A noodle joint in Sunset Park’s Chinatown is introducing New York hounds to the robustly seasoned food of Yunnan. The specialty at Yunnan Flavour Snack Shop, run by an engaging couple from Kunming, is rice noodles in spicy, meaty broths. The noodles are extraordinary—tender, springy, pulled by hand, “the best f*ing rice noodles ever,” declares noooodles. Their broth is beautifully deep—rich, nuanced, and full of chiles, scallions, and preserved vegetables. Options include beef stew, pork stew, spicy meat sauce, and “crispy meat sauce,” a rustic brew featuring sliced intestine and something akin to cracklings.
Off the menu but recommended: cold rice noodles (ask for liang mi xian). On the menu but skippable: wheat noodles (bottom left corner of the board); they aren’t made in house, and even the owners will steer you away from them. Beyond noodles, check out lovely hot and sour dumplings, made with good thin wrappers and served in tasty red broth scattered with chives, suggests mary shaposhnik.
That the unfamiliar food of an isolated southwestern province should turn up first in Sunset Park, rather than the city’s larger Chinese neighborhoods, comes as no surprise to jen kalb. “Every time I’m in this Chinatown I see new places springing up,” she observes. “Not all the places are following a formula. Though mostly very simple, like this one, they seem to be offering different stuff.”
But more familiar stuff is also grabbing hound attention along the Eighth Avenue strip. Lanzhou-style wheat noodles—which you could practically trip over these days in the eastern quarter of Manhattan’s Chinatown—have recently arrived in Sunset Park. Lan Zhou Hand Pull Noodle offers a bare-bones menu of noodles in assorted soups (beef, tendon, oxtail, lamb, pork, duck, etc.). There’s also a vegetarian option—greens and fried egg—and it rocks, says Regina_George.
A few blocks north, Ding Hao Noodle House serves a similar lineup of hand-pulled noodles in exceptionally good broth, reports redgirl, who had a bowl of them with great pork-chive dumplings. The Lanzhou noodles are part of a more ambitious menu comprising rice noodles and casseroles with a choice of soup bases and meats, seafood, and vegetables to toss into the pot. Ding Hao may, like many of Manhattan’s Lanzhou noodle shops, have a Fujianese connection, suggested by a small section of the menu devoted to fish balls and other Fuzhou snacks.
Sunset Park also has a newish Cantonese destination, a second-floor seafood and dim sum palace called Pacificana. bigmackdaddy reports fresh, hot, flavorful dim sum highlighted by chicken feet, shrimp-stuffed eggplant, strong jasmine tea, and shrimp dumplings stuffed with chunks of shrimp. Beyond dim sum, hounds have enjoyed soy sauce duck tongues, Kowloon squid with soy sauce, and Dungeness crab steamed with garlic and sticky rice.
Yunnan Flavour Snack Shop [Sunset Park]
775A 49th Street (at Eighth Avenue), Brooklyn
Lan Zhou Hand Pull Noodle [Sunset Park]
5924 Eighth Avenue #3 (entrance on 60th Street), Brooklyn
Ding Hao Noodle House [Sunset Park]
773 52nd Street (between Eighth and Seventh avenues), Brooklyn
Pacificana Restaurant [Sunset Park]
formerly Ocean Palace
813 55th Street (at Eighth Avenue, second floor), Brooklyn