Monday, November 05, 2007

Noodle Soup Heaven: Chinatown

No matter what I am doing in New York City, something always drives me to use that last subway card swipe to get downtown to Chinatown to eat. If I am not chowing down below Canal Street I feel like I am missing out on some amazing disovery that will lead me to yet another incredible five dollar meal. Let me put it this way: I am not rich. New York is one of those places where you don't have to be rich to eat like a king... at least if you are a fanatic devotee of Asian noodle soups. New York Noodltown is one of the better known noodle joints in town and one of my favorites, with great soups and a hardcore of Cantonese followers, but just around the corner lies a newish (funny, you don't look newish...) place called Hong Kong Station. All chinese clientele... no english language signs... this looks like the place for me. You start by ordering the basics: a bowl of soup broth and noodles for $1.50 and then you point at various offerings of meat, fishballs, squid, pig feet, and vegtables to add for $1 each.Voila: mysterious but delicious beef parts, pigs ear, mushroom, and chinese broccoli noodle soup. $6.50. I win again. It would be pretty difficult to make a ten dollar soup here - but curried fish balls might have been nice. These are not cuts of meat most white-bread Americans want to see floating in their soup, but believe me, there is no more flavorful soup beef than something that comes boiled with tubes and translucent gelatine stuck to it. When you see something hanging in a Chinatown soup joint window that looks like an alien has just been blasted in the stomach by a Starship Commando on the Sci-Fi channel... order it. Like the truck below says "all kinds of meat..."Chinatown has been spreading east and north of its traditinal area, and the area east of Chatham square seems to be the center for most recent immigrants - meaning cheap and startlingly authentic regional chinese food. This is not the touristic Chinatown of Mott Street anymore - this is China. The streets around East Broadway are one big open market... rice cakes anyone?

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