Incredibly Cheap Eats -- Four Over Rice Plus Soup


Downtown Flushing's BLT, a palace of cheap eats

Like spaceships arriving from another galaxy, cheap eats palaces are setting down in downtown Flushing, among the unreconstructed Chinese and Korean stalls and restaurants. These places took their cue from the Fujianese cheap-food joints of Manhattan's Chinatown, where dishes displayed in the window were still mainly intended to attract Fujinese diners with frog, turtle, and rabbit in red-wine lees, in addition to more recognizable south Chinese standards.

This new-wave over rice place adds Western dishes to its steam table, and offers the nearly unbelievable special of four dishes of your choice over rice, plus soup, for $4.50. Examine the steam table carefully, and you'll find whole fried fish, a heatless version of the Sichuan classic Ma Po bean curd, french fries, fried chicken wings (big!), Chinese-American sweet and sour chicken, and many vegetarian stir-fry combos.

The patronage is a mix of easterners and westerners, and though the food isn't as highly flavored as you might wish, it's wholesome and freshly prepared. Oh, and you can forget the soup -- it's a cousin of dishwater, with a few shreds of carrot and wan egg-drops. 136-49 Roosevelt Avenue, 718-961-0846

A recent choice selection from among the two dozen dishes available (click on the image to savor fully)

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