Best cold noodle dishes in NYC
Set in a former opera house on Chinatown’s historic Doyers Street, Chinese Tuxedo showcases chef Paul Donnelly’s contemporary take on traditional Chinese dishes, an approach reviewers affectionately call “smart fusion.” Take Donnelly’s Liang Mein—a tangle of chilled noodles, steeped in a bright sesame-ponzu sauce, crowned with salty kick of crunchy fried shallots and crushed peanuts.
U.K. mainstay Wagamama first graced New York’s Flatiron district with its Asian-inspired favorites back in 2016. Now, it adapts its soul-fueled menu to warmer temps, offering guests an array of lighter chilled dishes. When in doubt, go for the chili soba salad that heightens nutty soba noodles with the spiced-umami flavors of mushroom, chili and miso, along with the crisp textures of snow pea, carrot and red onion. Top yours with fresh chili and cilantro-grazed chicken or tofu.
Inspired by the savory, vibrant dishes from China’s southwestern Yunnan province, Little Tong specializes in mixian (rice noodle) bowls. The flavor profile of the chilled laoya duck mixian gets elevated with fermented chili-sautéed corn-soybean succotash, seared king oyster mushrooms, cured yolk shavings, fried scallions and a tea-infused roasted duck bone broth that’s poured tableside.
Specializing in iekei-style ramen—a marriage of tonkotsu and shoyu—this trendy West Village ramen joint serves its signature thick broth with a chill. E.A.K.’s vegan cold ramen showcases thin noodles in a cool veg broth, topped with cabbage, tomatoes, bean sprouts, baby corn, creamy kabocha and crunchy lotus root.
When it comes to ingredients, chef Charlie Chen believes in quality over complexity. Take his scallion chicken cold noodle; a simply dressed bowl of cool rice noodles, organic shredded chicken and charred scallion that’s so fresh you won’t need the bells and whistles.
Master Japanese udon chain TsuruTonTan features 36 rotating udon options, nine of which are served cold. The salty and creamy mentaiko caviar udon is a fan favorite—topped with a generous spoonful of cod roe, cucumber matchsticks and a fragrant shiso leaf, this chilled udon bowl makes for a delightfully refreshing warm-weather lunch.
This Lower East Side noodle shop is widely known and adored for its soba (buckwheat noodle) dishes. If you want to heat things up without turning up the flame, try their bang bang chicken soba—a chilled bowl of shredded chicken breast, tomato, cucumber, crunchy deep-fried soba and Cocoron’s trademark spicy sesame sauce.
Xi’an’s slippery and saucy bowl of chewy wheat starch noodles is tossed with bean sprouts, cucumbers, cilantro and spongy cubes of wheat gluten. But that’s just the beginning of the flavor profile of this much-adored “cold skin” dish: Notes of black vinegar, garlic, soy and chili oil will inspire you to finish every last drop. Just try your best not to splatter yourself (or your neighbor) as you chow down.
This quirky South Williamsburg restaurant’s refreshingly satisfying bowl of temomi (hand-massaged) noodles is topped with slices of roasted chashu pork and crunchy pickled kohlrabi, plus shishito peppers, scallions and shiso with a little added zip from chili oil. Yeah, you want this.
Szechuan peppercorns add a lip-smacking, spicy mentholated zip to these cold wheat noodles. The sesame oil creates a hint of richness, while the sesame seeds, bean sprouts, garlic and scallions complete the layered flavor profile. You’ll find it under appetizers, but it makes a perfect lunchtime meal for one.