A new contender has stepped forward in Chinatown’s hand-pulled noodle wars: Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle on East Broadway. “A great great great noodle place,” declares christinag123. She ranks it ahead of another hound favorite, Super Taste, on the strength of its anise-scented broth, which is rich, deep-flavored, and less oily than the competition’s.
These $4 noodle soups come with beef, brisket, lamb, tripe, duck, or pork chop, among other choices–some on the fatty or gristly side–but they’re really less about the meat and more about the soup and the thin, springy wheat noodles, made fresh before your eyes. In fact, you might find yourself eating to the accompaniment of loud “whaps” as the noodle guy slams knots of dough onto the metal table at the back of the dining room. Spike your soup as needed with chile oil, vinegar, or pickled vegetable.
A few blocks west, at Yogee Noodle, the signature beef stew noodle soup features uncommonly good meat, says PAL. This veteran Cantonese restaurant takes pride in its family recipe, which has gained a neighborhood following. The beef tastes deeply beefy, the fat is meltingly luxurious, and the broth is a simple complement to the rich stewed meat. It’s one of 26 noodle soups at Yogee; congees, casseroles, and a full range of entrees round out the menu.
Elsewhere in Chinatown, Brian S has been exploring the fast-growing Fujianese quarter on the neighborhood’s east side. From the lengthy all-Chinese menu at Good Good Taste, practically in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, he unearths two worthy dishes. One is an eggy, pancake-like affair, studded with baby oysters, chives, and celery, and served in viscous sauce thickened with rice flour. The other is a nicely prepared casserole of fish head swimming in rich, dark wine sauce–a signature of Fuzhou cuisine. “I feel drunk,” Brian confesses, “but that’s probably just because it tasted so good.”
Back in the older part of Chinatown, look for superior fried chicken at New Big Wang, a hound favorite for roast pork and poultry. Its Cantonese fried chicken (with or without fried garlic) boasts crisp, pleasingly salty skin and moist meat with a hint of five-spice. “My new favorite Cantonese dish in Chinatown,” announces Sweatshirt Guy.
Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle [Chinatown]
144 E. Broadway, between Rutgers and Pike Sts., Manhattan
Super Taste Restaurant [Chinatown]
26 Eldridge St., between Canal and Division, Manhattan
Yogee Noodle [Chinatown]
85 Chrystie St., between Grand and Hester, Manhattan
Good Good Taste Chinese Kitchen [Chinatown]
13A Market St., between E. Broadway and Henry St., Manhattan
New Big Wang [Chinatown]
1 Elizabeth St., at Bayard, Manhattan