The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

The Good and the Bad at the Flushing Mall, Plus Mooncakes

The Flushing Mall isn't a dead mall, but it's not exactly bustling. As far as I can tell, most people go there for the food. Or to get wedding portraits taken. Or to learn chess. (The cornerstones of being Asian!) If you walk out of the food court to the second floor and make your way towards the eastern part of the mall, you'll come across the more retail-oriented section that veers on dead-ness. But unlike conventional malls, it has a secret weapon, buried somewhere past the clothing and near the "not quite 99 cents, but still cheap" store.

Chinese Korean Noodles and Dumplings

HANDMADE DUMPLINGS! And noodles. But I had my mind on dumplings.


Here are the dumpling choices:

  • Fives kinds: Sea cucumber, shrimp, pork, egg, crab meat
  • Four kinds: Sea cucumber, shrimp, pork, egg, napa cabbage (...yeah, that's still five; I dunno)
  • Three kinds: Shrimp, pork, chive
  • Pork with chive (surprising not called "two kinds")
  • Five kinds vegetable (no idea what the vegetables are)

With enough eaters, I'd totally want to order every kind of dumpling. But seeing as each minimum order was for 18 dumplings (if only I knew why), I would've needed to bring way more people than Serena and Jason (who are great eating buddies—and just my luck, neither of whom live in NYC). Just because you can eating 18 dumplings in one sitting doesn't mean you should. And I can. Oh, how I can.

...But not on that day.


Our order of boiled pork and chive dumplings (my favorite kind) came with a side of crunchy shredded cabbage kimchi. Some crunch and fibrous matter to go with your dumplings is always a good thing.


The dumplings were plumply stuffed with juicy pork and chive meatwads. OH THE MEATWADS, how they glistened. Even better when dipped into the spicy soy sauce. As much as I like living in South Williamsburg, it will never have anything as awesome as these homemade dumplings, unless I track down a Asian mother/grandmother with culinary skills and convince her to adopt me.

Although we would've happily eaten more dumplings, we limited ourselves for a reason—with each of us only carrying six dumplings each in our bellies, we had plenty of room left for more.

so promising, yet...
It glows with promise

In particular, we had room for the taiyaki and takoyaki at the west end of the food court. It was surprising to find these Japanese snacks in a primarily Chinese mall. That probably should've put up some red flags for us. But we had so much hope! So much hope for soft fish-shaped cakes with hearts of red bean and little balls of runny, octopus bits-studded dough goo.

The fish is DEAD

Unfortunately, if the woman behind the counter hating us wasn't bad enough, the taiyaki totally sucked. It wasn't just a factor of not being fresh; even if they had been fresh, they probably still would've tasted stale. Not warm, not moist, not pancake-soft, not especially tasty in any way.

Jason stares at the unloved food

We still ate a good deal of it though, with the hope that maybe the next bite would taste better. Fail. Jason gave the evil eye to the taiyaki carcasses.

Oh noes

Like the taiyaki, the takoyaki also suffered from lack of freshness. The skin was much too chewy and the filling was cool, nothing like the molten core of octopus flavored goo it should've been. There must be a point where one can get these fresh, but I don't know if they'd even taste good then.


Our day was saved by an angel in the form of a small tub of shaved ice covered in mango goodies: the Mango Special from the shaved ice vendor. I prefered it to the random jelly and bean-based substances, which I mostly enjoyed as an adventure in trying to identify the compositions and flavors of the unidentifiable things that I have no problem shoveling down my throat. Everything in the Mango Special was easily identifiable: ripe mango chunks (Pinkberry could take some advice in the "using ripe fruit" department), sweet condensed milk, and a fist-sized ball of creamy mango ice cream. The shaved ice was disappointingly chunky, but the ice cream and mango bits more than made up for that. I say down with the frozen yogurt craze and up with shaved ice.

little cakes!
Aw, some of these are mutants

On the way out, Jason bought a bag of freshly made custard-filled dough nugget things from the Delimanjoo stall. Think of a taiyaki if it were made to look like a weenie stalk of corn and were about two inches long. Way better than the taiyaki.

