Itineraries

Must-See Jackson Heights

by Jessica Allen, 09/19/2014

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  • Himalayan Heights
    Phayul Restaurant
    37-65 74th St., 718-424-1869
    Himalayan Yak
    72–20 Roosevelt Ave., 718-779-1119
    Mustang Thakali Kitchen
    74-14 37th Ave., 718-898-5088
    Lhasa Fast Food
    37-50 74th St.
    The number of restaurants specializing in Tibetan and Nepalese food in Jackson Heights now almost exceeds those specializing in Indian food—hence the neighborhood's newest nickname: "Himalayan Heights." Phayul, which means "fatherland" in Tibetan, serves specialties from Central Asia in a nondescript second-floor space. Thanks to liberal use of Sichuan peppercorns known as emma, dishes like shoko sil sil ngoe ma (shredded potatoes and green chiles) and laphing (noodles made from mung bean jelly doused with chile sauce) are shockingly spicy. Two other sit-down standbys are Himalayan Yak and Mustang Thakali Kitchen, both known for thalis, small portions of various dishes on a metal tray. To find Lhasa Fast Food, you have to walk through a cell phone store (locally known as Tibetan Mobile), past rows of DVDs in Tibetan and Hindi, and beneath portraits of the Dalai Lama and prayer flags. Keep going until you smell butter tea brewing in the far back. Your perseverance will be rewarded with, among a handful of other things, made-to-order momos, dumplings that are plump as a coin purse and crimped on top. Traditionally stuffed with yak meat, versions in Queens tend to swap in beef, vegetables or chicken, along with garlic, soy sauce, scallions and ginger.

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