Monday, November 08, 2010

Noodles in NYC - it's Not Just Ramen

As much as we all love ramen, there are other delicious noodle soups to be had in NYC. Consider Phở, the Vietnamese dish.

These are rice noodles in beef broth seasoned with charred onions, star anise, and other spices. My bowl in that photograph is topped with thin slices of very rare beef, but phở is often topped with beef or fish balls, a grilled pork chop, or any other kind of meat. Tear a bit of holy basil, scatter a few bean sprouts, and add the condiments of your choice to a little side dish - I like ground chili paste and nước mắm, Vietnamese fermented fish sauce. My favorite phở in NYC, and honestly I've tried very many of them, is at Cong Ly at 124 Hester Street.

Then, there are lamb noodles.

It takes days to simmer the lamb bones and meat for this beautiful broth. At Lamb Noodle Soup in the Golden Shopping Mall food court, 41-28 Main Street in Flushing, it is aromatic and very clean tasting, and yet deeply lamb-y. These are wheat noodles and they were made in front of our eyes. I wanted to drizzle this bowl with the fiery roasted chili paste sitting on the table, but my almost 4 year old would have none of it. So instead we ate our lamb noodle soup unadorned, and it was truly fantastic.

And these are hand pulled noodles from Lan Zhou, a Northwest China specialty. I took some noodles, broth, and beef stew and put them in little daughter's bowl before hitting it with the chili paste, chunkiang vinegar, and cilantro. These are also wheat noodles, and also made by hand - hand pulled, to be exact, pulled right before we ate them. In fact, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few pictures that capture that process.

It starts with a piece of dough the shape of a sausage.

This guy is an absolute pro. With quick and smooth hand movements, he thwacks the dough a couple times, turns it back on itself, and he has it in loops.

Things sped up here. Several more pulls and turns, and there are many more loops, thinner now, of course.

And then suddenly there was a kind of combined thwacking and pulling, one final pull and into the pot. This place is at 5924 8th Avenue in Sunset Park.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, too.


Do Bianchi said...

have been so wanting to get there since you recommended that place!

Alfonso Cevola said...

we have a guy in Dallas doing that right now, quicker drive, 2B...

Bring some Friuli wines ;)