When I wrote about Teranga a few weeks ago I mentioned my unfamiliarity with the food of West Africa. Determined to do something about that, I started looking for new restaurants that would deliver to me. Enter Brooklyn Suya, named for a Nigerian snack of grilled meat, and the blend of peanuts, peppers, and seasoning used to flavor it . To my delight they not only deliver to my address, but they have two different vegetarian options in addition to the meat: tofu or eggplant. I got the tofu bowl, on a bed of rice, with veggies and plantain. Everything was topped with the delicious suya spice – I got Yaji (medium) heat, which was plenty spicy for me. The blend of peanuts and spices were wonderful, mixed with the rice, tofu, and the caramelized plantain it was really something special. Before I knew it I had finished the entire bowl, wishing I had more. At Brooklyn Suya they also sell the spice blend on its own, I made a huge mistake not getting some for my home consumption.
Brooklyn Suya — 717 Franklin Ave
It’s no understatement to say that Xian Famous Food changed most New Yorker’s conception of Chinese food. For me, in particular, their liang pi (cold skin noodles) was eye opening. Cold chewy noodles doused in a spicy, sesame sauce and topped with bits of wheat gluten and bean sprouts – what could be better? Of course they are not the only people who serve liang pi, and there isn’t one near me anyway. So I was searching for a place to get liang pi near me and found that Xifu Food would deliver liang pi to my door.
Xifu’s rendition is different. The noodles are shorter, thinner, and softer. They seem to curl in on themselves, to better hold onto the sauce. Xifu also offers a few other Xian dishes. My veggie rice bowl was topped with a marinated egg and blanched bok choi, and a wonderful sesame sauce. Too bad it was missing the advertised tofu. Vegetarian dumplings, fried until just crisp, were great when dipped into the liang pi sauce. For a little added flavor I put a bit of spicy chili crisp on everything, which made a huge difference. Nothing was as vibrant as the food at Xian Famous, but Xifu will do in a pinch.
Xifu Food — 318 Livingston St
I was craving Korean food the other day, and stumbled across Memphis Seoul. A mashup of Korean and Southern BBQ doesn’t sound particularly vegetarian friendly, but they offer jackfruit in a sweet and spicy sauce. I’ve had BBQ jackfruit before; the texture is a little too mushy for me, but it’s a great vehicle for the flavors. You can get it as a sandwich, but I opted for a platter with a choice of two side dishes. The pickles provided some much needed crispness and acidity, while the cornbread delivered more of the sweet and spicy profile. Next time I’ll have to try the tater tots.
Memphis Seoul — 569 Lincoln Pl
Before the lockdown I would pass by Wheated, on Church Ave just off of Coney Island Avenue, pretty regularly. “I should go there,” I thought. But I kept putting it off, and putting it off. “There’s always tomorrow,” I would think. And then the pandemic hit. Wheated closed for a while, and it wasn’t a sure thing that it would reopen. Then a few weeks ago I saw pizza aficionado and friend Adam Kuban posted about their reopening. I knew I had to act fast.
The pies are named after different Brooklyn neighborhoods. We got the East Williamsburg, a white pie topped with mushrooms, mozzarella, and truffle salt (and we added roasted onions). Due to some unforeseen circumstances we were unable to eat it right away, but it reheated nicely. It was even better cold from the fridge the next day. I need to return for one of their NY Slice style pizzas. I have learned my lesson though; don’t wait to eat at that one restaurant you’ve been meaning to try.
Wheated — 905 Church Ave