Soy Bean Chan Flower Shop in Flushing, New York, is everything its name promises. Just inside a doorway flanked with bouquets of flowers for sale, customers line up at a small counter to purchase homemade soy products.
The store’s most popular dish is a melt-in-your-mouth soft tofu pudding called dòu huā (豆花)—literally translating in Mandarin to “bean flower.” The pudding can be either sweet or savory, eaten with a ginger-flavored sugar syrup or a savory sauce made with chili peppers and tiny shrimp. Mr. Chan, who has been making the pudding for more than two decades, scoops it out of a rice cooker into containers for each customer.
The store also sells fresh soy milk alongside its traditional counterpart, yóu tiáo (油条). The long strips of golden fried dough rest on top of each other in a large rectangular box on the counter. Other quick bites like steamed buns are visible through a small arched opening in the front window.
Further inside the store, there are small sculptures, bouquets, and plants, crowding narrow aisles. The greenery is contrasted by decorations in red, the color of prosperity. Large lanterns hang from the ceiling. Red ribbons are tied around plants. A smiling Buddha faces the doorway, greeting those who pass by on Roosevelt Avenue.
Know Before You Go
The shop only takes cash, for both flowers and the food.