Monday, October 12, 2015

"For many New Yorkers, Queens---home to La Guardia and JFK airports---is a place of arrivals and departures, a place one passes through en route to somewhere else: the city's gateway to the world. But for those of us lucky enough to live and eat here, Queens is a world unto itself. An entirely delicious one.

How could it not be? The borough has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country. Name an immigrant group and I'll point you to where they've settled in Queens: Greeks and Egyptians in Astoria; Thais in Woodside and Elmhurst; Mexicans in Corona; Nepalese, Indians, Bangledeshis, and South Americans in Jackson Heights; Chinese, Taiwanese, and Koreans in Flushing... It's a patchwork, polygot landscape that, not coincidentally, offers up some of the city's finest momo, bao, tacos, moussake, pad kee mao, dosas, kebabs, kasha, soup dumplings, and almost any other far-flung speciality you can think of---often just an elevated train ride away.

Yes, Queens can seem baffling to outsiders. It's New York's largest borough by area, a sprawling, gritty streetscape where 30th Avenue intersects 30th Road and 30th Drive, street addresses involve numbers like 135-25, and a good many signs and menus are not in English. This might explain why visitors and residents from across the river generally stayed away, at least until recently---while a certain other borough next door grabbed all the attention. But while the brownstones of Brooklyn may have a corner on charm, Queens traffics in a different sort of energy: Its allure is authenticity, and its beauty is on the plate.

Lately, however, a palpable shift has occurred as more New Yorkers wise up to Queens's endlessly varied food scene. Among savvy and hungry locals and out-of-towners alike, it's become the borough to explore, and to eat your way across."

From the article, The World Across The River, in the October 2015 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Written by Stephen Orr.

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