|Chinese retirees waiting in line for the Casino bus.|
|How New Yorkers drive: Bob Godfried navigating traffic.|
With over a thousand islands and hundreds of local cultures and languages, there is no single Indonesian cuisine, but a lot of the vendors here were serving food from Sunda and Sulawesi, not as spicy as some Indonesian cuisines but just hot enough to keep things interesting. There was a lot of beef rendang dishes - spiced meat stewed so long it had turned black and tender. Fried chicken was all over the place. Lots of satay meat and peanut sauces - be thankful there are no closeup photos of the peanut sauce. It doesn't photograph well.
|Fish skin and fish logs, fried crisp and spicy.|
Fumie ordered a selection of fish balls with noodle. Fish balls are one of those Asian foods that westerners never get excited about: basically fish meat baloney, a processed goo of grey fish meat formed into logs or balls, and in this case, deep fried until crispy. But add some lime-soy-pepper sauce and noodles and things perk up considerably. We barely missed out on the spicy squid, but Bob tried the next vendor and got what must have been New York's best value in seafood platters.
We then stopped off at a Chinese supermarket and picked up a few things for Budapest. Chinese mega-supermarkets are one of the great benefits of chain immigration (even better than Melania's parents getting citizenship!) A 99 Ranch market has just opened up in nearby Hackensack which means that we can take out from their food court at a moment's notice. It isn't amazing food, but it is authentic Chinese. For some reason New Jersey has never had any good Chinese restaurants. Jersey has lots of Chinese people, but they traditionally took Grandma to nearby New York for Chinatown shopping on weekends, What we do have are some of the worst Chinese take out places imaginable: orange duck sauce over starchy brown gloopy stuff finished with fortune cookies. But over in Queens... people are a bit more demanding. Just west of Elmhurst is Jackson Heights, which is home to one of the larger Indian communities in New York. And that means a lot of vegetarians. Indian cuisine is the only cuisine in which I do not require a gory chunk of bad-karma laden animal flesh to make me feel like I have eaten well.
Some of the best Indian and Bangladeshi food in the city can be found in modest lunch counters located in the back of supermarkets here. There are dozens of places on each block. And not only Indian. The Himalayan community of New York is centered in Jackson Heights. Yes, Nepalis, Tibetans, Gurkhas, and various para-national tribal people who hold jobs on Wall Street. And everybody has got to eat. In the Himalayas, that means momos: stuffed dumplings served with spicy sauce.