Queens: that far away borough filled with Mets fans, every type of Asian cuisine imaginable, and the site of my latest culinary journey. Though you might be thinking I have made the trek for some far flung food such as Nepali momos or a plate of Burmese pickled tea leaf salad, I actually have come to introduce you all to my favorite American Chinese food joint across the entire Tri-State area.
Arriving at Fatima’s Halal Kitchen, I was taken aback by how crowded the place seemed to be on an off night. Out of all the Chinese joints in all parts of the city, I had to step into this one as it was getting crushed by orders. Nevertheless, I got seated in a relatively short time and quickly placed my order.
To my surprise, my egg drop soup came out piping hot almost immediately after I ordered it. After throwing in some crispy noodles and adding a dash of soy sauce, the soup turned out to be the perfect starter to wet my appetite for what was to come.
As he mains followed fairly quickly, you can easily tell that they are homemade with care as opposed to simply being combinations of frozen foods mixed together with industrial size sauce bags and MSG that are sometimes seen at other Chinese joints. To begin my trio of entrees, I went with the General Toa’s—not a typo—with fried rice. Like its’ cousin General Tso, the chicken is wok fried and covered with a sweet and tangy sauce that excites the tastes buds and expands the waistline just a bit. Regardless of the caloric implications, this dish is my go to for a reason. Rather than weighing you down with a goopy sugar laden sauce, the sauce compliments, and does not takeover, the taste of the chicken. Throw in a side helping of fried rice and broccoli and you have an instant pick that works either as a late night treat or leftovers on Sunday morning.
Following General anything is typically a challenge but the pepper steak that came right after did not disappoint. The steak was tender and juicy and atypical compared to most places that use scraps and tough leftovers as the meat in these types of dishes. Additionally, the peppers and onions that came with the dish were treated with care and quality and did not seem to be thrown in at the last minute simply as filler.
Last by certainly not least was the Szechuan chicken. Even for a spice guy like me, this dish packs a punch. Topped with the chef’s special hot sauce, this dish represents the notoriously spicy Szechuan province well and features large chunks of chicken as opposed to small bite size pieces offered at most places.
Though I didn’t order this dish on this go round, be sure to check out their chicken wings if you are looking for an appetizer. Though not typical Chinese fare and a bit small in size, these crunchy decadent morsels are taken up a notch if you dip them in some spicy chili sauce. And if a recommendation like that is coming from a spicy wings lover such myself, you know they have to be good.
As this place is Halal, you won’t find any pork dishes. In fact the menu has a handsome selection of delicious seafood along with Halal chicken and beef items. Furthermore, this place is cash only but in return for the inconvenience, you get perfectly portioned food at a dollar or two cheaper than you would find at most Chinese joints.
Editor’s Note: Sameer Sarmast is the President and Executive Producer of Sameer’s Eats, the first and only Halal food review web blog and video channel on YouTube. Sameer has been recognized by local and national media outlets as well as the U.S. State Department for his efforts in highlighting Halal cuisine. Sameer resides and works full time in New Jersey as a Vice President in Wealth Management for a major financial institution. When he isn’t working, he loves to travel and spend time with his friends and family. Follow him on twitter @SameersEats. The views expressed here are his own.