Happiness is a bowl of noodles

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 | All Things, Eats

Stop number three on the Chinatown hand-pulled noodle shop tour: Eastern Noodles. This family-run noodle shop relocated to Forsyth from just around the corner on noodle (and dumpling)-rich Eldridge Street. Though still Chinatown-utilitarian, the decor of this newest outpost is just slightly brighter and perhaps a little cleaner than the others.

The Times Peter Meehan wrote up this little place in 2005, in a piece from which I lifted the title of this blog entry. Like him, we put in our order for bowls of beef with hand-pulled noodles and sat back to watch the show. A man — the owner, Lanzhou-trained Jianbin Gao — measured out a wad of dough and went to work, stretching and pulling the dough into increasingly thinner strands. The noodles twirled and flipped through the air in his expert hands, intermittently slapping against the floured counter. According to the Times, Gao and his wife opened the original noodle shop in 2001 to follow one they had operated for a decade in Fujian before moving to the United States.

Pulling Noodles

Gao made short work of the dough, after which his wife took over, dunking the noodles into a vat of broth deeper inside the kitchen, and topping our bowls with a pile of beef and greens. (White, take-out plastic dishware seems to be standard issue among these shops.) The texture of the noodles was delightful — firm and just chewy enough, as they would remain to the last strand. The soup broth was fine, too, but to my tastebuds, fell just short of the richness of Sheng Wang’s, for which we compensated with a generous — perhaps too generous — spoonful of chili oil from the table.

Eastern Noodles

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