NY Best Markets: Gold City
Gold City is absolutely one of my favorite shops in the city—as sprawling as a suburban Stop and Shop (and much more interesting). It's like Willy Wonka's factory for East Asian ingredients. If you need something—like, oh, I don't know, bull's penis—that you can't find anywhere else, this is the place to go. It's also highly entertaining to just wander around, finding all sorts of products you may never have seen before, as well as home cooking basics like bok choy, long beans and a big selection of fish for great prices. The produce, meat and fish sections are all quite large and, luckily, do a high turnover, so it's all pretty fresh. In the meat section alone you can find everything from pork shoulder and chicken liver to oxtail and goat, duck wings and pig snouts, and yes, bull penis.
Lotus root looks like something from outer space, tubular with intricate hollows running through it. Slice it crosswise, and you've got very pretty little rounds with what looks like a lotus flower cut out of it. Pat the slices dry and fry them in hot oil until golden and crisp. Then they only need a sprinkle of salt to be delicious. ($1.19 per pound)
The baby bok choy here is beautiful, too. You all know what to do with that, right? Just treat it like any other green. I like it stir fried with ginger and garlic. ($1.29 per pound)
Black silkie chicken, found in the meat section's refrigerator case, has black skin, black bones and beige-ish meat. Don't be intimidated, just treat it like any other chicken. Chinese cooks love silkies for their deep, intense flavor, which makes very assertive chicken soups (add ginger and ginseng). It's also good in a spicy curry sauce, in which its strongly flavored meat can stand up to the sauce. ($5.30 per pound)
Pork jerky, found in one of the many snack food aisles, is sweet and spicy and possibly as addictive as crack. (Formosa brand; $5.58)
Japanese fruit gummy candies are also in one of the snack aisles. They come in all sorts of good flavors like melon, litchi and muscat grape, and they aren't too sweet and have a really satisfying chew. (Kasugai Seika Co. brand)
It's fun to have the makings of a dim sum lunch in your fridge. In the refrigerated section you can find fresh roast pork rolls to steam at home, and in the frozen section there's all sorts of gyoza and shumai. (Pork buns: Mommy's Gourmet brand $2.28; JFC brand shumai filled with shrimp or pork; $2.98)
The best deal, though, is the fresh tofu, for 30 cents a block.
Gold City 4631 Kissena Blvd Flushing, NY 11355 (718) 762-7688 Subway: 7 train to Main Street/Flushing
Below, goodies like dried fish, fresh and frozen dumplings and fresh tofu and seaweed:
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