Recognized Flushing gem Joe’s Steam Rice Roll arrives in Manhattan next week, with a new shop inside Chinatown’s Canal Street Market.
It’s an expansion owner Joe Rong has been contemplating for a while, wanting to bring his craft to closer to fans in Manhattan, many of who live in Chinatown, he says. The Canal Street Market, at 261 Canal St., between Broadway and Lafayette Streets, is a hip new spot for the Cantonese food vendor, whose original location in Flushing has shined among the neighborhood’s Chinese food scene.
“It’s about the community,” Rong says of the move into the market. “It’s a lot of travelers. I can present rice rolls to more people from around the world.”
The Canal Street menu will mostly mirror the one in Flushing with beef, shrimp, curry fish ball, and pork rice rolls. Customers can add corn, lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, and cilantro to their orders. Chinese crepes will also make their way to the new stall, and new to the menu will be a “Joe’s Signature” roll, made up of his choice of pork, beef, dry shrimp, egg, and lettuce.
In Chinatown, he’ll have two electric-powered stone mills — he brings these over from China and uses them to grind the rice for the batter daily — and one will be used to make soy bean milk, the highlight of the drink menu.
Rong’s meat and egg pancakes, though, will stay behind, and he’ll only be selling large-sized rolls here; “small” ones are available in Flushing. Still, he wants to keep the Flushing prices intact, despite some pressure to raise them to match the new borough he’s moving into, he says. Large rice rolls will cost $6.
In Flushing, Joe’s Steam Rice Roll goes through 60 pounds of rice a day, but Rong doesn’t expect to be as busy in Chinatown, at least not for now. With that extra time, he hopes to experiment with different new dishes from other parts of China, he says.
“I only focus on my food,” Rong says. “I don’t care if we have a lot of customers. I just want to serve good quality food.”
Joe’s Steam Rice Rolls opens Monday, November 19, inside Canal Street Market at 11 a.m.