Restaurant Highlights in Queens: Cuisine From Around the World

Here are some recommended spots for dining in the borough of Queens.

Tasmia Afrin ‘23 enjoyed the steamy bowl of pho at District Saigon.

Tasmia Afrin

Tasmia Afrin ‘23 enjoyed the steamy bowl of pho at District Saigon.

Queens is home to 2.2 million people with 130 languages spoken from over 120 countries. It’s diverse, to say the least. Whether you go to the Flushing or Long Island City, you know that you can find a good affordable restaurant, no matter what type of cuisine you are interested in. Here are a few of my favorites.

District Saigon: 37-15 Broadway, Queens, NY 11103

Located in Astoria, walking distance from Steinway Street, District Saigon is a traditional Vietnamese restaurant with a modern twist using locally sourced ingredients. The father and son duo, Liam and Michael Lien, opened District Saigon’s doors in 2016. Coming to New York as a refugee working as a dishwasher, Saigon is a special place for Chef Liam Lien. That was only the beginning. 43 years later, Chef Lam’s hard work paid off. District Saigon is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in New York City. 

For Tasmia Afrin ’23, District Saigon is one of her favorite restaurants. “The food is rich with flavor and made with love and care. The distinct smell and taste of the pickled carrots and daikon are still fresh in my mind, which just goes to show that foods and taste play a big role in memory.” When you walk into District Saigon, you feel welcomed. The bright atmosphere and the beautiful artwork around the restaurant set the scene for a perfect night out. District Saigon is a special place not only for the owners but the customers as well. “At the start of January 2017, my dad took me to a fairly new restaurant called District Saigon. It was the first time I ever had Vietnamese cuisine, and I fell in love with the pho and summer rolls. I still have very good memories of the restaurant, and in middle school, I went there every month,” Afrin said.  

When asked about recommendations, Afrin was thrilled to talk about her favorite dishes. “I usually get the ‘Grilled Chicken Bún Vermicelli’, beef brisket pho, and summer rolls (gỏi cuốn). I love the food so much because there is such a variety of rich flavors mixed with the chicken, meat, cold vermicelli noodle, and the peanuts and sauce. The complimentary plate of bean sprouts and a slice of lemon from the smiling staff always made me feel welcomed and loved. The ambiance of the restaurant was excellent, as everyone was lively, upbeat, and respectful.” Needless to say, District Saigon is definitely a must try. The prices of all their dishes are affordable and the atmosphere is amazing. You can definitely get a taste of Vietnam at District Saigon.

Mritika Rahman ’23 enjoys multiple dishes with friends after school, while dining at Iki restaurant. (Mritika Rahman)

Iki Restaurant: 133-42 39th Ave, Flushing, NY 11354

Iki Restaurant serves a variety of modern Japanese cuisines. Iki is known for its Omakase, a tasting menu of 10-14 courses made with premium ingredients. These ingredients are flown in from Japan to give customers a taste of true Japanese cuisine. The atmosphere at Iki is relaxed and peaceful, giving a very modern chic vibe. Mritika Rahman’‘23 came here with her friends on the last day of her junior year and left with good memories. “We ate here on the actual last day of school during my junior year when we were done with A.P. exams and tests and homework. My best friends, whose birthday fell right in the middle of those stressful months, didn’t get to celebrate, so this outing was like their makeup birthday celebration. I remember asking the wait staff if they did anything special for birthdays, and they said they could give us ice cream. I’ll always remember this restaurant as the place where my friends and I got matcha ice cream and sang happy birthday a month too late,” Rahman said. Although Iki Restaurant is on the pricey side, the service, atmosphere, and food make it worth it!

