Month: May, 2007

Chanoodle fried rice

Thursday, May 31st, 2007 | All Things, Eats

For today’s Chinatown lunch we met at Chanoodle on Mulberry — or “Chan Noodle,” as I’ve seen it referred to, as in the New York  magazine mention for best late night Chinatown “under the radar spot.”

The restaurant is known for its straightforward, simply-prepared Cantonese cooking; the head chef hails from Ping’s Seafood (itself named on New York  magazine’s late night Chinatown piece for “best blowout banquet.”)


We started with a plate of tender baby bok choy studded with fried chopped garlic. (Ming Tsai offers a similar recipe here.)

Chanoodle bok choy

The fried rice, usually not a standout dish, gets noticed here. The version with “two kinds of sausage” prompted Times  reviewer Eric Asimov “to re-examine a long-held distaste for fried rice, formed through years of takeout misery.” Robert Sietsema likes it, too; the Village Voice named Chanoodle’s “gold and silver fried rice” the city’s “Best Fried Rice” in 2004. “Salty fish tidbits, onions, golden raisins, and egg drops”… I may just venture to try this dish after being pleasantly surprised by a similar seafood/raisin rice combination last year. (This afternoon, we shared the vegetable version.)

Chanoodle fried rice

I prefer “Chanoodle” to “Chan Noodle,” if only because Chanoodle reminds me of “canoodle” — a fun word of indeterminate origin. William Safire noted in a 1998 Times piece, available now only to Times Select members, that the derivation theories fall into two disparate camps: the first from the German verb knudeln, “to cuddle,” which has an alternate suggestion of “to pat, or to knead,” as when making Knödel  dumplings; the second draws British origins from the Nottingham dialect for “to cuddle,”‘ or from a Somerset noun meaning “donkey” — used figuratively for “one who makes love [in the original sense] foolishly.”

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Barbecue at the big house

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Friends

SC and JG organized another group together for a visit to Kunjip (in English: “big house”) on West 32nd Street, for “authentic Korean cusine [sic] in the middle of Korean town [sic].

Kunjip dining room

Our party this evening was about half the size it was at the previous Korean barbecue outing, but without the ordering restrictions in place for our last visit to Kunjip, we delved pretty well into the extensive menu.

A quick perusal of the menu board didn’t offer us much direction – though the hearts did add a festive touch! – but we fared somewhat better with the picture menu.

Kunjip menu

Gyeran Jjim (steamed eggs):

Kunjip panchan

An order of “BBQ Combination for 2,” a.k.a. “Carnivore’s delight,” was made up of a heaping platter of fatty pork belly, thin sliced beef brisket, and ox tongue. To supplement, we could not resist adding on the Gal Bi Gui  (marinated short ribs) and Bul Go Ki  (marinated prime ribeye), all of which the restaurant staff helpfully grilled for us tableside. No smokeless grills this time out; the heavy scent of grilled meats permeated everything.

Kunjip grill

Kunjip grill

Rounding out the non-meat items: the Hae Mool Pajun  (seafood pancake), the Chap Jae, a bowl of Soon Doo Boo Chigae, the Mae Woon Dduk Boki  (spicy pan-fried Korean rice cake with vegetable — pictured below) and one curious-looking bowl of purple (forbidden?) rice.

Kunjip rice cake

For dessert, cool bowls of Sujeonggwa, the traditional Korean sweet drink flavored by ginger and cinnamon, and dried persimmon – aha, the mystery ingredient! – garnished with pine nuts. The aromatic brew had the color of tea, but was technically not a tea, i.e., based on tea shrub leaves, but an infusion or a tisane.

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Pretty poison

Monday, May 28th, 2007 | All Things, NYC History

A recent New York magazine feature examined the industrial pollution problem lurking beneath Greenpoint, and floating along the surface of Newtown Creek, the murky waterway that stretches some three and a half industrialized miles between Brooklyn and Queens that was once a site of mansions and flourishing shipyards.

Newton Creek

Toxic waste continues to seep into the creek from a ten million gallon underground reservoir, which houses the spills, leaks, and waste left in the wake of over a century of heavy industry.

The creek has evaded cleanup due largely to its remote, secluded nature. The Pulaski Bridge, from which this photo of the estuary was taken, is probably better known as the halfway point of the New York City marathon.

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