Contrary to what its name implies, the Golden Shopping Mall isn’t a particularly glamorous place to search for discounts on out-of-season jackets. However for anyone with an adventurous palate and an open mind, the low-key establishment is home to an assortment of culinary wonders worth visiting no matter how off-putting its storefront might initially seem. A non-local passing through the streets of Flushing, Queens would certainly overlook the Golden Mall’s storefront if he or she weren’t specifically looking for it. In recent years, however, the Golden Mall has built up quite a reputation, particularly after it was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Famous foodies, such as Andrew Zimmern, have also ventured there for a quick and cheap meal.
While there is a street-level shopping section, filled with clothes and shoes, the real treasure lies underground in a dimly lit and dirty basement. There, visitors will find a huge variety of food stalls, cramped into a tiny, windowless space. Instantly, they will feel as if they’ve just been teleported to China.
Admittedly, the Golden Mall is slightly overwhelming for first-timers and a stroll through the length of its maze-like interior will give a claustrophobic nightmares, but the food speaks for itself. The vendors serve some of the most authentic Chinese food from regions across the whole of China – from Tianjin, located in the coastal North to Sichuan in the South. The original Xi’an Famous Foods, known for its spicy hand-pulled noodles and lamb burgers, was also opened there in 2005.
Today, some of the more unusual menu items include bone marrow soup, diced rabbit and Wenzhounese style snails.
Update as of November 2019: The Golden Shopping Mall is closed indefinitely for renovations.
Know Before You Go
Take the 7 Train to the last stop and walk to the Golden Mall.