Sandy’s Deli & Roti, 12110 Liberty Avenue, South Richmond Hill, Queens
Buss-up-shut, a Trinidadian flatbread, resembles a tattered, busted-up shirt (or shut in West Indian parlance) — thus the name. Try pairing it with the Pumpkin Curry, seasoned lightly with onion and garlic, and a side of Tomato Choka (roasted tomatoes tossed with raw onion). It’s a soothing, filling meal.
Golden Palace, 140-09 Cherry Avenue, Flushing, Queens
This cold noodle dish from northeastern China effortlessly balances its bold flavors: ample garlic, sprigs of fresh cilantro, sharply acidic black vinegar, a dash of nutty sesame oil, crushed red pepper and something mustard-like with savory undertones. The thick mung bean noodles are ideal for conveying that utterly addictive sauce down the hatch.
Woodside Café, 64-23 Broadway, Woodside, Queens
This substantial Nepali “snack” combines house-roasted and flattened rice flakes with a spread of spicy, savory dishes, including black-eyed peas cooked in North Indian spices, stir-fried mustard greens, spicy daikon pickles, soy beans tossed with mustard oil and ginger and a dense yet crisp deep-fried lentil patty. Take a bit of the crunchy rice, mash in a dab of another dish (or two) and enjoy the contrasting flavors and textures.
Arepas Café, 33-07 36th Avenue, Astoria, Queens
Venezuelans stuff almost anything into their arepas (griddled cornmeal cakes). Arepas Café’s Guayanesa Tropical arepa is filled with a particularly satisfying combination: fried sweet plantains, creamy wedges of avocado, and firm, mild Guyanés cheese. Add squirts of the creamy guasacaca (mayo blended with green peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime), and you have a full meal in your hands.
Kopiaste Taverna, 23-15 31st Street, Astoria, Queens
These fried vegetable patties pack bold flavors and minimal heft—everything Eastern European potato latkes are not. At Kopiaste Taverna, they’re made with grated zucchini, sharp feta, dill and scallion. They’re crisp and golden outside, soft and light within and unencumbered by excess oil. Order a bottle of Keo, a light Cypriot lager, and savor this Greek-Cypriot drinking snack.
Anne Noyes Saini produces The Sporkful podcast by day and explores restaurants and regional cooking whenever she can. She also contributes to Narratively, NPR The Salt, Serious Eats, Real Cheap Eats, and Feet in 2 Worlds. She lives in Queens, where she aspires to learn how to make all the food she loves — from arepas to za’atar. Follow her on Twitter @CitySpoonful.