Ay Chung Steak House
(Inside Flushing Mall)
133-31 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
This title is a bit misleading but it’s the name and address of the stall that sells Stinky Tofu. Located on the bottom floor of Flushing Mall, Ay Chung is one of the many food vendors in the food court of this mall which feels like a step back in time to the Saved By the Bell era of ’80s shopping. You will not find Zach Morris here however; this is a straight up asian mall with a very impressive food court. To para-quote fellow eater Regina, “it’s impossible to find a restaurant here, look at the signs, there is no name or address in english!” You will find a myriad of chinese style (specifically Taiwanese) eateries, each preparing food fresh before your eyes at darn-right questionably low prices. Eatclub set out on a quest to find stinky tofu and Flushing Mall did not fail.
Before the review of stinky tofu, I have to give honorable mention to the cumin flavored lamb bun and glutinous rice disk (insert chinese name here). Accompanied by the honeydew bubble tea, both are excellent and deserve a dedicated review of their own. In short, try anything and everything when you visit.
Cumin Lamb Bun.
Glutinous rice Taiwanese dish.
Stinky tofu tasted nothing like I expected. I enjoy many foods that people have an aversion to: kimchi, cilantro, durian, natto, fish sauce, the list goes on. Stinky tofu does not make that list. I ate 2 deep fried chunks and I could not eat anymore, the aroma was overpowering. Honestly, I can only describe the flavor as a sponge soaked with bad breath. Yes, halitosis; it invaded my sinuses, activated my olfactory sensors and would not turn off. It definitely caught me off guard as I was expecting something very sour, or blue-cheesey, or even miso-like. No, this is a totally new flavor I never experienced before. Keep in mind, bad breath is the flavor I sensed strongest using my nose while tasting (you may notice a different bouquet). The texture is familiar, merely fried tofu, and the taste on the tongue is mild, slightly pungent but otherwise bland tofu. Stinky tofu indeed lives up to its reputation and makes it as my top dislike (followed by pork intestine and celery).
Stinky tofu looks rather benign and innocuous. Beware: deadly to sensitive sniffers.
Don’t let my words discourage you, go out there and try it before you knock it. I assure you, I hesitantly promise to eat this again when/if I ever visit Taiwan.
Flushing mall has some serious cheap, tasty and authentic eats.
I can’t get over the flavor of stinky tofu, tastes like how a mouthful of cavities smells.
The burps after consumption. Can’t tell if you have bad breath or if it was just the tofu.
Bonus review: because it was impossible to fill up on stinky tofu.
Regina says, “it’s impossible to find a restaurant here, look at the signs, there is no name or address in english!”
Is Spicy & Tasty an accurate translation?
Beef stew noodle soup. The spiciness comes from chilis and Sichuan peppercorns so it’s a different kind of heat. Be sure to add as much homemade cabbage topping (not pictured) as you can handle. Very authentic and tasty.
Soup dumplings. Well made considering this place doesn’t specialize in this unique dumpling style.
Omelette with oysters. Very egg-y tasting dish. Add barely cooked through oysters with a sweet tomato sauce and you have some atypical flavor combinations going on. Not bad but not great.
All look same.