BY TAMMY SCILEPPI
They came, they saw, and now they’re serving up yummy eats in Long Island City.
So, who are they? They are the seasoned vendor-chefs of NYC’s first and favorite night market.
Starting April 18, John Wang’s popular Queens Night Market (QNM) is returning for its sixth season on Saturdays at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. But thanks to a new residency program, lucky LaGuardia Community College students and local Long Island City workers don’t need to wait till spring weekends to enjoy QNM eats: Several QNM vendors have taken over the ground floor of the Falchi Building at 31-00 47th Ave., offering a delicious variety of global breakfast and lunch offerings on weekdays.
Who can say ‘no’ to these tasty delights? Currently on the menu: Polish kielbasa and pierogis from Brooklyn Dumpling; fresh sushi and unique bubble tea flavors courtesy of Anda Café; Argentine empanadas, sandwiches and medialunas from Kiya’s Delicias Argentinas; and Cambodia Now’s must-have beef skewers and fish amok.
Ideally, QNM will rotate in new vendors every several months, according to Wang, who said he hoped that the residency program “is sustainable and profitable for the vendors, while also providing a local food amenity that the nearby students and workforce can take full advantage of.”
“Actually, the developers of the Falchi Building had built these kiosks out [on the ground floor] as an amenity for the building, and last year, they asked if I would help find QNM vendors to occupy them,” Wang said.
Wang also pointed out that QNM curates these vendors, “making sure they’re are all set up – hopefully to succeed.”
With this new location, QNM is expanding its goal of featuring traditional foods that may be hard to find in NYC, made by the people who grew up eating them. Many of its participating vendors are first- and second-generation immigrants living in Queens.
Alex Chen of Anda Café is one of the four LIC vendors. “The Falchi Building is a very cool venue, a very remarkable opportunity to vend in a historic building,” he noted. Anda Café is open Monday through Friday, 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., with offerings ranging from $4 to $10.
Kika Radz of Brooklyn Dumpling, agreed, pointing out that being there gives them a great opportunity to get their name out. “We are in a prime location, surrounded by great tenants and a strong LIC community,” she added. Grab eats ranging from $6 to $12 at Brooklyn Dumpling Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I’m just very excited to serve food indoors for the first time,” said Sokhita Sok of Cambodia Now. “As a Cambodian American, I feel obligated to showcase Cambodian cuisine, since it is very hard to find in NYC. The city is such a salad bowl society where people come from all walks of life, yet they live together somewhat peacefully and still able to obtain a piece of their culture graciously, and I’m very pleased to be a part of it because I get to cook Cambodian food for New Yorkers the way I grew up eating.” Cambodia Now is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with menu items in the $10 to $11 range.
But Rukiya Jamison of Kiya’s Delicias Argentinas, said it best: “I’m a Queens local and appreciate the variety of cultures and foodies that live in the borough. People in Queens know good food and quality, and Latin foodstuffs fits well in the market. I’m excited to offer a popular snack made in a healthier way.” Get a bite from Kiya’s Delicias Argentinas for $3 to $10 from Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Continuing its mission as NYC’s most affordable, accessible and diverse community event, Queens Night Market has welcomed 1 million-plus visitors over its first five seasons. It helped launch 300 brand-new businesses here in New York and has represented 90 countries through its vendors and their food offerings. Last year, the event’s busiest, averaged over 13,000 attendees each Saturday night.