I've been past about 5 or 6 times thinking about going, but every single time I would have been the only customer. Very weird.

May 26, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Mr. Nilsson Restaurant in LIC

Don't remind me. I just read your original review earlier this week and tried to make reservations for tonight, then found out that they gave up on Mr Nilsson.
And even though I never got to try it, it was worth knowing about it just for your review. Thanks, Pooki!

May 21, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

Totally agree with Phil, giving the advantage to Singapore over Penang solely because it's probably much easier to get to Singapore with many more options than Penang.
I was going to add Chengdu as a 3rd choice but Phil beat me to that too.
Just to add another option to the list, if you're looking to add something different, Chiang Mai is a great food destination with options you won't find in Bangkok and it's probably no harder to get to than Penang or Chengdu. (I'm in the process of planning the trip in reverse, from CM to Tokyo or Osaka.)

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

I'm probably too late with this but I just happened upon it, a great post on where to go in Sop Ruak, not far from Chiang Saen and even closer to the Anantara:
It's three years old but the author knows her food and is well respected. And, I bet the un-named resort she was staying in was the Anantara

The Supposed Best Pad Kee Mao in Bangkok

My favorite place for Khao Soi is an unnamed shop across from Hillkoff Coffee, next to Chiang Puak Hospital, about 200 meters north of Chiang Puak Gate.

Khao Soi Mae Sae on Ratchapruak Rd (zigzag north from the Shell station on Huay Kaew Rd) is my solid second choice.

The Supposed Best Pad Kee Mao in Bangkok

Curt, I agree 100%.
I haven't been to Raan Jay Fai, but up here in Chiang Mai social media is more important than substance. Good restaurants fail because they don't get the right publicity on social media and ordinary places survive for years on their reputation. The perfect example is the Khao Soi places. This week especially. The famous ones will be packed. The best ones will be closed for the holiday.

Cape Town and around again

We're staying in the Gardens area for 6-7 nights. So anything within 3-4 kms would be a nice walk. (I posted separately about Simon's Town.

I spend most of the year split between NYC and Thailand so it's easier to say what I'm not looking for. French, Italian, Thai, Mexican. Game would be great. (Thanks, Bruce, for those recs). other African cuisines too.

I can do high end easily in NY. If you have a recommendation for an inexpensive restaurant that serves good, interesting food, I have no problem traveling to get there.


Feb 25, 2015
el jefe in Middle East & Africa

Cape Town and around again

We'll be in Capetown for several days/nights next month. There's great info here from Erica and Ponder but I'm curious if anyone has any updates.

We have reservations at Test Kitchen and will probably have lunch at Pot Luck Club.

We're more interested at this point in downscale than in sophisticated, high end places.


Feb 22, 2015
el jefe in Middle East & Africa

Going to Thailand Looking for Guide

I can only answer for Chiang Mai. There are several local companies offering food tours but imho none of them are worth the price. They all take clients to markets, noodle shops, and food stalls in the main tourist areas. It's nothing you couldn't do on your own.

And if doing it on your own, there is plenty of up-to-date info on authentic northern food in CM if you do a quick search on this board.

Simon's Town, and Noordhoek?

I'll be spending a few nights in Simon's Town next month. I can't find much info on good restaurants there. Does anyone here have recent experience?

Also, I've heard good things about the Food Barn in Noordhoek. If I can work that into my schedule (without a car), is it worth the trip?

Feb 15, 2015
el jefe in Middle East & Africa

Asian Taste 86 in Elmhurst--Mostly Indonesian

Then Java Village rented the front of their shop to that horrid Chinese snack stand and the inside became claustrophobic. I agree with your downhill report on the food too. I stopped going about a year ago. There are just too many other good-to-great places within a few blocks of there.

Feb 13, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

The Sriwan is one of several new places on the river that have opened in the past year or two. It looks nice. I haven't been. Chiang Saen isn't a food destination. According to TripAdvisor the best restaurant is a pizza place 10 miles outside of town.

I try not to spend too much time in Chiang Rai and have never had a memorable Thai meal there. There used to be a great American restaurant, run by a Texan but, sadly, he retired. You might be able to find some useful info here on the expat forum:

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

I live in Chiang Mai for much of the year and my travels occasionally take me thru Chiang Saen. It's a typical small Thai town -- laid back and quiet -- with just enough amenities to make it a pleasant place to spend a night.

