My Favorite NYC Neighborhood to Explore on Christmas Day

Manhattan might be in a slumber on Christmas Day, but if you take the subway towards Queens and get off at the Flushing Main Street station some 20 minutes later, you will find yourself in an entirely different world. Thousands of people (mostly of Chinese and Korean descent) are out and about running errands, shopping, and celebrating the festive season by grabbing something to eat.

Today, Flushing, Queens is New York’s most populous Chinatown area. There are more grocery stores and supermarkets I have seen anywhere else in the city. And for Asian food lovers there are hundreds upon hundreds of restaurants everywhere you look: some on the main street, but others are hidden on a second floor or tucked away in the back of a basement. Plus, multiple large all-in-one malls (the kind you find in a crowded city in Asia) also offer an expansive selection of food court options.

The busy Roosevelt Avenue in the heart of Flushing feels like Times Square on New Year’s Eve
It’s not uncommon to find announcements and advertising signs entirely in Chinese or Korean
Inside Project KE: a destination for anime and claw machine enthusiasts
One of the numerous all-in-one food malls, on 36-36 Prince Street
At Chocho Hot Pot, a unique all-you-can-eat experience
A line to order at Cuppa Tea – a small joint offering Hong Kong style tea & desserts
At Tangram, a large modern mall with a cinema and a large selection of restaurants
The host at Tai-Er (known for their signature Chinese Sauerkraut Fish) managing a busy line of customers
Preparing a matcha soft serve at Matcha Cafe Maiko
I’Milky serves high quality bubble tea from Taiwan, crafted with natural ingredients and hand-picked tea leaves
Chinese staples at Xi’an Famous Foods
I went for Lamb Dumplings at Xi’an Famous Foods
A delivery driver for HungryPanda, a specialized app (like Grubhub) that only delivers Asian Food. You’ll see most restaurants in Flushing available on HungryPanda, or an alternative app, Fantuan
When you’ve had enough of eating indoors, you can treat yourself to fresh pancakes on the street
…or holiday tunes by local artists
Stretched along the the sidewalks, street vendors offer mixed items — from thrifted homeware to clothing
Yes, you need to stand in line to enter US 1 Supermarket
One of the dozens of food markets where you can get every kind of fresh fish and seafood at one-third of the price it would run at your local supermarket
A street vendor selling sugarcane
The sugarcane is stripped and chopped into ready-to-eat pieces
Freshly made boba at Xing Fu Tang

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Places to explore in Flushing

  • Project KE, a destination for anime and claw machine enthusiasts
  • Fang Gourmet Tea, Chinese tea boutique offering traditional ceremonies and tastings
  • ChoCho Hot Pot, unique all-you-can-eat experience for a flat fee
  • Cuppa Tea, a small joint offering Hong Kong style tea & desserts
  • Tai-Er, a restaurant chain known for their signature Chinese Sauerkraut Fish
  • Matcha Cafe Maiko, matcha-inspired drinks and soft-serve
  • I’Milky serves high quality bubble tea from Taiwan, crafted with natural ingredients and hand-picked tea leaves
  • Xi’an Famous Foods, a chain offering Chinese classics
  • New World Mall, a mall with a large Asian supermarket and an extensive food court
  • Xing Fu Tang offering freshly made boba tea from Taiwan
  • Teso Life, a quirky store for apothecary, stationery, and home goods
  • Zen Ginseng, a store offering ginseng supplements made in Flushing

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