Yeh's Bakery
Whenever I look at that awning, I think of Canada

To help burn off some of our lunch, Jason led us on mild trek to Yeh's Bakery in search of mooncakes for the Mid-Harvest Festival.

flaky mooncakes inside
Oo, pastries

We hit the mooncake jackpot. Yeh's had little else besides traditional pressed mooncakes and flaky Taiwanese mooncakes, and judging from their stacks of special mooncake boxes and constant flow of customers, their mooncake-making skills were well known. Unfortunately I was too full from lunch to think of getting any mooncakes (when I'm full I tend to forget that my body will soon deplete of energy stores and want more food), but Jason bought a few boxes to share with his family. What a bad Chinese daughter I am.

Flaky moon cake

We only got a couple of feet away from the entrance of the bakery before the three of us ripped into one of Jason's mung bean paste-filled Taiwanese mooncakes. It's a mess to eat since the super-light pastry flakes get everywhere, but the flaky pastry is the main reason it tastes so good (a related flaky pastry of awesomness is the sun cake). ...Besides the filling. I preferred the mild mung bean paste over the strong, earthy jujube/date paste.

I didn't eat anything significant for the rest of the day. That's how I like my weekends: full of long periods of grazing without set meal times. Productivity at its best.

Related: Beef Noodle Soup and Ginormous Shaved Ice in Flushing


Flushing Mall
13331 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

Yeh's Bakery
5725 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355


G / October 1, 2008 4:57 AM

The lotus seed pastry looks nice. What does the Lotus paste taste like? Anything like Almond meal?


Su-Lin / October 1, 2008 6:58 AM

Flushing Mall reminds me so much of the now defunct Oriental City in London. A long trek to get there, rubbish shops, amazing food. Sigh...I miss it.

SuperChomp / October 1, 2008 8:11 AM

I need to find me a dumpling specialist outlet. Just xiao long bao at dim sum just doesn't seem as exciting as a dedicated feast lacking in nutritional diversity.

I'm not sure why I got so excited over your prospect of taiyaki and takoyaki, but it led to me being (probably) just as dissapointed as you that they sucked :(
I'll go eat some in your honour when I go to Japan in a few months time *does a happy dance*

Kate / October 1, 2008 10:28 AM

Mmm, those dumplings look yummy!!

It is so sad that those taiyaki were yucky:(

They look so yummy in the picture:(

Julie / October 1, 2008 12:02 PM

Now I want dumplings. I dunno about the sea cucumber, though. Not much food-related woozes me out, but sea cucumbers ... the sight and thought of them make my tummy feel the way they look, all slimy and shapeless and uncomforgable in its own skin. Anyway, the dumplings were totally steamed--not fried at all?

Yvo / October 1, 2008 12:33 PM

Grahhh, want dumplings NOW!!! I hear you can also buy 'em frozen from that lady, so you could probably go that route? My brother and mom go there sometimes... Bah, I'm going to have to get over my RATIONAL dislike of Flushing, aren't I? >:P

Terry / October 1, 2008 1:20 PM

That sounded like a pretty nice trek through Flushing. Yeh's Bakery has been there for years, so it's good to see that your friend took you there. They have great pineapple bread and scallion bread, especially when you pick some up in the morning.

I'm not sure if you've gone to the stand next to the takoyaki place, but they have pretty good tempura soup. Their noodles are worth a try as well. =)

Caroline / October 1, 2008 2:03 PM

I looooove taiwanese mooncakes. My mom usually sends me the kind with green bean filling. I know you're supposed to eat them in slices, but I usually eat them in one sitting because I am unladylike like that.

By the way, the mango ice looks beautiful. I think I need to break out my shaved ice machine.

roboppy / October 1, 2008 6:16 PM

Melissa: Thanks!

G: Nope, not like almond. It.....uh. Hm. To me it doesn't really have a distinct flavor; I wouldn't say it's nutty. It's starchy and sweet. Eeeuh SOMEONE HELP ME!

Su-Lin: Ahhh, the charm of Asian malls!

SuperChomp: JAPAAN?! BRING MEEE!!..sniff.

Kate: Yeah, the taiyaki and takoyaki both LOOKED okay. But it was a facade.

Julie: I agree, sea cucumbers are blech lookin. Sacs of goo. Green sacs. Once one was shedding on my dad's flipper when we were at the beach...what a strong memory that is. (shudders)

Yvo: Oh yeah, they sold bags of em...but I didn't want to carry that around. Doh. I think being far away from Flushing makes it a little more fun. ;)

Terry: Nope, didn't try the tempura soup! Maybe next time?

Caroline: Haha, slices would make more sense, but NO SLICES FOR ME! I just chomp.