Phnom Penh short report

The ant egg dishes are interesting. Usually it's a soup or an omelet. the soups are very herbal and the eggs add a little protein. Technically, the ant eggs are larva too. Usually you would never know what the eggs were but this time of year you'll occasionally get a full grown white ant in your soup.
If you get another chance somewhere on the trip (Laos, northern Thailand, Issan) you should order an ant egg soup just for the photo op!

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

Though I've never been to the Anantara Resort and can't say with certainty, you're probably correct that you'll get toned down spicing for westerners there. The food may still be very good though.

I've been to Chiang Saen several times, though not in the last year or two. It's a sleepy little town where few tourists spend the night. There is a small night market along the river where vendors sell grilled fish and other basic Thai dishes. There are also several noodle shops and small restaurants on the main street that runs perpendicular to the river (Route 1016?). They all do a good job at standard Thai dishes and there is little reason to recommend one over another. I don't recall that any of them specialized in northern Thai cuisine. There are a couple of bigger, newer restaurants on the river as you head south/east out of town but I haven't tried them.

If your meals are included with your room, I'm not sure I'd give up a meal at the Anantara for a green curry or pad see ew at a local restaurant. If they're not, then yes, you should spend a late afternoon wandering around the old city walls and stay for downscale dinner in town.

Plant Love House Another Personal Thai Food Spot

Pretty funny. In Thailand the farang are always complaining about dual pricing on many things including restaurants. PLH has imported that to America with their serving sizes.
That's not the authenticity we need!

Jan 25, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

How to get breakfast in China outside your hotel

My experience, after spending time in 30+ non-touristy Chinese cities, has been that if there is no expat community western breakfasts outside of hotels are even worse than the mediocre breakfasts available in the hotels.
Fresh, hot dumplings and buns were always our choice, along with a McDonald's coffee whenever that was available.

queens: the lesson plan?

Yussdov has great suggestions.
Registan on 108 St is the friendliest of the Uzbek restaurants and the food is equal or better than the others.
Little Pepper certainly is the place to go for Sichuan food but there's little else in the neighborhood.
I'd skip the New World Mall and go to the Golden Shopping Mall instead. New World has better desserts but the Golden Shopping Mall itself is reason enough to come to queens. Nowhere else will get you as many authentic regional options within such a small space.

Dec 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Chengdu Heaven vs Little Pepper?

Little Pepper's braised fish is one of my two favorite dishes there (imho, their cumin lamb is the best of the 20 or so versions I've tried).

The dan dan noodles might be a little better at Chengdu Heaven.

I usually go to Chengdu Heaven when I'm alone. (I bring my bike right inside the mall.) Little Pepper works much better for big groups. The big advantage for Little Pepper is the ease of parking. I don't think I've ever parked more than 100 feet away. CH is a schlep on the 7 train, if it's running, and I wouldn't dream of taking a car.

Dec 26, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

Not a critique of your list, but of mine: It's not "Som Tom Ubon". The excellent Isaan restaurant is "Som Tum Pa Auan" on Soi Wiang Bua. It's a couple of blocks northwest of the Thanin Market, open daily from 9:00am to 7:00pm. No English sign but easily recognized by the number of patrons at lunch time. 20 different son toms, including excellent seafood som tom and a pomelo som tom. The also do a very good larb and moo nom tok.

When you return from your trip, please post a report. I'm especially interested in what you thought of the night markets.

Waterfront Alehouse Closing 12/28

Dec 02, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

Went to SoLao the other night. Very good and very crowded. Foreigner friendly. But despite an English menu with over 100 items, we were few foreigners there. Not sure if the cheap prices drew the Thais or the type of food scared off the westerners. It's the best Isaan food I've tried in the neighborhood but be forewarned, they didn't hold back on the spicing. It was very, very spicy and much better than Isaan 1 Mil %.