While dining at Shu Jiao Fuzhou, Maitri Sarkar ’23 tried their famous $3 peanut noodles. (Maitri Sarkar)

Shu Jiao Fuzhou Cuisine: 4118 Main St, Queens, NY 11354

Definitely one of the best cheap eats in Queens can be found at Shu Jiao Fuzhou Cuisine. Shu Jiao Fuzhou Cuisine has two locations, one in Chinatown and one in Flushing; both are lively and comforting. Shu Jiao Fuzhou Cuisine is considered a hidden gem of New York City, specializing in authentic Fujianese cuisine. They particularly became famous in early 2022 for their $3 peanut noodles. Lines wrapped around the block at both locations to try their famous cheap delicious food. After discovering this on TikTok, Maitri Sarkar ’23 had to try it. “The peanut noodles are amazing! You can tell they were made by hand and the peanut sauce is super good. The restaurant is nice and in a great location. I go here once a month with my friends; it’s nice seeing everyone grow to love this place as much as I do.” Although they are famous for their peanut noodles, their $4 dumplings and their $6 noodle soup dishes are equally delicious and worth it!

Chapli & Chips: 257-03 Hillside Avenue, Queens, NY 11004

Unlike the other restaurants, Chapli & Chips is a food truck. Specializing in Afghan and Pakistani street food, Chapli & Chips became famous for their handmade kebabs. While waiting in line to get their famous two-way platter, Abir Bhuyain ’23 couldn’t get over how perfect Chapli & Chips is. “It’s a very aromatic and inviting place. It is a hub for the South Asian community in the far east of Queens, down Hillside Avenue. The people working there are always excited to make you whatever you want, and there is no limit to the tastes they can create. The smoky chapli that they put on your platter is always perfectly cooked. The meals they create cannot be beat.” 

Chapli & Chips prioritizes buying from local grocery stores, such as Patel Brothers and Apna Bazar, in order to give their customers a true taste of South Asian cuisine. Whenever you are on Hillside Avenue, you must get a kebab platter from Chapli & Chips.

Tamashii Ramen: 71-34 Austin St, Queens, NY 11375

Known as the best and first Japanese ramen restaurant in New York City, Tamashii opened its doors in 2013. Located on Austin Street in Forest Hills, Tamashii Ramen serves authentic Japanese ramen. Tamashii’s upbeat and lively atmosphere is what makes Karishma Ramkarran ’23 enjoy this restaurant. “Whenever my friends and I come home from school towards dinner time, we always go to Tamashii Ramen. Not only is it accessible because of how close it is to the train station, but the food is amazing. The atmosphere has cool colors which give a nice vibe once you enter. While you’re waiting and eating your ramen, the outside noise isn’t disturbing your experience. Since it’s a small restaurant as well, it gives a welcoming feeling like a ‘mom and pop’ store,” Ramkarran said. Tamashii Ramen is known for their ramen that is packed with flavors and for their reasonably prices. 

RyRy’s Kitchen: 90-40 160th St, Queens, NY 11432

Inside the Jamaica Food Court is a hidden gem called RyRy’s Kitchen. Specializing in Jamaican cuisine with a modern twist, RyRy’s is a must try. The second you walk into RyRy’s, the smell of their famous mango chile salmon and their rasta pasta tempts you. Afrin came across this restaurant when she was on her solo food crawl through New York City. “In RyRy’s Kitchen, I learned such a great lesson about cuisine and dining; you need to expand your flavors and palates to realize how big the world is. I immediately wanted to discover new cultures and cuisines and hope to one day incorporate it in my own cooking and life,” Afrin said. Jamaican cuisine is new to many people, but RyRy’s mouthwatering affordable meals make it easy to learn and explore new cultures. 

Needless to say, Queens has the best eats in the city. You can get the best Vietnamese food and explore Jamaican food with one train ride. Queens is home to hundreds of types of cuisines which makes it the best borough to have a delicious food crawl and a true taste of New York City’s diversity. 

Needless to say, Queens has the best eats in the city. You can get the best Vietnamese food and explore Jamaican food with one train ride. Queens is home to hundreds of types of cuisines which makes it the best borough to have a delicious food crawl and a true taste of New York City’s diversity.