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Eating Peking duck at a Flushing gem

PHOTO BY JAKE COHEN  The bright, red letters makes it easy for anyone to find Happy Food. If not, the  smell of the food inside does too.
PHOTO BY JAKE COHEN
The bright, red letters makes it easy for anyone to find Happy Food. If not, the smell of the food inside does too.

There are a lot of places to eat outside of Queens College. But to find the best Chinese food in New York City, go to Happy Food.

But what and where is it?

This eatery with large, red Chinese letters is found at the corner of 40th Road and Main Street, right near the Long Island Rail Road station.

But, unlike the LIRR, this place is not expensive. Moreover, it sells Peking ducks that look great, but taste even better.

Happy Food offers Peking duck buns served in the traditional method. This means the meaty duck breast and crispy duck skin is served inside delicious steamed buns. Of course, it includes sweet bean sauce and crisp greens.

The buns are made to order and are always hot and fresh. The duck is not the former, but the constant flow of customers at the food joint ensures the latter.

There is breast meat in each bun and crunchy duck skin rivaling any other combination with the same ingredients. For those who eat duck, they will enjoy the oily, expertly-cooked Peking duck with the traditional Chinese ingredients of steamed buns and sweet bean sauce.

These buns cost $1.25 each, which is cheaper than any LIRR ticket or MetroCard fare.

The corner eatery is usually full of customers from day until night. Brian Grodofsky is one of these people. He takes the 7 train from the east side of Manhattan to the last stop for Peking duck.

“I tried the duck here a few years ago due to the urging of friends, and I was hooked. I got to have it,” Grodofsky said.

His enthusiasm is typical of diners at Happy Food. Plus, despite the busy atmosphere, anyone can eat the Peking duck buns while standing up.

Happy Food also includes stalls inside that specialize in different foods. Across from the duck stall is a one with roast pork.

Just like the Peking duck, the volume of roast pork sold each day means there is always hot, fresh roast pork for customers.

But that’s not all. The spicy beef and tripe, or the edible part of an animal’s stomach, is another staple of the place. With a texture similar to calamari, it is topped with chili peppers, oil and fresh cilantro. The real joy is its rich, spicy flavor.

Dan Herman, a customer from Forest Hills, comes to the place undecided with what to get. He talked about one easy method for selecting either roast pork or duck for dinner—a coin.

“It’s a coin flip. Heads is duck, and tails is pork,” Herman said.

But Herman decided not to flip a coin. He bought both roast pork and Peking duck puns with a portion of lo mein, or stirred noodles.

For QC students wondering how to get to Happy Food, there are a few options. The shuttle bus heading to Flushing ends a few blocks away from the place. Alternatively, there is the Q25, Q34 and Q17.

Whatever the method, Happy Food is one of the jewels in Flushing. You don’t even need a coin to know.

Jake Cohen

Jake is a Long Island native with an encyclopedic knowledge of Chris Claremont's run on X-Men and other useless pop culture trivia. In his spare time he enjoys puppies, kitties, and sandwiches.

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