PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Joanna”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week it’s Joanna, a magazine marketer who is Taiwanese and love street food- but conspicuously leaves out whether or not she likes NYC Cravings (the Taiwanese fried chicken truck.)

Name: Joanna

Age: 24

Occupation: Marketer for Fortune, Money & Real Simple at Time Inc

Where in Midtown do you Work?: Time & Life Building on the corner of 6th and 50th

Favorite Kind of Food: I’m Taiwanese, so I’m really partial to all that is delicious and Taiwanese. I can’t narrow it down to anything specific, but Taiwanese street food is amazing. Sometimes I think my stomach is made of iron for all the street food I put into my stomach and not get sick from when I’m back on the streets in Taiwan… Other than that Japanese and Italian come in at a close second.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Can I say none? Oh I know! Anything bland and unflavorful! (Cliche I know, but oh so true).

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I hope everyone in the Midtown West area has gotten out to Roberto Passon (on 9th Ave. 50+51st). It’s emptier and emptier each time I go, but please go and check it out! It’s such a great deal for a prix fixe. I’m always getting their caesar salad, salmon and tiramisu. Other great lunches includes Katsuhama (two locations) – delicious succulent pieces of pork? Yes please! In fact, you’ll find me there sometime this week because I’ve just made myself hungry. I’ll also add Aoki (on 48th btw. B’way+8th) to this list, their lunchboxes are big and inexpensive.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Cosi (you can find me there shamelessly munching on the bread samples) or Variety Cafe (in line trying to stuff as many things as possible into a salad).

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? I’ve discovered too many places! The little map in the sidebar has been the bible to finding all that is food in this part of town. I love food carts and I’m glad that Zach shares my love for food carts as well!

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? This question is too hard. I’d be a travel writer in Europe. Italy specifically. I visited Italy for the first time recently and fell in love with the country. There are so many food offerings! I’d love to take a long lunch everyday and just feel so satisfied with how much love is put into Italian food.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? If you could bring any restaurant/cafe/food stand to Midtown, which one and why? I would bring Casa Mono, which is my new favorite place. I’d plop it right on top of the Time & Life building if I could!

Well, mine has already come true! How about you guys? Got a dream restaurant for Midtown? Put it in the comments.

And as always if anybody would like to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    @soupdumpling, WM is @190 Hester st(btwn Mulberry & Baxter Sts)

  • @soupdumpling I won’t lie, I haven’t actually eaten anything distinctively Taiwanese in Flushing (probably because I very rarely go out there), but if YOU have any recommendations for me, I’ll gladly go the next time I trek out there!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    @Steve: Torchy’s does have the best tacos. I would be in heaven if they were to move to NY.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Thanks Masterb8ker for the location.

    Joanna, I haven’t done a ton of Taiwanese eating but am really enthusiastic about the gua bao (puts Momofuku’s pork buns to shame) and bamboo shoots and stewed pork. I’ve had a couple of other things from there but they were misses. I’ve also had some good food at a couple of other places in Flushing and Elmhurst in the past. But they are closed. So that’s why I’m on the lookout for more.

  • @soupdumpling I’ll ask my Taiwanese friends who live in the Flushing area where they eat and I’ll post it int he comments here eventually heh. Oh man… I love gua bao too… makes me miss home and my mom’s cooking!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Looking forward to hearing your recommendations, Joanna. Oh, I forgot to mention that I love the gua bao and stewed pork at Temple Snacks that’s located in the Flushing Mall.

  • Joanna, I’m glad you share the same thoughts on the Cravings Truck as I do. I thought they were having a bad day when the rice was undercooked. If you want Taiwanese breakfast, the only place in Flushing that serves it decently is King 5 Noodle on Prince Street. I’ve been meaning to go because who knows which restaurants will close during this recession.

    I just got back from Taipei a month ago. It was AMAZING :) I love the food. Night markets all the way!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Joanna, I think the whole state of chicken leg/pork chop over rice in the 5 boroughs is pretty sad. It’s not just the Cravings Truck, but Mai-Wah, Wu Chung and even 66 (in Flushing) don’t serve the same tasting offerings as in the past.

    As for the problem with the Cravings Truck, it isn’t just that the rice is undercooked, the Cravings Truck just doesn’t use the same type of rice (stickier/sushi grade rice) eaten by the Taiwanese.

    One thing that I really miss is Lu Ro Fan (Braised Pork over Rice). There’s nothing like it in Manhattan. When Suibi was around, it had served an Okinawa version of it, but of course, that paled in comparison to the real thing in Taiwan.

  • @hungryteresa I will definitely check out King 5 Noodle the next time I’m in Flushing (probably not for awhile, but who knows!) Thanks for the recommendation…! Yay!

    @The Prez I haven’t tried any of the other places in the city, someone should do a walking tour. I could easily eat 5 plates of pork chop rice. Then again, I might not be able to walk afterward, but whatever, that’s the beauty of eating 5 plates of delicious food!

  • @joannie – There are 2 Taiwanese restaurants are fairly good: Gu-Shine on 39th, just south of Main St, and Hai3 Zi Wei4 on the corner of Prince and 39th. Gu-Shine is more homestyle cooking and has great deals.

  • Hai Zi Wei is more commonly known as “66″.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.