The best Asian restaurants on Long Island: Eat here now
The world's largest continent has been very good to Long Island -- at least when it comes to restaurants. Yet out of the vast array of Asian restaurants populating the LI dining scene, only a handful have stayed true to national and regional culinary traditions. Or excelled when representing more than one country at a time. Those best few are represented by these 10 restaurants, listed alphabetically. They serve, respectively, the food of China, Thailand, India and Vietnam.
Fortune Wheel(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Fortune Wheel, Levittown: Nearly hidden away in the Nassau Mall, this bastion of authentic Hong Kong-style cuisine is hopping on weekends, when dim sum lovers converge for shumai, lotus-wrapped sticky rice and steamed roast pork buns. At dinner, you'll also find dumplings on the menu, along with a compelling roster of regional specialties and casseroles. (Pictured: walnut shrimp.)
Fortune Wheel in Levittown serves an aromatic stir-fry of lobster with ginger and scallions.
Frankly Thai(Credit: Uli Seit)
Frankly Thai, Franklin Square: Frankie Perrone fell in love with Jintana Lauchalermsuk after first tasting her pad Thai. Now, the married couple co-owns this lovely Thai restaurant, with Perrone as host and Lauchalermsuk in the kitchen. In addition to Lauchalermsuk's legendary pad Thai, you'll want to have her duck salad, curry puffs, nuanced pineapple shrimp curry and knowingly spiced drunken noodles. Usually, once a year, the entire crew heads to Thailand for a month, returning with new dishes. (Pictured: mango shrimp curry.)
Dishes at Frankly Thai in Franklin Square include, clockwise from left, shrimp pad Thai, Thai zeppoli, duck salad and mango curry with shrimp.
House of Dosas(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
House of Dosas, Hicksville: The vegetarian fare at this rightly popular Southern Indian restaurant draws crowds from all over Long Island. Big, vibrant flavors and quality ingredients are the reasons why. Go for the namesake dosas -- potato and/or vegetable-stuffed rice and lentil or semolina crepes. Other hits include uttapam (pictured), dosa batter with a vegetable filling baked right in, and bhel puri, a popular street snack made with puffed rice, onion and chili.
Monsoon(Credit: Newsday / Doug Young)
Monsoon, Babylon: Monsoon is grand enough in ambition and style to fill a converted Bank of Babylon building. Start with one of the house's creative cocktails. Chef Michael Wilson takes care of the rest, with Long Island's finest Beijing duck (pictured); steamed pork buns; crisp pork belly; "shaking beef" with shishito peppers; caramel pork with shallots and garlic; and a knockout, seaside spin on a Chinese favorite, kung pao monkfish.
Kung pao monkfish is prepared with Szechuan chili sauce at Monsoon in Babylon.
New Chilli & Curry Restaurant(Credit: Barbara Alper)
New Chilli & Curry, Hicksville: A line often trails out the door of this welcoming little spot serving up the flavors of Tibet, China, India and Thailand. While authenticity counts, you can also request dishes spiced as hot or mild as you like. Among standouts: chili-garlic noodles, goat pasanda, and biryani with lamb, chicken and shrimp (pictured).
Malaysian coriander soup is served at New Chili & Curry in Hicksville.
The Orient(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
The Orient, Bethpage: Although you can order off the printed menu at this popular Chinese spot, you'd do best to ask host Tommy Tan to guide you to more authentic offerings. Standouts include shrimp with walnuts in mayonnaise sauce and crunchy fried chicken with roasted garlic. On weekends, sample the fine dim sum. Be prepared to wait for a table, since reservations aren't taken. And service can be variable. But more often than not, patience pays off. (Pictured: clams with black bean sauce.)
At The Orient in Bethpage, garlic stems are stir fried with dried tofu.
Pho Maxia Vietnamese Cuisine(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Pho Maxia, Westbury: In a bare-bones storefront setting, chef David Yu does justice to the bold, clean flavors of Vietnam. The aromatic namesake noodle soup may be had in several variations. Try a banh mi sandwich -- a standout is done with grilled hash pork (pictured). Bahh hoi, a festive dish involving angel hair pasta, grilled meat and lettuce, is a must; so, too, are any of the grilled meats over rice or vermicelli.
Banh hoi (angel hair pasta) with grilled shrimp is a must-try dish at Pho Maxia in Westbury.
Southern Spice Chettinad Cuisine(Credit: Johnny Simon)
Southern Spice, New Hyde Park: Surroundings may be nondescript at this South Indian restaurant, but the cuisine of the Chettinad region is more than eye-opening. Here, flavors go off like firecrackers. Lamb chops are slyly incendiary while subtlety characterizes the light Kerala crabcakes (pictured). Put aside preconceptions and try the silky-textured goat brain masala. Another winner: pepper-rimmed tandoori duck.
Tandoori duck breast at Southern Spice in New Hyde Park.
Spice Village Grill(Credit: Timothy Fadek)
Spice Village Grill, Huntington: At this popular South Asian spot, you can spice up an evening with an array of succulent kebabs and heady curries. Standouts include khao suey, an aromatic Burmese chicken soup, lamb seekh kebab and aloo gobi, a heady vegetarian potato-cauliflower stew.
Chicken kebabs are among the specialties at Spice Village Grill in Huntington.
Yao's Diner(Credit: Doug Young)
Yao's Diner, Centereach: The fiery cuisine of Northern China is the focus of this attractive eatery, opened by Adam Yao to offer fellow expatriate students at Stony Brook University a taste of home. Even if you're not from China, you'll want to eat your way through such authentic dishes as the velvety cumin lamb, West Lake beef soup, ringing-hot kung pao chicken, sauteed sliced chicken with chili pepper, and spicy deep fried crabs (pictured).
Yao's Diner in Centereach offers sauteed snow bean sprouts with chopped garlic. (Feb. 16, 2012)