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

afaik, all of the "Burmese" restaurants in CM can be further defined as Shan. They all have a mix of Shan and Thai dishes. There's a small Burmese restaurant on the corner of Nimmanhaemin Soi 8. They do the best tea leaf salad by far. Make that one of your snack stops. Nothing else there is worthwhile. There is a Burmese restaurant on the east side of the moat that caters to the backpacker crowd. My one visit did not inspire me to go back. The good news though is that there is one other Burmese restaurant, it's within walking distance of the Nimman area, and they just expanded their Shan menu. They do a variety of seasonal salads that you won't find anywhere like tamarind leaf salad and a fern salad. At lunch time they also have some Burmese curries. I haven't tried them yet but heard that the pork curry is very good. Note that the curries are prepared in the morning and served til they run out. If it's still there in the evening, I'd probably pass on it. The sign out front just says something like "Burmese, Shan, Thai food" with no name. I'll see if I can get you a name/address. Give me a call when you're here and I'll give you specific directions. For now, it's one block north of the Shell station on Huay Kaew Rd.

I went to "Isaan 1 million %" for the first time recently. There are lots of photos on the walls of celebrities who have supposedly eaten there. I didn't find anything exceptional among the 4 dishes we tried. SoLao is literally right across the street from where Wera's was. It was hard for me to not to go to Wera's. I did try SoLao once and thought it was fine. It has expanded since and now has a much more extensive menu too. it's on my list of places to revisit. Yod Sap is pretty far out of town and I can't imagine it's really worth the trip. There are many other similar restaurants. Khen Chai Issan inside the moat is very good when they're not too busy and will give you an explanation of their Isaan dishes not on the English menu. Som Tam Ubon on Wiang Bua Rd near the Tanin Market does a wide variety of perfectly grilled meats and Isaan dishes, especially their Som Tam Seafood. Open for lunch only. You could even go to the Sode Coffee Shop on Suthep Road opposite CMU and get some good Isaan food. It's a family business. One side is a student coffee shop in the garden and the other side is Krua Bella, serving a very good larb, hang lay curry, and green curry. you can sit anywhere and order from both.

Sorn Chai is very good. If you wind up near Tapae gate, it's your best choice in that area. I've never been to "Loong Thai Khao Gaeng (Lung Thai)".

I would make it a point to walk past Tong at about 7:00pm on your first night in CM and decide if all the camera toting Bangkokians waiting in line are wrong. They're certainly not there for the atmosphere. Save one of your later evenings for dinner there. They only have a limited menu at lunch. Huen Muan Jai is equally good and has a much nicer atmosphere but Tong is what the Bangkok tourists line up for.

Mary is partially right. It's always better to go with a group and get more dishes at most of the places I mention dishes are usually $2-3 each, making it easy to order 3-4 dishes on your own. Sharing, though, means you'll have room for 4 or 5 meals a day. I agree with everything else she wrote.

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

Thanks for the compliment MissMasala, but I was hoping to avoid this thread. I haven't eaten here so I can't comment on the food, just the menu.

Yam Som O is one of my favorite dishes. It's both spicy and refreshing at the same time. I can't think of too many other dishes that meet those basic qualities. I love wing bean salad but don't see that too often in NY. If Kao Soy's version is good, that alone might be worth the trip.

I also like that they use zucchini in their green curry. I use it whenever I make green curry. It's a good substitute for the pea eggplants that are very uncommon in NY. Most restaurants use long beans, which is a deal breaker for me.

It sounds like many of their dishes though are nouvelle Thai. There's nothing wrong with that. If it's good it's good. Gaeng Hang Lay is always made with fatty pork belly and no other protein. I've never seen it made any other way, ever. I've tried many versions, mostly to eliminate the fattiest ones. I prefer a more non-traditional Hang Lay curry where the meat to fat ratio is much higher. (My dogs prefer that I get the fattier versions. The plastic bag that the sticky rice comes in makes a great doggy back for a fatty treat.) The top round and fried drumstick may be for western tastes so they can eliminate some of the fatty pork, or it's a reason to charge a higher price. Either way, it sounds interesting.

They also do a non-traditional Khao Soi. In northern Thailand, it's always one drumstick, never two, though you can sometimes get a pork version. The huge bowl and double drums is certainly for western taste and pricing. And a papaya fritter? Is that in the khao soi or on the side? That's the Brooklyn version!

We all know there are many authentic, traditional, Thai restaurants in Queens serving excellent food. If Kao Soy needs to tweak it a little and do something different to succeed in Red Hook, then they're pretty smart and will do well.

I won't get to try Kao Soy on this visit to NY. I'm off to Chiang Mai in a few hours!

