Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hey Ramen Head! More Ways to Get Your Soup Noodle On

Spicy Cumin Lamb Noodles in Broth, Xi'an Famous Foods
Hey there, Noodle Heads, great news: there is more to the world of noodles in soup than just ramen. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for ramen.  But there seems to be a ramen shop on every corner these days.  And after so many meals of heavy pork broth and curly wheat based noodles sometimes I’m looking to switch it up a bit.  Lucky for me, in New York at least, there are plenty of other joints where I can pull up a stool, grab a set of chopsticks, and starting slurping noodles in aromatic broth whenever a craving hits.  Here are just a few:

Soba:  I wish I could clone Cocoron in the LowerEast Side.  I love soba, I love their health conscious menu, and I love that they are open until the wee hours of the morning.  (My soba cravings seem to intensify the later and later I’ve pushed my bedtime.)  Of course, I like to balance health with, well, pork.  So I take my gluten free buckwheat soba and ask the cheery folk at Corcoron to ladle on bonito broth, sprinkle on some seaweed for green, and pile on sliced pork and kimchee for extra flavor.  Moderation in everything.

Pork and Kimchi Soba at Cocoron, NYC
Pho: New York is no Los Angeles when it comes to Vietnamese pho.  Vietnamese restaurants in New York seem to throw more of their weight behind well-executed banh mi leaving the bowls of rice noodles and rare beef that is the national dish of Vietnam as an afterthought.  But with much research, I’ve found a few places worth seeking out if only for the pho.  V33 Golden City in midtown does a respectable pho complete with fragrant, star anise laced broth.  What’s more, they score points for doing it well even on delivery.  Pho Bang is worth the Chinatown trek.  For less than $8 one can feast on a large bowl of the stuff with all the trimmings and spice it up to taste with the many condiments laid out on the table.

Xi’an Noodles: This might not be a category of noodles anywhere outside the city of Xi’an in China, with the exception of Xi’an Famous Foods in New York City. This mini chain of restaurants pays homage to the city for which the restaurant is named, mixing the spices of the Middle East that arrived in Xi’an via the Silk Road, with the wide hand pulled wheat noodles common across Northern China.  The spices with the noodles in rich both makes for one satisfying bowl of Asian noodle soup.

Cocoron                                  61 Delancy St., New York
V33 Golden City                    14 E. 33rd St., New York
Pho Bang                               157 Mott St., New York
Xi’an Famous Foods             Multiple locations, New York

Amy Powell is a food and travel writer based in New York City. She is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and the French Culinary Institute. Follow her on Twitter @amymariepowell

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