The 5 Best Hidden Food Spots in Queens, NYC

Queens, New York City, New York, Restaurants, Food & Drink, Travel, Things to do
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New York City is one of the world’s great culinary hubs, packed to the edges everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to hotdog stands. For foodies, it’s the kind of city you can spend weeks in without even scratching the surface. Try as you might, there are just too many restaurants, diners, counter-serves and food trucks to sample in a lifetime—especially considering many of them are fairly difficult to find.

All over New York City, there are restaurants operating in alleyways, in the backs of bodegas, in community center basements and more. These are spots that only the most diligent local foodies know about and that most tourists miss, and many of them happen to be located in the bustling borough of Queens.

Without further ado, here are eight of the best hidden-away foodie hotspots in Queens, New York City. Don’t forget to bring your appetite!

Indonesian Food Bazaar at St. James Episcopal Church

Once a month, the parish house at Elmhurst’s St. James Episcopal Church transforms into an extravaganza of Indonesian food that will expose you to flavors you’ve likely never encountered before. This incredible event, known as the Indonesian Food Bazaar, was founded in 2011 by Felincia “Fefe” Anggono, who was driven by nostalgia for her homeland and a desire to introduce more people to Indonesian fare. Access to this bazaar costs just $25, and heaping portions of the proceeds go to tsunami and earthquake-ravaged corners of Indonesia. It all goes down at 84-07 Broadway. Learn more about the next bazaar here.

5 de Mayo Food Market

From the outside, 5 de Mayo Food Market could be just about any other grocery store or bodega in Queens. If you follow your nose through the store, however, you’ll find something pretty unique: a two-man taco stand. The tacos at 5 de Mayo Food Market, which cost just $3, have become tremendously popular among locals, often drawing long lines around lunchtime, but you won’t find many tourists who are aware of it. The tacos, which are are served in toasted tortillas, come with pork, beef, and tripe, but the most popular choices are goat and lamb. Throw on some fresh lime and salsa, grab a spot at a tiny table, and you’re in business. Find this hidden gem at 81-06 Roosevelt Ave.

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Luna de Xelajú

You could forgiven for walking by Luna de Xelajú without noticing it. It’s shoehorned between a laundromat and a pharmacy, and if it weren’t for the mouth-watering aromas that emanate from it, it would be easy to pass right by. Yet it’s absolutely worth visiting. Luna de Xelajú is a Guatemalan restaurant, serving up regional specialties like a shredded beef salad called salpicon and spicy chicken stew called pepian. If you’re not feeling adventurous, don’t panic, they also serve some amazing breakfast options and fresh-baked pizza. Find the food at 88-30 Parsons Blvd, and more information here.

Khampa Kitchen

Khampa Kitchen can only be accessed by walking through a jewelry store so, just like the other spots on this list, it’s very easy to miss. That being said, it’s absolutely worth checking out. Khampa Kitchen serves up Tibetan food, specifically fare from the country’s Kham province. Its main claim to fame is poethek, a meat-filled pastry that cant easily be found outside of Tibet. It also serves up specialties like delicious dumplings called paoze, and delectable noodle soups like lhasa and thukpa. This incredible restaurant is located at 75-15 Roosevelt Avenue. It doesn’t have a website, so pre-visit research isn’t easy. You’ll just have to take the plunge. Trust us, it’s worth it.

La Esquina del Camarón Mexicano

To find La Esquina del Camarón Mexicano, which serves up some legitimately world-class Mexican seafood, you’ll need to wander into the very back of a bodega at 80-02 Roosevelt Ave. This spot, founded by a wizard named Pedro Rodriguez, got its start outside, but ultimately moved into the bodega in question to adapt to its surging popularity, also adding a small counter where patrons can chow down. This restaurant’s specialty is its cócteles de camarones—shrimp cocktail that can also be topped with octopus—but it also serves fried dogfish, octopus tacos, and a sea-bass ceviche. Needless to say, if you’re got a taste for seafood, it’s worth a visit. You won’t find much information about it online, you’ll just need to go check it out for yourself.

St. James Deli

Like some of the other spots on this list, St. James Deli is located at the back of a fairly unassuming-looking bodega. Like all of the spots on this list, its absolutely worth visiting. You’ll find it at 34-02 34th Ave. Once inside, your nose will be overwhelmed by the smell of tacos—a truly stunning range of tacos—along with breakfast favorites like huevos rancheros to eggs perico and a roster of delicious sweets. Seating is limited, with only a handful of stools available, but weather you’re sitting or standing, you’re going to enjoy what you’re eating. Learn more about this amazing hidden gem right here.

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