I used to have a penguin-shaped shaving machine. Dunno where that went. Crap.

Yuizaki / October 1, 2008 6:47 PM

Haha, you venture to Flushing whereas I live about a 30 min drive away and still never go to this Flushing Mall place.

You reminded me mom's friend came back from Vietnam with this flaky cake like things but they're filled with....durian....which oddly, I do like to eat...

I'm going to take one to work tomorrow...see if I stink up the place and if anyone would taste it. >.>

rhianna / October 1, 2008 9:46 PM

hi robin! i love reading your blog, but have never commented. so just wanted to say hi. and the funniest mooncake i ate this year was mochi/durian :-) also i didn't know that sea cucumbers shed? not like their have fur... maybe it was shedding brown/green gooby... ew~!

roboppy / October 2, 2008 1:32 AM

Yuizaki: Durian pastries? ..Well, I'd try that at least once. ;) Preferably I'd be in Vietnam though and eating..uh...loots of other DELICIOUS THINGS!

Rhianna: Thanks for de-lurking! I don't know much about sea cucumbers, but it Organs. Yup.

Danny: I didn't eat many sun cakes growing up, but my friend brought me some from Taiwan a year ago..and they were SOOOGOOOD.

Janet: Mega crawlies. I can still remember what the cucumber looked like as it went blooorrp. And that was maybe 15 years ago.

HK-er: Thanks for the info! Someone has actually taken a photo of the magazine for me already.. ;) I got lucky though, considering that you're just the second person to tell me.

emily / October 2, 2008 10:32 AM

Robin, love your posts as always! Those dumplings look good... I've got to try them with kimchi (or a kimchi-like side) next time.
As someone who grew up in Flushing, I can't say I've ever had good taiyaki here. The best ones were at Mitsuwa!
As for takoyaki... the best in the city is at Otofuku in the East Village. You can get some awesome yakisoba and okonomiyaki, too.
I have fond memories of Yeh's Bakery from my childhood. They have this Boston Creme Pie that is so un-American, but addictively good! It's mostly whipped cream and has that light, airy-ness most chinese cakes have.
Lastly, you must stop by White Bear the next time you visit Flushing. It's on Prince Street and it's a tiny little shop. Their specialty is this "red oil wonton"... handmade wontons plated with a sprinkle of pickled vegetables, scallions, and this red chile oil on top --- it's much tastier than it sounds and I haven't found it anywhere else!

Since I've moved away from NYC (upstater now), I've been living vicariously through your posts. Keep eating!! :)

Jane H. / October 2, 2008 4:34 PM

OOOH..dumplings with spicy soy sauce AND kimchi

is the BEST combo! Can't get enough...

Kai / October 2, 2008 8:58 PM

The shaved ice looked orgasmic.*psstt* if you do a best dumplings post I'll be your best friend forever.

Jason / October 2, 2008 9:51 PM

It's actually mung bean paste. Not lotus paste. I definitely prefer all thing mung bean to lotus. HMMM MUNG BEAN!

roboppy / October 3, 2008 8:59 AM

Emily: I LOVE Mitsuwa's taiyaki! Yup, the Flushing ones don't even come close. Same for Otafuku, which I haven't been to in ages.

I want a Boston cream pie!..doh..

Thanks for the White bear rec, sounds great!

Jane: I agree, it's awesome! Too bad there isn't more of it.

Kai: Ooo, best dumplings! I'd have to eat a lot more dumplings to do that well. That's more of a Serious Eats post, hehe.

Jason: Thanks for the info! I am correcting now. I need some kind of ASIAN DESSERT PASTE guide. ;_;

J F / October 3, 2008 10:01 AM

Mmm... Looks yummy! I was just in NYC yesterday tromping around Manhattan. Wish I could've stayed longer. I'd love to try out some of the restaurants you've featured!

roboppy / October 4, 2008 9:06 AM

J F: You can dedicate a day to Flushing next time you visit!

Julie: HAHA WUT THE..I didn't know people sold food on etsy. Innnteresting.

rekha / October 7, 2008 2:33 PM

is the flushing mall where the bing lady is found? I was really sad to hear that the bing shop in nyc had shut as they were very tasty..

roboppy / October 8, 2008 1:33 PM

rekha: Ooh, I don't think the bing lady is there. I dunno where she is, actually. I was really bummed when her place by NYU closed, and worse, got replaced by some boring sushi restaurant! SO WRONG!

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