After heading over to San Francisco's Chinatown to check out the Fortune Cookie Factory and Cable Car Museum, we figured it was probably worth exploring a bit more to find some fun and delicious snacks in the area. A quick search on Foursquare brought one place in particular to our attention – it was rated much much higher than anything else in the neighborhood – a little pastry shop called Golden Gate Bakery. Literally every tip at this place was ecstatic about their Egg Custard Tarts so we sort of had to try it while we were in the area.
OH DEAR GOD, what have I done? Why the hell was I out 'til 4 in the morning last night? Why on earth did I drink so damn much? Ergggghhhhh. Does this sound familiar to you? I guess from time to time it happens to the best of us and when it does, you're gonna want to fix that hangover as soon as humanly possible. For me, it's become a bit of a hangover tradition to come to Congee Village for that awful New Years Day hangover. I almost always head there for a soothing and healing meal but New Years is certainly not the only excuse I need to go.
On these stingingly cold winter days we've been experiencing, there's nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of noodle soup. So if you want the best, you should head over to Lam Zhou in the lower east reaches of Chinatown. There's not a lot going on in this remote corner beside Lam Zhou, though one could argue that Lam Zhou itself isn't a whole lot.
*Editor's Note 2/19/15: This restaurant recently changed its name from Fu Run to Fu Ran for some reason and listed prices may be outdated When you think of Chinese food, what comes to mind? Maybe wonton soup? Lo mein? General Tso's chicken? Dumplings? Maybe even Peking duck? I'm willing to bet you were not thinking of lamb. Though you may not realize it, there are a some regions in China that do specialize in lamb and make it quite well. These regions are mostly located near the northern reaches of China with proximity to Mongolia or the Middle East. The lamb is often heavily treated with Middle Eastern spices, especially cumin. On this visit to Flushing, with my friend Harrison in tow, I was questing to sample these unique Chinese cumin spiced versions of lamb.
To find the very best dumplings, you are gonna have to hop the 7 or LIRR out to Flushing, Queens to New York's biggest Chinatown. Situated a block from Main Street is a diminutive, slightly dingy shop called White Bear. I know it doesn't look like much, but just trust me on this one.
Now that the weather is cooling off and Winter Is Coming, I find myself craving a huge, bowl of steaming hot noodle soup. As a lover of all Asian foods, more often than not, when I want soup I go for one of the many Asian varieties. Whether it's hand-pulled, knife cut, needle noodles, ramen, pho, soba, udon, wonton, or something else there's a huge variety of flavors and textures you can have when it comes to Asian noodles soups. The following is a list of the places I'd go if it's feeling dreary outside and I'm in the mood for a comforting bowl of Asian noodle soup.
*Editor's Note 2/25/16: I'm sad to report that 69 Bayard has permanently closed. In Chinatown, you'll find a ton of restaurants serving a wide array of mostly Asian cuisine. Right in the chaos of it all, on Bayard Street, you'll find a strange, tiny place called 69 Bayard. I must have walked by this place a million times without considering to stop in to check out their food. Maybe it's because they don't offer a lunch special. Maybe it's because I'd never heard anything one way or the other about it. Probably it's because of the decor, which I suppose could be viewed as either a plus or a minus to some.
One week a year (well really 10 days but who's counting), Mulberry street transforms into a perpetual street fair to celebrate Italian culture and cuisine at The Feast of San Gennaro. I usually stumble my way over there to check out the madness and this year is no different. With a number of coworkers in tow, I head over on a leisurely Thursday, lunchtime stroll. The fair runs the entire seven block span from Canal Street to Houston Street up Mulberry. The usually vehicle-friendly street is turned into a pedestrian-only walkway with most of the restaurants installing al fresco dining areas in the street in front of their shops.
For over three years I have been lucky enough to work within walking distance of Chinatown. I've done my fair share of exploration and feel like I have a handle on most of the options. Every now and then I find something really unexpected. On this occasion, I was wandering around the streets of Chinatown deciding what I should have for lunch and when I decided to try something new on a hunch. Inside of an unassuming bubble tea shop on Bayard Street there are signs advertising some non-bubble tea offerings. Who would dare eat lunch at a bubble tea shop? This guy.