In recent years, Chinese expats at Columbia University have savored a taste of home thanks to a handful of food carts parked just off campus. Now one of those mobile vendors—Wang Hui Yin from Henan Province, known as Auntie Wang—has brought some of that street-food action indoors and downtown. Noodles, dumplings, and other snackish bites from central and northern China make up the menu at her tiny new shop under the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown—whose English name is either Taste of Northern China or China Local Cuisine, depending on whether you're looking at the menu or the storefront sign.
Weighing in on Chowhound, pravit recommends cold skin noodles, or liang pi, in spicy peanut sauce and the "Chinese burger" (rou jia mo), made of delicious minced fatty pork and bits of green pepper in grilled bread. There's also soy milk, savory pancakes, and other breakfast fare plus a long list of skewered foods—meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables like corn and cauliflower—for as little as $1.25 apiece. The 'hounds report misses as well as hits: Spicy lamb soup with glass noodles is greasy and one-dimensional, Lau says. Hot dry noodles, or re gan mian—a Wuhan specialty of thick egg noodles in light peanut sauce with scallion and pickled vegetable—can be short on spice. But the fare is fast, cheap, and relatively novel for Chinatown, and pravit expects to be back. "Great addition to the neighborhood and definitely going into my takeout rotation," he says.
Taste of Northern China, a.k.a. China Local Cuisine [Chinatown]
88 East Broadway (entrance on Forsyth Street), Manhattan
Photo by Mark Hokoda