Doyer’s Street is kind of a weird looking spot, but it has the best noodle shop I’ve been to in New York City: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles. The location subtitle on Google Maps, “Busy little noodle joint”, sums the place up pretty well. It’s a hole in the wall establishment. You could easily walk by and not even notice it was there. It’s cramped inside. In the summer, it’s hot. And, it’s always busy. Seating is very limited and you have to shift around to let people move past you. It’s totally worth it, though.
The first time I went to Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, I wandered in by accident while on a break from jury duty. Each time, I somehow wound up at the tiny table squeezed into the corner by the front door. I haven’t come close to working my way through the menu. I usually stick with the noodle soup dishes and I’m really partial to the duck noodle soup, but I find it hard to believe I would be really disappointed by something they prepared. The food just has a good, authentic, quality taste to it without being unreasonably expensive. Most of the soups are about $9 – $10 a bowl, but the portions are large.
The only thing that’s a little annoying about the place is that it’s a cash-only establishment. Luckily, there’s a Chase bank across the street with ATMs so it’s not too big a deal. I’ve noticed that a lot of Asian restaurants are switching to cash-only lately. I wonder why? I try to not carry cash. Lately, I’ve even cut down on the cards I carry. My Galaxy S7 has Samsung Pay and it works really well. It also has a rewards program.
If you want dessert, you can stop by Taiyaki NYC over on Baxter Street on your way to the train station on Canal Street. It’s a Japanese ice cream place that is pretty popular. The original, vanilla soft-serve in a fish pastry with warm custard, chocolate syrup, strawberries and a wafer cookie is pretty awesome.
In the Chinese calendar, it’s the Year of the Rooster. I didn’t even realize that until I saw an exhibit listed to celebrate the Rooster in the Chinese galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I tried to guess at how they could put together an entire gallery of roosters. Rows and rows of roosters, in all mediums. Oil paintings of roosters, clay statues of roosters, pottery with roosters on it. Big roosters, tiny roosters. In my imagination, it was glorious, so of course, I made it a point to go check it out.
I had to ask for help finding the exhibit because I was standing where it was marked on the museum’s map, but I only saw one lonely rooster (pictured above). Unfortunately, that one lonely rooster was almost all there was to look at. There was also one wall display box with a few pieces of art in it and a wall placard explaining the significance of the Chinese zodiac animals.
When I think of an exhibit, I think of something substantial. I honestly felt like the advertisement was a bait and switch just to get people into the museum, which feels cheap and unworthy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as an institution. Or maybe I’m just sad because I was hoping for something exciting or impressive. Something more. I guess I hold the museum to a higher standard because I hold it in such high regard.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsAnyway, I did see some really old artifacts from China while walking back out of the Asian galleries that caught my interest. They were objects placed in burial chambers for royalty. They looked like buildings and servants and objects for service and entertainment. It’s a lot like what Pharaohs were buried with in Egypt. It’s odd how similar ideas were popping up all around the world in roughly the same time period. I was reminded of how the pyramids were built in Egypt, but that there were also pyramids being built in Central America. There are the remains of ziggurats in the Middle East, but there are also remains of similar structures on the ocean floor near Japan. I wonder how they’re all connected?
Also, turns out I was born in the year of the Rooster. Gong xi fa cai!
We’ve both been busy and we seem to not have time to cook like we used to so here I am, waiting on dinner at this Chinese place at 10:35 at night. I’m not complaining. The food here is good and they have a lot of vegetarian options. They give out hot tea while you wait for your order as well.
Name of the place is Empire Noodle. Also, this is a test of the new Pressgram.
When I lived in Singapore, I used to joke about the misspelled English words I saw everywhere, or the jumbles of random phrases used as shirt slogans. Having English on the shirt made it foreign and cool, I suppose. After working on learning two foreign languages (Arabic and Hebrew), I’m not nearly so critical of spelling mistakes by non-native speakers. Remembering vocabulary is a pain.
However, I can’t help but find it amusing that a person would misspell their own nationality on a manufactured neon sign placed in the window of a restaurant that sells said nationality’s food (or the Americanized version of it anyway).
