Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Last week, my intrepid band of adventuresome eaters journeyed to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for an afternoon of cross-cultural snacking. Sunset Park is the perfect microcosm of the multi-ethnic diversity that makes NYC as a whole such an exciting place to eat. Since the 1970s, SP has been home to a large number of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrants--in fact, by 1990s, 50% of the nabe's population was of Hispanic descent. * And since the 1980s, the west side of the park has been home to many East Asian immigrants, who've spread out along 8th Ave. and turned this part of the hood into Brooklyn's large and thriving Chinatown.
But enough of all this demographic background--I'm just trying to get across that an afternoon walking and eating in SP can result in a stomach full of tacos, tortas, bahn mi, dumplings, noodles and more, all within blocks of each other. And that, simply put, is awesome.
Here's a look at our afternoon of face-cramming-- it was cheap (we hit five places and I don't think anyone spent more than $8 at any one place), more than filling, and crazy delicious. I tried to get at least one unflattering action shot of everyone who came, but a select few escaped the the lens. Lucky bastards. Anyhow, some highlights and notes from our trip, below:
Ari slurping dumpling soup from Yunnan Flavor Snack. The soup ($4) was a red-hot, oily, smelly mess of chili oil, pork broth, and thinly wrapped, brain-looking dumplings. YFS is, as far as I can tell, the only Chinese restaurant in NYC serving Yunnan (a southwestern Chinese province)-style cuisine, which is characteristically spicy, herbal, and noodle-heavy. YFS looks like a dump from the outside, but don't be fooled. Get the pork noodle soup (more on this below) or the aforementioned dumplings.
Portrait of a pork noodle soup.
Rizzo, really psyched about some Asian soft drink.
Bertie with the (literally)-finger-licking good pambazo ($6) (see glamour shot below) from Tacos Xochimilco. Pambazos are a cousin to tortas, except that the bread of the sandwich is dipped in a red guajillo pepper sauce and seared on the outside, meaning your figers will be seared in sauce, too. But that's okay, when the filling--potatos, chorizo, avocado, refried beans, queso freco and shredded lettuce-- is this good, a little guajillo pepper stain is worth it in the long run. I've never seen pambazos on a menu before, and I'd like to give credit to the incredible NYC Food Guy for introducing them to me.
The pambazo, bisected.
Justin graphically devouring a pastry from Las Conchitas.