Elmhurst — a burgeoning Chinese food destination — now has its own big and buzzing location of an Asian food court, a new location of Flushing mall food hall HK Food Court.
Housed in a building that was once an HK Supermarket, the new food court at the corner of 82nd Street and 45th Avenue contains room for 26 vendors. All but two of the spaces are currently in operation, plus a spacious seating area that accommodates approximately 200 people.
The lineup is diverse, reflecting the population of the neighborhood: Tibetan, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, and regional Chinese including Henan, Fuzhou, northwest halal, and Sichuan food are all available. In terms of specialty offerings, there are eight noodle shops, one dumpling stand, a live fish stall, a dessert shop, and three bubble tea stands. According to the NYC Department of Planning, 48 percent of the total population of Elmhurst is Asian, with half of that subset made up of Chinese and 21 percent Southeast Asian.
For Emma Aisha Ma, who’s from the northwest Uyghur region of China and runs XinJiang House, the Elmhurst location provides an opportunity to feed an underserved demographic, she says. “This is all halal food,” she says. “Because I see [many] Muslims here but not too much halal food.” Her stand’s best-selling items so far are spicy chicken with noodles made in-house, spicy lamb feet that have been steamed for three hours, and lamb pilaf with carrots, onions, raisins.
The still-evolving food court bears markers of its newness and adaptation. A large corner stall has a sign up in Chinese, announcing that it’s for sale or rent. Khao Ka Moo — which started with a limited offering of Thai-style stewed pork, fried pork, and Hainanese poached chicken — has recently added fried chicken over rice to its growing menu. And Tibetan vendor Khawachen, whose owner is also behind Lhasa Fast Food and Lhasa Fresh Food, took the carrot momos off its menu when they weren’t selling.
It’s another sign that Elmhurst’s population is changing; some in the area have said that the vibes are more low-key compared to Flushing, leading to more Chinese residents moving to the area. On a recent Sunday evening, there were long lines outside many of the stalls, including noodle shop Lan Zhou Ramen, cold noodle stand Liang Pi Wang, and Chili Boiled Fish, which offers fish filets in hot chile oil.
Here’s a rundown of what’s on offer, listed in order of a clockwise walk-through from left to right:
Al2Paca TMD: Assorted bubble tea and fruit drinks
Shikoku Teriyaki Express: Teriyaki to order
Khanom Thai: Owner Poky McCarthy makes traditional Thai treats such as mango sticky rice and butterfly pea jelly in-house, but she also sells packaged goods, as well as savory beef and rice dishes and fish curries cooked by her neighbors and friends.
Just Noodles: First-time food business co-owner Kevalin Thammasut says the stand’s tom yum noodle soup ($9.95) is the big hit so far.
Hang: Taiwanese classics including stinky tofu, beef noodles, and pork belly buns
Khao Ka Moo: Thai food, including stewed pork, Hainanese poached chicken, and fried chicken over rice
XinJiang House: Chinese halal food, such as spicy chicken with noodles, spicy lamb feet, and lamb pilaf
I Luv Pho: Vietnamese
Nood by Mamadee: Co-owner Jidacar Sudchit, who once worked at Masa, is now part of the family business running this Japanese-Thai noodle shop named after her mom.
Liang Pi Wang: Popular orders include the signature liang pi cold flour noodles made in-house ($6) and egg crepes stuffed with lettuce, crispy noodles, yellow bean sauce ($4), according to owner Andy Li.
Lan Zhou Ramen: This stand serves oxtail, beef tendon, vegetable, and seafood noodle soups ranging in price from $5.50 to $9, plus barbecued skewers of 20 items, including squid, shrimp and eggplant for $5 each.
Mr Liu Hunan Wide Ramen: Owner Vincent Liu says his bestsellers are Western spicy chicken ($9.99) and lamb noodle soup ($8). A new addition to his menu is duck vermicelli soup for $9.50.
Lao Ma Spicy: This spicy dry pot vendor allows people to customize bowls from a selection of 50 ingredients, including fish cake, lobster ball, ham, winter melon, and potato noodles.
TBaar: Assorted bubble tea and fruit drinks
Mama’s Kitchen: Their Cantonese chef serves yellow croaker fish noodle soup and curry chicken, as well as Shanghai-style dishes such as rice cake with shredded pork
Yuan Muwu: This stall serves Fuzhou snacks such as garlic shrimp ($5.75) and beef skewers ($4), peanut butter noodles ($3), garlic grilled oysters (market price) and noodle coups ($8.50) with your choice of five toppings including clam, yuba and mushrooms.
City of Prosperity (Chinese characters only) and KinKhao Thai Street Food: still under construction
Chicken Noodles and Fen: Owner Tim Sun says they specialize in a rich and creamy chicken paitan broth that’s cooked for 10 hours. It’s the cousin to the more popular pork-based tonkotsu broth and is served with either the paitan noodles which are “thinner and harder” and the fen rice noodles which are “a little softer.” All noodle dishes range from $8.99 to $10.99.
New Prosperous Japanese Restaurant (Chinese characters only): Japanese
Famous Food: This stall specializes in assorted handmade dumplings, from pork and chives to spinach and egg. Prices range from $7 to $9 for 15 pieces or $9 for 12 pieces.
Hey Chick: Taiwanese fast food snacks such as crispy chicken, fried squid tentacles, rice-stuffed chicken wings and chicken burgers are available for under $6 here.
Kung Fu Tea: Assorted bubble tea and fruit drinks
Fujino Uchi Japanese Ramen: This stand offers snacks including shrimp and soft-shell crab tempura and fried pork chop for less than $6 and seven ramen dishes from $8.50 to $9.99.
Khawachen: Thenthuk, a Tibetan noodle soup, comes with lamb, beef, pork, chicken or vegetable for $8. Momo fillings include beef, chicken, chives, and radish, and eight come in a $6 order. Additional cold noodle and dumpling soups, as well as fried noodle dishes, are on offer.
Chili Boiled Fish: This stand serves assorted seafood, from fish caught straight from their live tanks to pickled frog, spicy crayfish, steamed crab, and sea whelk. Orders of fish filets in hot chile oil or pickled vegetable soup range from $17 to 35 based on size.
HK Food Court is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Several vendors are cash only.