We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten.
'slurped' on Serious Eats
Quick poll; do you eat a soup, or do you drink it? What about a broth? These, of course, are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night, the kind of questions at the forefront of my mind during a recent visit to Tabata Noodle.
Rice noodles are the mainstay of Yun Nan Flavour Snack in Brooklyn's Chinatown. Their menu is a pared-down affair. For some reason, items one through six are left blank, so the menu actually begins with number seven, their cold-dressed rice noodles. The rest of the menu comprises mostly those same rice noodles in various soups.
The are two broths at Mister Hotpot: a spicy one with lots of chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, what have you, and a not-spicy one. You can order one broth for your meal or split the pot and get both. While the spicy broth is perfectly fine, it's that non-spicy "special broth," made with pork bones and various spices—cinnamon, star anise, and a more esoteric Chinese spice called cai guo, that will outperform most. It is the most important thing about Mister Hotpot, this broth of theirs.
This week's noodle reporting took me to Phayul in Jackson Heights, a Tibetan restaurant on the corner of 37th road, on the second floor of a building on top of a beauty parlor and a kebab joint. Though Phayul has many noodle dishes, the real kicker is the broth.
Though it's not the main event at Pok Pok Phat Thai, the kuaytiaw khua kai ($10), crusty rice noodles with chicken and cuttlefish, is one of the best noodle dishes I've had in months.
What makes for a great dish of XO noodles? Is it the volume of XO sauce alone, or their union with the noodles that counts?
Lower Manhattan was one of the parts of New York worst hit by hurricane Sandy. Here's a report on what the food scene and community in Chinatown looks like after the storm.
I really like the flat, not-too-sweet pad kee mao at Ploy Thai in Elmhurst, for two specific reasons. But are those reasons good enough? And are they the right reasons in the first place?
Last month I was invited to a supper club meeting at Tangra Asian Fusion, an Indian-Chinese restaurant with locations in Elmhurst and Sunnyside. My friend who belonged to the supper club described the cuisine as mainly Chinese food infused with Indian character—"super junky and fun!" was what she wrote. Well, I make it a point in my life never to turn down anything super junky and fun.
This week I thought I would share with you a story of two very different Korean rice cake dishes, at two very different restaurants. I don't know what the moral of the story is, only that the dishes could not have been more different: one makes Korean rice cakes the subject of culinary art; the other smothers them in melted cheese.
Last week I set out to fill in one of the gaps in my noodle education, and paid a visit to Great NY Noodletown in Chinatown. I was there ostensibly to do a bit of research on e-fu noodles (also called yi mein, yee-fu, or yi noodles). They are egg noodles made with carbonated water, which have been fried, dried, then hydrated for use in cooking.
I'm not shooting for the moon at dim sum. Is it fresh? It is piping-hot? Check? Check? Well, alright, then. The steamed rice rolls were the best of my recent meal at New Spring Garden, which serves a respectable dim sum, at times great.
Lao Bei Fang in Elmhurst offers an incredible lunch deal for offal-eating noodle lovers: three huge marrow bones in a bowl of hand-pulled noodle soup.
It's not often that a bowl of noodles causes me to rethink the upper limits of what it means for something to be a noodle, but this bowl of knife peel noodles from Uncle Zhou's in Elmhurst did just that. They're thick and doughy, which for a dough lover like myself is just fine.
The other day I realized something that has lain dormant in my noodle unconscious for years now, but which did not become clear to me until I thought about it in term of problems and solutions. Problem: It has always bothered me that hand-pulled noodles in soup grow limp very quickly, a problem I even wrote about two years ago during our hand-pulled noodles taste test. Solution: Don't eat hand-pulled noodles in soup.
Last week I ate lot of white to yellowish foods, like bananas, oatmeal, white bread, and congee. The blander, the better. The highlight of my week of hue-less, toothless eating was without question the noodles I consumed at Arirang, a noodle shop in Koreatown.
Why is it that Chinatown's dumpling shops—the ones that specialize in dumplings for $1.25 a meal, feel the need to offer noodles? Could they be any good? After sampling noodles from four of these shops I can say: yes, some of the time.
Rice cakes are my comfort food. They are the best cure I know for a lonely heart, a disgruntled outlook on life. Because they remind me of my mother and of home, they remain one of the few noodle dishes I do not make for myself. I want someone else to make them for me, and while in some cities this might be an unreasonable desire, I figured I had a decent chance of finding just the right bowl of rice cakes in Chinatown.
The story goes like this. Last year I met a fellow at a party, and he asked me for my number. He was friendly and funny, and mentioned that he liked John Rawls, a prominent political theorist I studied in school. I figured anyone who liked Rawls and actually wanted to talk about distributive justice was someone I'd want to get to know better. We arranged to meet at New Hon Won, a Cantonese joint on Canal Street right outside the subway. The rice noodles, as usual, were very good. The date? Not so much.