Hwa Yuan in Chinatown

hot tang tang noodles (NOT the cold noodles with sesame sauce)

What do you do when a restaurant runs out of its signature dish? This would be like going to Momofuku Ssam Bar and finding out they ran out of the pork buns, or walking into Russ & Daughters only to discover that they were out of bagel and lox for the day. The equivalent of this happening at Hwa Yuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant run by deceased restaurateur Shorty Tang that was recently revived by his son in its original space, is if it ran out of its famous cold sesame noodles.Read More

Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, A Fujianese Hole in the Wall

pork and chive dumplings at shu jiao fu zhou

There are a lot of hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Chinatown that you wouldn’t think twice about. Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, however, is one you should actually step into, despite the misgivings you might have about its dingy signage and furniture. The only one with second thoughts will be you, because inside there will be a ton of people, mostly consisting of Chinese locals and a few in-the-know diners, happily eating their way through a bowl of noodles and dumplings.Read More

Lalo, Mexican-Inspired Bites in Chinatown

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the scene at lalo

Anyone who knows me knows that I was at one point absolutely obsessed with El Rey, a small cafe in LES that used to make my favorite bowl of kale salad in the city. I also loved their baked goods and would order the sweet potato bread any chance I could get. Even the small selection at dinner service was quite impressive. Gerardo Gonzalez was the mastermind chef behind all this, and it was clear that his talent would soon outgrow the tiny coffeeshop. It wasn’t surprising to see that he left to pursue those ambitions, and I also noticed that the quality of the kale salad and sweet potato bread at El Rey dropped after his departure.Read More

Great NY Noodletown – Cheap Chinese + BYOB

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great ny noodletown

Ever wonder where some of the best chefs in the world like to eat during their time off? It must be really good if it meets the standards of the most discriminating palates. Some of the answers may surprise you, though. For instance, in NYC, chefs like Andrew Carmellini and David Chang highly recommend Great NY Noodletown, a modest, no-frills restaurant in Chinatown. The service is brusque and the surroundings are dinghy, but it’s hard to argue with super cheap, filling food and a no corkage fee.Read More

Le Coucou Late Night

 

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There are few restaurants that I would stay up so late for. A 9 pm seating is my limit, and after that, I’ll move on and revisit once the hype has died down. But like the desperate girl who can’t play it cool when she’s finally invited to a party, I caved to the pressure and made an exception for a 10:30 reservation at Le Coucou. There was a little thought behind this, though. First of all, Ruoxi’s birthday was at midnight, so we would need to do some sort of big, late night blowout celebration anyway. Also, my friend Eugenia from Hong Kong was in town, and she was already going to be jet lagged, so why not shake it off by staying up as late as possible? All good reasons for me to bite the bullet on a super late dinner reservation.Read More