|The 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade will occur on February 2 at 1pm –credit|
Break out your holiday eating pants once again—the festive season isn’t over yet! Along with Super Bowl weekend, the end of January marks the Chinese New Year, a holiday celebrated by 15 days of feasting. The Year of The Horse traditionally brings steamed oysters and roast pork to your chopsticks, but check out some alternative Chinese food in Manhattan’s Chinatown that pleases both Western and Eastern palates.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles (1 Doyers St) serves up some of the best homemade noodles in Chinatown! The small restaurant is practically hidden on a curve of Doyers St, but that doesn’t deter groups from waiting for tables almost every night. A view of the kitchen allows you to observe cooks pulling, folding, stretching, and cutting the signature noodles, and you can appreciate how much labor goes into those magnificent creations floating in broth or stir fried with vegetables and meats. Almost all entrees are less than $10 and carry out is available for those who would rather not wait.
|Just what you need on a cold winter day, hand pulled noodles in soup –-credit|
New York City’s first Dim Sum parlor Nom Wah (13 Doyers St) opened in 1920 and has been a fan favorite among New Yorkers of all backgrounds for almost 100 years. Tons of small plate options include traditional Chinese options like dumplings, scallion pancakes, crispy chicken feet, fried shrimp balls, and much more. The interior feels like a classic restaurant that truly dates back to its opening, and don’t hesitate to ask the table next to you what they’re eating if you don’t recognize but want to try the dish. “I’ll have what she’s having” is a worthwhile phrase to employ as you watch small plates of Chinese delicacies circle around here.
|Even dishes as simple as rice rolls are memorable at Nom Wah –credit|
Spicy Village (68B Forsyth St) is one of Chinatown’s true hidden gems. Decorated with poster board and marker signs on a dark corner of Forsyth street, this small joint has a consistent dinnertime wait for its tasty homemade food served on foam plates. The highlight of the menu is hui mei: thin, hand-pulled noodles served either in broth or stir-fried with various meat and vegetable options, and can be made mild to very spicy. The signature dish here, and the only one that costs over $10 is the Spicy Big Tray Chicken, big enough to share with three or more people and amenable to eating with many side orders of hui mei noodles.
|Spicy Big Tray Chicken at Spicy Village –credit|
One of few totally vegetarian restaurants in Chinatown, Buddha Boddai (5 Mott St) is definitely worth a visit. The Buddhist owners of the neighborhood eatery strictly adhere to Buddhist cooking customs, so they do not use onions, garlic, or anything spicy in their cooking, which makes for a different set of flavors than many are used to in their Chinese food. Those who want imitation meat can find plenty here (from beef to jellyfish) but solid vegetable options are also available. The dim sum menu starts at $2.50 and includes items like mushroom and bean sprout pancakes and steamed taro dumplings. Noodles, rice and stir fry dishes, are also all made to order, and offer new twists on familiar American Chinese cuisine.
If you’re not put off by rows of roasted duck carcasses in the window, stop into Great NY Noodletown (28 Bowery). Yes, the noodles here are great, but in addition to a bowl of duck wonton noodle soup or shrimp lo mein, surprise yourself with something out of the ordinary like frog porridge, beef tripe, or sauteed pea shoots.
|Singapore Chow Fun at Great NY Noodletown –-credit|
Not to be confused with the former, Noodle Village (13 Mott St) is the spot to fill up on a big bowl of broth loaded with carbs and proteins. Endless options of noodle soup — with wontons, beef, fish cake, pig skin, squid, oxtail…– never cost more than $9 and are the perfect pick-me-up on a cold day. Serious Eats named Noodle Village’s bowl of wonton soup the best in Manhattan’s Chinatown!
Big Wong King (67 Mott St) gets a strange reputation for its questionable name, but for American Cantonese food in Chinatown (think the sesame chicken and beef with broccoli you grew up with in the suburbs), this is your place. After being in business since the ’80s, the restaurant is still crowded with those eager to enjoy affordable dishes like the $7 seafood fried rice or $7 barbecued spare ribs.
|Whole fried fish with ginger scallion sauce at Big Wong King –credit|