>> Bonao Chimi | Eat the World NYC

25 October 2017

Bonao Chimi


There is no shame in the occasional craving for some fast food. These junk food desires may come late at night, or maybe just for lunch. Thankfully in New York City these meals do not have to lead you to a Burger King, since the junk food habits of many cultures exist here for all to enjoy. And along those lines, thank goodness for chimi.

Bonao Chimi in Woodhaven, Queens exists under the J and Z train tracks right after they exit Brooklyn. The location is convenient for anyone spending a day exploring the beautiful cemeteries nearby and their many famous inhabitants. The place seems to do takeout as the norm, but there are some seats here for patrons. As does Burger King, this chimi joint caters to a wide variety of customers.

It might be junk food, but the chimi is made to order here and pressed for optimal toasting. Chimi is short for chimichurri burger, but should not be confused with other uses of chimichurri in South American steak-eating countries. This is an exclusively Dominican invention, popular from food trucks late at night on the island and now in many parts of New York City.

The thin beef patty always seems to be the least important ingredient on the sandwich. The special sauce of a chimi is salsa golf, a fancy way to say "mayo and ketchup." The bread should always be pan de agua, and a decent pile of chopped cabbage is essential. Each chef will have their own way to make the sandwich their own, but the basic ingredients are usually the same.

A big container of homemade chinola ($2, above background) is sitting in the fridge and highly recommended. This is the name of an at least mildly artificial but refreshing passion fruit juice, called maracuya in most Spanish-speaking countries. For those in need of bubbles, four flavors of Country Club, a Dominican soda, are in the fridge as well.

Wanting to sample more, the hot case display in the front was tempting me with sticks of kipe (below, left), a Lebanese classic brought to the Dominican Republic long ago. These shores have seen waves of immigration from almost the entire world once ships could cross oceans, but in the late 1800's many came from the Middle East and settled. Lamb was never that popular, so beef became the substitute for these fried goodies, which also have many of the spices removed. The ground beef and bulgur is still tasty enough to exist without sauce, with a wonderfully thin crispy shell.

Empanadas (Above, right) were prevalent on the menu boards but not in the display case, but when inquired about the lady working here immediately offered to make one. These are not quite as enjoyable as the kipe, but the chicken inside is very nice.

On a return visit, the goal was a beef tacucho ($6, below), which they refer to as a "Dominican taco" but is served in a soft flour tortilla more like a burrito. The ground beef and spicing reminds an eater of a certain non-Mexican fast food chain, but the feelings of eating it here make the experience so much better.

Both weekday afternoons of these visits saw groups of teenagers hanging out chatting and eating, and probably flirting with the employee. It seems to be the place to come play hookie in the neighborhood.

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Bonao Chimi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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