Nov 02, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Pawpaw / paupau fruits

The paw paws are long gone for the season.
please send me an email off list for a possible alternative solution.
If you click on my name above this post, my email address is in my profile.

Oct 30, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

No pressure!
I vaguely remember some kind of crepe/dosa station at Five Star. I've only been there a few times on weekends and it's been a while. btw, afaik, it's still there.
Jackson Diner used to have a dosa station on weekends but it might be even longer since I've been there on a weekend.
I'm going to try to get to Kerala Kitchen this weekend.

Oct 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Where to shop other than Trader Joe's / Whole Foods...sterility vs. other [moved from Chains board]

Jen, thanks for pointing out the middle ground. Taking your example one step further, I only know of one restaurant that does a better palak paneer than TJ's frozen version. There's always a box or two in my freezer. Whenever I get a chance I stop at Tawa Food and pick up a package or two of their paratha to go with it. The leftover paratha also goes in the freezer.

Most of my shopping is at local supermarkets (Key Food, TJ's, etc) with an occasional stop at an ethnic market when I'm passing by and have time.

Oct 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

Well researched and very ambitious.

Congratulations on choosing the Nimmanhaemin area to stay in. It's tourist friendly, there is plenty of English spoken, yet very few western tourists.

You've obviously read the previous threads here so there's no need for me to add anything but I'll help you cull your list a little.

The last post to D-Lo's FB page was March 1, 2012, just before they abruptly disappeared.

Wera's Larb Phed moved across town to the other side of the river. I haven't been to their new location yet but I hope to get there in November. For someone new to town, it will be impossible to find. Taxi, songthiew, and tuk-tuk drivers are useless. If I remember to take a camera, I'll try to post a photo of their sign and I'll pin it on a map. But even so, their limited hours of 6:00pm-9:00pm may make it one of your back-up choices.

You picked the busiest time of year for Thai tourists, especially in the Nimman area. Lots of places there will have long waits. One of the few places inside the moat that will have an equally long line is Huen Phen. I recommend that you skip breakfast and get there for lunch between 10:30 and 11:00am. After that, service will suck, especially for a single diner, and they'll run out of many items.

SP Chicken is only open dinner time.

For markets:

You're really not missing much by not being there for the Sunday Walking Street. Saturday Night on Wulai Road is much better for shopping. The food is equal.

For the markets you mention in #5, I've never heard of Malin Plaza. The Tanin market is the biggest of the others. It also has the longest hours, from 8:00am to 8:00pm, though 10:00am to 5:00pm is probably best.

The Tom Phayom Market is smaller and may have the most fresh fruit vendors. I do buy my sai Ua there but I don't know the name of the vendor stall.

Chiang Mai Gate (south side) has both a morning and a night market. The morning market sells fresh food. in the evening, vendors set up along the moat in a typical night market. From late morning til late afternoon, it's very quiet and little is available. Chiang Puak Gate (north side) has an almost identical setup. The famous Cowboy Hat Lady with her stewed pork leg is here.

The Somphet market is the smallest and is marginally more expensive because of their location but that location also makes them the best for non-Thai speakers.

The Kad Suan Kaew market is Wed thru Sat in front of the mall. it's the oldest, lowest class mall in CM. The night market reflects that. It's good for snacks but little else.

There are small night markets that set up all over Thailand. if you have time and want to see a typical one nearby, just cross Huay Kaew Rd to the new Maya Mall and walk a few hundred yards north. There is a market that sets up every night near the Tarin Hotel and another, smaller one just past that. A very local market but easy to get to and get by without a word of Thai.

I'm not into the CM coffee scene but since you're on Nimmanhaemin you should go past Ristr8to. They have an award winning barista. The crowd and lines will spill out the door on most afternoons and evenings.

I'm leaving for CM on Sunday and will be there thru April. If you'd like to be able to try several dishes at some of the places, my wife and I would be happy to join you for a meal or two.

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

Thanks. I have trouble getting there for their weekend buffet and haven't been back since they changed management again. I've recommended Kerala Kitchen (and New Kerala Kitchen, Taste of Kerala Kitchen, etc) in the past but couldn't do so now without knowing the current state of affairs. Keralan is my favorite regional Indian cuisine and, as you said, it's very different from the typical fare at most Indian restaurants.
If you say it's still good, that's good enough for me.

Oct 23, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs