Xi'an Famous Foods
Trade Sichuan for Shanxi at this Chinatown gem.
Mon Jan 18 2010
Like a culinary pilgrim, I often board the 7 train bound for the promised land of Flushing, where my go-to Chinese is Xi’an Famous Foods in Golden Mall’s underground dining warren. I’m seduced by the cooking of the Shanxi province, characterized by sour, spicy and fragrant tastes, and Muslim influences that can be seen in ingredients like lamb and cumin. Now I no longer need to trek to Queens to enjoy it, thanks to the December arrival of a tiny Xi’an Famous Foods outpost (88 East Broadway at Forsyth St, entrance on Forsyth St, No. 106; no phone) beneath the Manhattan Bridge. None of the vibrant flavors were lost in the move. The “cold-skin” wheat noodles are just as tangy and hot; warm tofu still comes submerged in crimson chili oil; and my favorite dish, the signature noodles, are hand-pulled to order and piled high with cumin-spiked lamb ($5), just like in Queens. Each bite is chewy yet delicate, lusciously fatty and exotic—like dining on the Silk Road, just steps from a subway ride home.—Joshua M. Bernstein
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