having spent a year travelling throughout china trying all sorts of amazing (and not so amazing) food, i definitely crave the local chinese specialties that are found at the hole in the wall spots. not so clean, but oh so interesting and often tasty. since my travels were long ago, my memories are somewhat faded but highlights include: the sizzling rice dishes, the dan dannoodles (which i can find here regularly) and most amazing ma po dofu (or tofu) ever in chengdu (my all time favorite city); sweet dumpling balls called yuanxiao that i had in hangzhou; and lovely youtiao (fried sticks of dough) served with sweet soy milk in dunhuang. i guess my donut obsession has been around for a while.
unfortunately, i don’t often have chinese out these days though i try to cook one asian dinner a week if i can. park slope’s offerings are extremely poor, and j is not a huge fan so i don’t drag him to flushing where i think the best chinese in new york has migrated. lately, though, i have been determined to begin to see what’s going on in sunset park, brooklyn’s chinatown. i’ve tried dim sum (so far not so exciting) and have been pleased with the huge grocery stores when i need various kinds of soy sauce, chili oil and black bean sauce.
in my quest to find something good nearby, we recently visited lan zhou handpull noodle. i of course love the imperfect translation — definitely reminds me of those china days — as does the very basic setting which is a very tiny spot (maybe 10 seats) with a couple tables, huge pots of broth and lots of slurping. we stuck to the basics at lan zhou: i got the beef soup, and j got the house special with pork chop, beef tripe. other options included tripe, fish balls and roast duck. both orders came in large plastic bowls and included a fried egg (quite cooked) and some mustard greens and bok choy. both were served in a tasty rich broth which was great especially as i was tending a not so pleasant cold. i also loved the perfectly chewy wheat noodles which we could see being pulled as we ate, providing some mesmerizing entertainment for the kids. while my meat was too chewy, and i could have done with more veggies, lan zhou offered tons of condiments including a nice chili oil and cut up cilantro so we could flavor it anyway we wanted and at around $5 a bowl it was cheap.
so while i will go back to lan zhou both because it was tasty, nearby and felt a little like china, i will admit that i am not a hand pulled noodle expert like the girl who ate everything and i need some more context for a proper review i plan to try chowhound‘s queens recommendations like lao bei feng and king 5 noodle house as well as hand pull noodle and dumpling house in bensonhurst. in manhattan, super taste gets high marks for their pork-bone soup and tasty hand-pulled noodles opened this past february. and then there is lan zhou handmade noodle which may or may not be related to lan zhou handpull noodle. i’m excited for my research to begin. lan zhou handpull noodle, 5924 8th avenue between 59th and 60th streets, brooklyn, new york, 718.492.7568.