Queens For A Day

Across the street at LA QUINDIANITA BAKERY, owner Luis Ocasio explains the sweet corn cake and the cheese pancakes for sale on the counter. What looks like a half-eaten roasted pig on the back counter seems more interesting. A dish that's originally from the town of Tolimense, it consists of a cooked pig with the meat cut out, mixed with rice and peas and stuffed back into the animal, re-creating the torso.

At LA PERRERA DE JOE's (Joe's Hot Dog Stand) on Roosevelt and 81st Street, Raoul dishes out a Colombian perro with potato chips, cheese, onion, salsa, pineapple sauce and chili. If you want something less elaborate try the Equadorean perro with onion and tomato.

Forget Colonel Sanders. Colombian chicken places, like the POLLOS A LA BRASA MARIO at 81st Street and Roosevelt, do the rotisserie thing well and they offer corn stew and chicken consomme, too.

And then, you're in India.

74th Street has long been the main shopping street for the South Asian population in Queens. The famous JACKSON DINER, with its generous lunch buffet, has been bringing together people of all nations for years. Surrounding the diner are scores of restaurants and stores. You can sample the cuisines of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India off 74th St. at KABAB KING PALACE, where Chinese food prepared with Halal meat is a favorite. But the real attractions are kebabs cooked on three-foot-long spears over red coals. —RMB

Cambria Heights

Go ahead, stick a foot into the melting pot. See, it doesn't hurt. If you've spent most of your life skipping over Queens, start off nice and slow with a trip just to the other side of the Nassau-Queens border. Just over the county line, on Linden Boulevard west of the Cross Island Parkway, is the renewed and vibrant middle-class community of Cambria Heights. This is quite a bit more exotic than, say, Rockville Centre. Here on Linden are Haitian groceries like CHEZ MIELLE, which displays wood carvings and T-shirts in the window. At JAKE'S BLUE MOUNTAIN CUISINE at 228th Street, take-out Jamaican meals of oxtail, goat's head soup and cow foot are dispensed from behind a bullet-proof plexiglass window. The place's motto: "Out Of Many One Pot." Yes, you can get Jamaican food in Hempstead as well, but while you're here in eastern Queens you might as well check out the BOSTON JERK CHICKEN RESTAURANT at 225th Street. At 222nd Street, you'll jump back to Haiti for a lunch or dinner of Creole seafood at the PORT O PRINCE RESTAURANT. For a quick bite, try the CREOLE BAKE SHOP, which bakes and packages hard rolls for numerous grocery stores in the region. The shop's flaky, warm, beef, fish or chicken patties are only 50 cents to a dollar each. Wash them down with a Rexy banana soda and you'll swear you're not on Long Island anymore. —RMB


ASTORIA

Egyptian Coffee Shop
25-09 Steinway St
718-777-5517

Al Iman Food Market
24-31 Steinway St.
718-932-3434

CAMBRIA HEIGHTS

Creole Bake Shop
221-11 Linden Blvd
718-528-1787

Port O Prince Restaurant
221-13 Linden Blvd

Chez Mielle Grocery
221-24 Linden Blvd.

Boston Jerk Chicken Restaurant
224-16 Linden Blvd.
718-525-8284

Jake's Blue Mountain Cuisine
228-01 Linden Blvd
718-525-8130

ELMHURST

Pho Bac
82-78 Broadway
718-639-0000

FLUSHING

Sweet-n-Tart Café
136-11 38th Ave.
718-661-3380

Shun An Tong
135-24 Roosevelt Ave
718-445-9358

Sweet House
40-11 Prince St
718-445-7737

Buddha Bodai Nature
Vegetarian Restaurant
42-96 Main St
718- 939-1188

JACKSON HEIGHTS

Kabab King Palace
74-15 37th Rd
718-205-8800

Seba Seba Bakery
83-03 Northern Blvd.
718-335-4548

Pollos a La Brasa Mario
81-01 Roosevelt Ave.
718-639-5555

Esmeralda De Colombia
83-17 Northern Blvd.
718-205-2484

La Quindianita Bakery
83-26 Northern Blvd.
718-476-8414

Cholado's El Oasis
83-18 Northern Blvd

WOODSIDE

Phil-Am Foods
70-02 Roosevelt Ave
718-899-1797

Philippine Grill
69-09 Roosevelt Ave.
718-779-9893

La Uruguaya Bakery/La Paraguayaita Bakery
68-24 Roosevelt Ave
718-672-1919

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