1. Spicy Wontons from White Bear
If you've not patience or time to dally before your annual sojourn to Flushing Meadows, White Bear offers an inexpensive option for the expeditious eater. Not that dawdling and gawking is a choice at White Bear—the restaurant uncomfortably seats no more than 5 or 6 at a time. But such expedience won't come at the cost of quality. A choice platter of spicy wontons ($4.50) featuring plump and magnificently flavorful pork and chive dumplings, slick with fiery red chili oil, are a stellar archetype of the Chinese food to be found in the borough of Flushing, Queens.
White Bear: 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing NY 11354 (map); 718-961-2322
2. Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) from Nan Shian
Xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, are the undisputed head of the dumpling class. And in my xiao long bao excursions, Nan Shian's made-to-order dumplings ($5.50) are unmatched, eliciting near-obsession from fans. You'll want to drizzle a bit of the black vinegar on your dumplings, and you'll want to carefully prod the impossibly thin skin with your teeth. You'll certainly adore the hot, velvety pork broth within, and after a round of dumplings or two, you might not even mind the chaotic, scrunched seating at both the restaurant and the game.
Nan Shian: 38-12 Prince St, Flushing NY 11354 (map); 718-321-3838
3. Liaoning Chinese Food from Fu Run
If the US Open represents familiarity and legacy, then let Fu Run represent new and revolutionary, at least compared to commonplace Chinese. Muslim lamb chop ($21.95), braised until fall-off-the-bone tender, fried until crisp, and jacketed with an intensely flavored coating of cumin? Yes Virginia, we're still in China. For something more identifiably Chinese, you could opt for the deeply savory and exhilaratingly spicy mapo tofu ($8.95). And it would be a crime to leave Fu Run without trying the sweet taro ($8.95) dessert—screaming hot chunks of fried taro encased in a crunchy, toasty sugar glaze.
Fu Run: 40-09 Prince St, Flushing NY 11354 (map); 718-321-1363
4. Dolsot Bibimbap from Gahwa
Watching sporting events often does nothing but encourage my expanding waistline. How to counter that? Instead of reaching for the predictable salad, a vegetable bomb of dolsot bibimbap ($13.95) is perfect for tempering appetite and girth. At Gahwa, they do this dish right—rife with fresh vegetables and lovely crunchy toasty bits of nurungji, or rice that's been crisped from the heat of the stone bowl. My suggestion would be this: bibimbap for your health and a bottle of soju, only $6 here, for the soul.
Gahwa: 2932 Union St, Flushing NY 11354 (map); 718-886-3223
5. Sannakji (Live Octopus) from Sik Gaek
If you haven't had your fill of entertainment after a day at the US Open, might I suggest additional exhibition at Sik Gaek in Flushing. This recreation comes from the thrill of eating sannakji, the still wriggling appendages of a recently dispatched young octopus ($24.99). And it comes from the refreshing rush of watermelon soju ($29.99), served in a halved and hollowed watermelon rind.
Sik Gaek Flushing: 161-29 Crocheron Ave, Flushing, NY 11358 (map); 718-321-7770