Sunday dinner, taken in midafternoon: punjene paprike (Poon-yay-nay Pop-ree-kay, $12), beef-and-rice-stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes and the Bosnian flatbread called somun (so-Moon). This oversized relative of pita has a fluffy crumb that's distinct from its blistered crust. When still warm and pliable, as this was, somun is perfect for wiping your plate.
Cevabdzinica Sarajevo (a.k.a. Sarajevo Fast Food) 37-18 34th Ave. (at 38th St.), Astoria, Queens 718-752-9528 www.Facebook.com/cevapiNYC
The cursive notice under the tabletop glass was, I imagined, a telegraphic version of the wordier English advisory at the rear: "Due to changes in the prices of the food products, unfortunately we have to increase [the prices of all items] in our menu. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for your cooperation."
In reality the message is quite different: It communicates the availability of a beloved South Asian dish called paya. Although most customers of this restaurant keep halal, not all are Afghan, and, according to the owner, some are less than comfortable ordering in English or in Pashto. An Arabic posting ensures that no one misses out on slow-cooked cow-foot curry. (Let's hope that the price doesn't come as a shock.)
Also shown: a woven map of Afghanistan. Balkh, the home province of the proprietor, is on the country's northern border (in orange). For more photos, most of them of our meal itself, see the EIT page on Facebook.
Coconut Bay Leaf is a new name for a returning stall at this long-running bazaar; its canopied table, like several others in recent years, was branded by professionally printed signage. The proprietors, who travel to this Astoria mosque from Newark, grew up in Jakarta, but it was their parents — whose natal home is in Aceh (Ah-chay), on the northwest tip of Sumatra — who provided the family recipe for this bebek panggang. Roasted duck, to you and me ($8). In addition to coconut milk (and perhaps bay leaf, too), star anise was a notable component of the sauce.
Also shown: A pescaterian sampler ($8) of milkfish (in cross-section), catfish (eyes right), and mackerel (eyes left), served by Philadelphia-based Pecel Ndeso. Brilliantly colored sambal mangga, a spicy condiment made from green mango, refreshed my palate between bites of different fish; it opens up the sinuses, too.
If there's one qualm I have about this bazaar, it's the heat. Not the spicy heat of peppers in a made-to-order gado-gado (three chiles is plenty), and not the fire licking at skewers of satay soon to be dressed with homemade peanut sauce. A sweltering heat rises from the mosque's small parking lot, where the bazaar is held periodically during the warmer months, and canopies offer only just so much shade. A wise plan of action is to arrive in the relative cool of the morning, say, around 11:00; as at many similar events, a timely arrival also enables you to enjoy the widest and freshest selection of food. See much more, from many years of the bazaar, in my slideshow.
Indonesian bazaar at Masjid al-Hikmah 48-01 31st Ave. (at 48th St.), Astoria, Queens Periodically, on a weekend, during the warmer months
When topping a karisik pide (Kar-uh-Sheek Pea-day), the "mixed" version of this elongated Turkish flatbread, some bakers mix the toppings promiscuously along the length of the pide, so each bite offers a little of everything.
The golden countenance of the pastel de choclo ($13.50) is a pillow of pureed corn seasoned with basil, baked atop a beef-and-onion filling that also sports black olives, raisins, and generous chunks of chicken breast. Literally it's a "corn pie," but menu captures its spirit in fine telegraphic fashion: This is "the Chilean version of a shepherd's pie," both savory and sweet.
Previously: A housemade bun frames this rendition of the iconic Chilean hot dog, the completo ($3.50). Smothering the thin beef frank are chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, pureed avocado, and squiggles of mayonnaise. The avocado, unlike guacamole, has only the barest of seasoning; a few spoonfuls of pebre, a salsalike condiment provided at every table, adds just the right jolt. On another occasion, a baked seafood empanada (not shown, $4 at the time, and probably a special), featured clams, shrimp, and, in typical Chilean style, lots of onion.
San Antonio Bakery 36-20 Astoria Blvd. (at 37th St.), Astoria, Queens 718-777-8733 Also at 174 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream, New York 516-568-0075 www.Facebook.com/SanAntonioBakery