Avenue U, located on the border of Sheepshead Bay and Homecrest, is one of the most popular destinations in Brooklyn for Asian groceries. The blocks between Ocean and Coney Island Avenues make up one of the City’s smallest Chinatowns—though one that is growing quickly. In recent years, Asian-owned grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants and other small businesses have popped up here and on some side streets to meet an increasing neighborhood demand.
They don’t just exist for the Chinese community; there are a number of Central Asian businesses also worth exploring, both along Coney Island Avenue and Avenue U. Hop on the B or Q subway line if you’re looking for a specific style of savory pastry or your favorite bowl of noodles; you’re sure to find it at one of the places below.
Chang Fa Food Market
1418 Avenue U
SkyFoods Express, better known as Chang Fa Food Market, expands across two storefronts. It occupies the site of the former Ocean Palace, a popular eatery that served breakfast dim sum; instead of small dishes on pushcarts, you’ll find your everyday needs for a home-cooked meal. The market started out as a small store in Queens before a second location opened on Avenue U. You’ll see a colorful display of fruits and vegetables outside; inside, find meats and seafood, bottled sauces, packaged instant noodles and kitchenware.
1410 Avenue U
Cantonese-style barbecue, or spit-roasted meats, are popular along Avenue U thanks to the area’s growing Cantonese community. Options at Golden Z include soy sauce chicken and roast pork. They also serve dishes like sam bo fan, meaning “three treasures rice”—roasted meat and fluffy rice topped with a fried egg and sauteed cabbage.
Junes Bakery & Cafe
1505 Avenue U
Just outside the Avenue U subway stop on the Q train, Junes Bakery prepares Hong Kong–style breakfast and lunch. New to the neighborhood in 2021, this spacious café is great for on-the-go baked goods such as pineapple buns, steamed cake and egg tarts. If you desire something more filling, their fresh-made beef rice noodle with parsley is a must. Junes also offers a selection of dim sum to go plus popular items such as wonton rice noodle soup and pork with preserved vegetables on rice.
Kung Fu Tea
1422 Avenue U
Kung Fu Tea debuted in Sheepshead Bay in 2011, becoming one of the first bubble tea shops in the neighborhood. The classic Kung Fu milk tea is now a mainstay in the community. They even have a mobile app so you can preorder. Be adventurous and get the taro slush (taro is a tropical root vegetable with flesh that can be purplish, which colors this drink) or the yogurt grapefruit drink.
2612 E. 14th St.
Lagman House is said to be the only restaurant in New York City that serves Dungan cuisine. Dungan people are the descendants of Chinese Muslims who fled China in the 1800s and settled in Kazakhstan, among other Central Asian locations. The food is a blend of Chinese, Russian and Kazakhstani styles. Start your meal in this spacious restaurant with a Dungan-style samsa—a puff pastry filled with beef and onions—or a plate of manti, large dumplings stuffed with beef or pumpkin. Chewy lagman (or “lamian” in Chinese) noodles make a good introduction to the flavors of Dungan food and come in a few varieties. Huaschi soup, with six different types of meatballs, is another satisfying option.
1243 Avenue U
Pho Vietnam offers some of the best Vietnamese pho and banh mi sandwiches on the block. On a cold day, opt for the No. 1 pho on the menu, a bowl of noodle soup with a mix of beef cuts, or the popular bo luc lac, sauteed beef cubes over rice. On a hot summer afternoon, a side of summer rolls and a pork pate banh mi does the trick. For dessert, try a rainbow ice with coconut milk. Vietnamese iced coffee made with condensed milk is a good afternoon pick-me-up.
2678 Coney Island Ave.
For a welcoming vibe and a taste of Uzbek cuisine, check out Tandir Rokhat. This no-frills yet cozy restaurant serves up flaky samsas with minced lamb or pumpkin, and Beliash meat pies filled with meat and onion straight from the tandoor. Popular dishes include the pumpkin-filled manti dumplings, lamb kebab, lagman and the national dish of Uzbekistan, plov (pilaf), a seasoned rice dish.
2828 Coney Island Ave.
Tashkent Supermarket Halal Food has an extensive array of Central Asian and Eastern European foods in its buffet, bakery, dry goods section and fruit stands. The marketplace also operates a halal butcher shop. The buffet serves savory puff pastries like cheburek, a deep-fried dough stuffed with minced meat and onion; mains such as lagman noodles and stroganoff; soups like borscht and kharcho (beef); and salads. There is a dedicated plov section with samarkand, an Uzbek rice cooked with beef. Don’t forget the pickle station for your sides. Pick up some popular Central Asian and Eastern European snacks and sodas while you’re there.
U and Me Grocery & Garden
1404 Avenue U
Find serenity at this green oasis selling a variety of plants and flowers. Despite “grocery” being in the shop’s name, the only food on offer here is for plants. Whether you’re looking for a succulent or bamboo plant, the shop owners can point you in the right direction. There are plenty of lucky cats on display to ensure prosperity—which you might need if you decide to buy a lottery ticket here. Their orchids and balloons make great gifts.
Wing Hing Seafood
1217 Avenue U
At this affordable Cantonese spot, dim sum is served all day. The crispy garlic chicken and Peking duck are favorites, but if you can plan in advance, call ahead to reserve their seafood hotpot special.