The hugely popular Queens International Night Market kicked off its third season last Saturday with more than 50 food vendors cooking up the cuisines of, to name just a few, Laos, Philippines, Peru, Barbados, Russia, China, Malaysia, Portugal, Bangladesh, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Chili, Iran, Ukraine, India, Sudan, and Trinidad.
As always, everyone kept their prices low (pretty much everything is $5), so it was easy to try lots of different dishes. Here’s a look at some notable newcomers.
Crickets! (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
- Stop by the Bold Foods tent for some Thai Roast Crickets, simply seasoned with just a bit of soy sauce and looking exactly like a bowl of bugs. These are salty, crunchy, satisfying. You can also get your cricket protein here ground up in pasta, but I figure why bother hiding the insect truth from yourself.
- Head straight for the Grilla In Manila stand when you get here, before everyone discovers how good this spot is. The Longganisa Burger is a terrific five-buck sandwich, the juicy sausage patty is topped with fried egg, tomato, and crisp cucumber, and a spicy vinegar sauce bringing it all together. Even better, though, is the Turon, a scoop of ube ice cream paired with plantain- and jackfruit-stuffed fried spring rolls, with a warm caramel drizzle bringing some sweetness.
- Over at the La Salumina booth, Eleanor Friedman butchers a whole pig for her superb porchetta panini, borrowing space at a friend's restaurant kitchen until she finds her own place. She also bakes the wonderful, chewy ciabatta roll it comes on, and marinates the vinegary greens that top it off. Here's hoping Friedman opens an actual restaurant some day soon, so I can eat this sandwich—and anything else she makes—more often.
- Gladys Shahtou at the Samosa NYC tent is from Sudan, and her pastries are smaller and thinner than their Indian counterparts. Both varieties Shahtou had available on opening night were delicious, one stuffed with garlicky ground beef and another with creamy feta and dill, which she says is a very typical Sudanese filling.
- Bliss Street Creamery is an ice cream maker to watch. Founded by a longtime Sunnyside resident, the "parlor" brought three flavors to market on Saturday and they were all great: a dense and rich Salted Chocolate; a lively blueberry, lemon and thyme sorbet called Best of Thymes; and You Can Call Me Babs, which had a bright tarragon base with a rhubarb swirl.
- I Eat Lao Food was serving two dishes out of their stand, a funky, fiery Mushroom Laap, and Nam Khao, which is like a rice ball with red curry, sweet cured pork, and tart kaffir lime leaves, deep fried and then broken apart upon serving.
I Eat Lao Food. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
Plenty of Queens Night Market favorites were back as well, including The Malaysian Project, Moon Man, Sam's Fried Ice Cream, Burmese Bites, and crowd-pleaser Twisted Potato. Performances, games, art, and merchandise vendors rounded out the family-friendly fun.
The Queens International Night Market is located behind the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and is open every Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight through August 18th, and then again from September 29th to October 27th. $5 tickets are required this Saturday the 28th, and then it's free thereafter.