LIC Flea & Food is Launching its July Food Festival with an Array of International Cuisine


Last year marked the debut of the Queens International Night Market as well as Smorgasburg’s foray into the borough, but the granddaddy of Queens food markets is surely LIC Flea & Food. (Disclosure: Schneps Communications, which publishes QNS, also operates LIC Flea & Food.)

This year, LIC Flea & Food is launching July’s Food Festival, which means that the market vendors will be more diverse than ever with offerings from Peru, France, China, India, Japan, Jamaica and Taiwan. Japan has always had a strong presence at LIC Flea & Food thanks to my good friend Kazuko Nagao, founder of Oconomi, but it seems like the market is more international than ever as I found out at last week’s tasting.

Every weekend, LIC Food & Flea will highlight a different theme and the visitors as well as judges will be able to vote for their favorite dishes.


All photos by Joe DiStefano/QNS unless otherwise stated

Noodle Code’s specialty was first created 2,000 years ago.

China: Classic Guilin Noodles, Noodle Code
Jacob Ding is a commercial real estate broker by day, but he’s really passionate about the rice noodles from his hometown of Guilin in southern China. The southern Chinese rice noodles, or Guilin mei fen, have been making inroads into Flushing for about a year. When I mentioned this to Ding, he was quick to point out that his noodles are the real deal.

“This is a very special sauce. It’s made from bones and 20 different spices. It cooks for six to eight hours,” he said while assembling a bowl of classic Guilin mei fen. Topped with beef, roast pork, pickled long beans, crunchy fried long beans, garlic and chili powder, Ding’s noodles are some of the best Guilin mei fen I’ve had in Queens.


Ra(Mein)’s summer offering is as refreshing as a cool breeze.

Japan: Crunchy Kale Apple Ramen Salad, Ra(Mein)
One of my favorite things to eat at this time of year are cold noodles and Ra(Mein)’s didn’t disappoint. I have to say though that I’m not usually first in line for things with names like “crunchy kale apple ramen salad,” but the combination of springy cold noodles, apple shredded chicken, carrots and toasted almonds in a sesame dressing was lovely and refreshing.


The upstate New York garbage plate as sandwich.

America: Mac ‘n’ Cheese Waffle Sliders, Rib in a Cup
This BBQ vendor managed to channel the excesses of State Fair food and a Syracuse garbage plate with its new creation: mac ‘n’ cheese waffle sliders. More of a behemoth of a sandwich—packed with pulled pork, coleslaw, cornbread, BBQ sauce and honey—than a slider, this gutbuster just screams ‘Murica.


Fried chicken Taiwanese style via LIC

Taiwan: The Big Chicken, Yumpling
“Oh, wow yen su ji,” I said to Jeffrey Fann, the Taiwanese-American founder of Yumpling. The salty, crispy chicken is more typically found  in Flushing or Elmhurst. Fann’s Big Chicken is a cutlet that’s been seasoned with Taiwanese spices, and expertly fried before being lashed with basil aioli. It’s some of the best fried chicken I’ve had in Queens.


The Big Easy meets the Big Chill. 

New Orlean: Sweetface Snoballs
To cap off the evening’s tasting, I had an authentic New Orleans snoball, served up by self-proclaimed “authentic New Orleans lady” Rebecca Duckert. “So which New Orleans fried chicken do you like better, Willie Mae’s or the other one?” I asked as a test of her authenticity. “Oh, you mean Dookie Chase? It’s good, too,” she said with a smile. And then she made me a New Orleans-style snoball, finely shaved ice topped with an orange syrup known as nectar. Sweet and cold, it was every bit as good as a Dominican shaved ice. It made me feel lucky to live in Queens.


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