Noodles. Oodles of noodles. Authentic hand-pulled noodles. That's what I was after. A trip to Manhattan's Chinatown for a full-on noodle crawl with Copyboy, Mrs. Copboy and the tow-headed Copyboy progeny was planned.
First stop was Lan Zhou Fresh Handmade Noodles, a dingy spot off of East Broadway. The sandwich board menu sign outside was makeshift to say the least. But how was the noodle making?
This, however, was no game. This was expert noodle artistry. If that wasn't clear in watching the noodles' preparation, it became quickly apparent upon one hearty slurp of our bowl of Beef Noodle Soup...
The broth was a tad spicy. The chunks of stewed beef were toothsome. The noodles were long, tender and addictive.
It was only once every single noodle was devoured that we agreed to move on. It was tempting to simply stay put and order another bowl, but we resisted. Besides, Grand Sichuan International's Chinatown outpost beckoned. We had heard tale that their Dan Dan Noodles were the genuine article.
Having never traveled to China myself, I can't confirm or deny the authenticity of Grand Sichuan's Dan Dan offerings (a bowlful is pictured below), but I can say this: DAMN, THEY'RE HOT!!!!
One slippery, chili oil-coated noodle gloriously consumed and my mouth was set ablaze. This Dan Dan was searingly spicy. So spicy, in fact, that I couldn't down more than a few additional noodles before my eyes started welling up with tears due to the tongue-scorching pain.
Happily, my tongue survived. And, several glasses of water later, I was even ready for more noodles -- sans chili oil.
For our last stop, we ventured to the modern, hand-pulled noodle eatery Foo Sing 88 and ordered up two massive bowls, one each of the House Special (pictured below) and Roast Duck varieties.
Unfortunately, Foo Sing doesn't come with a noodle making side show, but their chewy noodles were delightful, and the beef and duck broth that accompanied them were satisfying as well, both scented with a bit of clove and garlic to bring out all of the soups' rich meaty goodness. Each bowl was filled with copious amounts of the handmade noodles, big pieces of meat -- whether roasted duck, tender beef short rib, tripe, beef tendon or more -- a handful of leafy greens and the House Special also featured a fried egg atop.
It was a challenge, but we laid waste to both helpings.
That said, we did pay a price.
We'd finally done it. We were full. Too full.
Our ravenous appetites and lust for noodles had been conquered after only three stops on the Chinatown express.
It was shameful.
Yet, I know we'll live to slurp again. And another Chinatown noodle crawl will be in order -- soon.