Written by Kristina
With Allen being a big Mets fan (yes, he’s ok after their loss on Wednesday) and myself working in Long Island City, we are pretty fond of Queens and all it has to offer. We’re aware of the diverse food scene in the borough and are glad we attended Queens Taste 2016 over the summer with proceeds supporting the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC). Recently, through the QEDC, we learned about Queens Food Tours, operated by Richard Mumith.
FP: Congratulations on being awarded $10,000 by Citi to start Queens Food Tours! Please share the inspiration behind the business.
RM: Thank you! I am very honored to have won. I would say the inspiration to start a Queens Food Tour first came when I used to work in the New York City Council. One of the initiative for many Queens politicians was to promote Queens as a destination. As a lifelong native I liked the idea, but I just couldn’t see how. Even so, the idea always stuck with me. Then one day, I came across a food tour in Manhattan. Out of curiosity, I joined because the idea of eating signature dishes from several restaurants seemed great to me. It was really fun and a cool way to explore a neighborhood. You get to see the sights, learn about its history, and get fed. In a way, a total immersion experience. Then it occurred to me, why can’t we do this in Queens? If anything, it makes perfect sense considering we are the largest and most diverse borough. What better way to explore diversity and culture than through food? Thus Queens Food Tours was born!
FP: Queens residents and tourists alike are in for a treat! What should attendees expect on your food tours?
RM: Attendees will experience a totally different side of New York City. One that is far more authentic, off the beaten path and delicious. As much as I love Manhattan, when it comes to good eats, Queens is King!
FP: Please describe the different types of food found in different Queens neighborhoods.
RM: Totally depends. Queens is the largest and most diverse borough in New York City, and one of the most diverse counties in the world. Each neighborhood has a certain cultural and ethnic identity which is reflected in its cuisines depending where you are.
For instance, in Astoria you’ll find some of the best Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines in all of New York City. In Jackson Heights, you’ll find amazing Bengali, Indian, Nepali, Tibetan, and Dominican food. Flushing is a larger, and far more diverse, Chinatown than the actual Chinatown in Manhattan. There you’ll find endless varieties of dumplings, dim sums, and Chinese cuisines that varies by region whether its Cantonese, Szechuan, or Hunan.
FP: Trust us, we’ve had our share of meals in Flushing! Besides Queens, where are some of your favorite places to eat in NYC?
RM: Wow, I don’t even remember the last time I ate anywhere else in NYC outside of Queens. But then again, I really have no reason to. With Queens being such a diverse foodie paradise, you can literally eat your way around the world without ever having to go anywhere else.
FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog.
RM: As an owner of a food tour, you can imagine I have quite a few guilty pleasures. As someone from Queens, it tends to be as diverse as the borough itself, such as chicken tikka masala with garlic naan, Kansas Style BBQ, Jamaican oxtail, wood oven Neapolitan pizza, lamb biryani, Peking duck, Uzbek Samsa and good ole pecan pie slightly warmed topped with vanilla ice cream.
FP: You’re making us quite hungry! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?
RM: I would say India because their cuisines are so vast, and varies from region to region.
FP: What are you non-Queens Food Tours related hobbies and interests?
RM: I love to explore other cultures, travel, and eat–which kinda makes running a food tour the perfect job.
FP: Sounds like a fun job to us! We wish you continued success with Queens Food Tours!