Xiao long bao from Diverse Dim Sum (Flushing Mall, 133-31 39th Avenue, Queens), $6-$7.50
Avoid the long dim sum lines and fill up on these soup dumplings — or use them to fuel you on an exploratory food tour of Flushing.
If you’d like to gorge on cheap eats, there are few better neighborhoods in the city than Flushing, where you can walk the streets and eat sub-$10 noodles, dumplings, soups, seafood, and other oddities until you want to curl up in a little ball on the ground and weep for digestif mercy. If it’s xiao long bao — those pork or crab soup dumplings — you’re after, you’ll likely be pointed to Nan Xiang, a dim sum mainstay in the heart of the action where you’ll also likely find an hour-long line. If that’s an impediment to a Flushing food crawl — or you’re just an impatient person — consider heading to the Flushing Mall food court (not to be confused with the sprawling New World Mall or the famous Golden Mall), where you’ll find Diverse Dim Sum doling out steamers of dumplings in minutes flat. Pork xiao long bao will run you $6 for 6 dumplings; crab rings in at $7.50 for the set. Either way, you’ll be treated to puckered pouches that explode with savory soup. One order is plenty to constitute a full meal, but we won’t keep you from journeying on to food coma oblivion if that’s what you’d rather do.
By the way, if you live in Lower Manhattan and the prospect of taking the 7 train out to Flushing is daunting, there’s a better way: Catch the Zhong Hua Flushing-Chinatown shuttle at Division and Bowery in Chinatown. It costs $2.75 for a one-way 20-minute trip, and it’ll drop you about a block from the Flushing subway stop.