How do you open a Chinese food restaurant and put up a sign for Chiese Food? Was it really poor business management, or a clever attempt to draw attention? Or did the guy purposefully misspell it because he knew that what he’s selling isn’t truly Chinese food? American Chinese food is nothing like what I ate in Singapore, which in most ways is far superior.
This particular establishment is on Amsterdam Avenue between 169th and 170th.
For the first time since I was a kid, I was able to check out the Chinese New Year celebration in New York City. It didn’t quite live up to my memory, but I have a feeling that we missed the best part of it. There was already confetti all over the ground. Next year we’ll have to go check things out earlier in the day. I must have gotten bad information about the start times of the events.
We wandered around Chinatown for a while but didn’t see much. At first, we only found one lonely dragon dancer.
Then, we passed through the Roosevelt Park area. There were some booths set up selling Chinese New Year decorations. There was also a stage where performers were singing traditional Chinese songs. I don’t understand Mandarin, so I have no idea what the songs meant, but it sounded pleasant.
We were about to leave Chinatown when we stumbled onto Mott Street. It seems as though that’s where all the fun was. The place was packed with crowds of people shooting off tubes of confetti and generally having a good time.
Like I said, I’m pretty sure we missed most of the festivities due to bad information, but it was still a lot of fun to go down to Chinatown and look around for a few hours. We managed to get in some shopping while we were there too!
Once upon a time, before I actually visited a mostly Chinese ethnic country, I thought I knew what Chinese food was, and it looks like this:
Imagine my surprise to not find egg rolls over there. No one knew what an egg roll was, unless they’d been here. There’s something similar called lumpia, but it’s not quite the same.
Chinese food in the US has been thoroughly Americanized, to make it more appealing to the local palate. The Chinese food I ate in Singapore was a lot blander in most cases, with most of the flavor coming from dumping lots of chili sauce on everything. That or eating green chilies along with each bite of food. There’s also a lot of MSG used. (Just a note, I’m basing this on the common Chinese food found in food stalls that a person would eat at on a daily basis, not expensive restaurants.)
[Update: It was very rudely brought to my attention by some piece of shit Singaporeans that I accidentally uploaded the wrong photo from my folder. I’m quite aware that this is ramen, a Japanese dish, most likely from that Japanese food court in Tampines 1. I can’t remember its name.]
That’s not to say that the food there, the ‘real’ Chinese food, was bad. On the contrary, a lot of it was awesome, and thankfully I did read about a place in NYC where I can get chicken rice and pork rice. The pictures looked similar to the dishes I grew to love in Singapore. I’ll blog about it when I find it and try it out myself.
One other thing, the orange duck sauce that you can find at most Chinese restaurants in the US? Ya, that’s nowhere to be found in Singapore that I saw.
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at the kopitiam near where I live and I heard music, so I turned and looked up the road. I saw what I thought was a parade and, being curious, I started taking photos. I quickly finished my coffee and then moved down to the road where I could have a better view.
The decorations were very interesting and I thought the two guys wearing the costumes were very cool.
As another set of vehicles approached I noticed the music playing was more somber and mournful. The music playing from the lead vehicle had been cheerful and lively sounding by comparison. I then realized that the group of people following the vehicle were carrying an ornate wooden coffin above them, draped with flowers. I didn’t take a photo of them, or the coffin, out of respect for the recently deceased.
The smile quickly faded from my face and I waited respectfully as the funeral procession passed before walking back home. I guess not everything coming down the road playing music in Singapore marks a happy occasion.
The procession was similar to funeral processions in the US, but only vaguely. In the US a procession is usually led by two police on motorcycles, followed by a cavalcade of vehicles with the hearse at the tail end followed by two more police on motorcycles. It’s common courtesy and tradition (if not illegal to not do so) to pull over to the side of the road and wait for the procession to pass completely, before continuing down the road. By comparison, traffic on the road around the procession here in Singapore couldn’t have cared less from what I saw. One vehicle almost ran over some of the people walking while quickly turning onto a side road.
Another big holiday in Singapore (other than Christmas, where they go berserk with decorations) is Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year. Last year we missed it, but this year we’re planning on being front and center at whatever celebratory event Singapore has to offer.
With the holiday upcoming people are already starting to decorate. I’ve seen some decorations up at malls, but nothing too serious, yet anyway. The family we live with has also pulled out their decorations, which are pretty cool looking. I took some photos to share.