Noodle Explainer: La mian
Noodle Explainer: Biang biang mian
Noodle Explainer: Cu mian
Noodle Explainer: Fen tiao
Noodle Explainer: You mian
Noodle Explainer: Mi xian
Long before the first Italian twirled pasta, the Chinese were rolling out starchy creations as far back as 3000 B.C. Chinese noodles include Shanghainese wheat versions like cu mian and the absorbent glass ones such as fen tiao. Get to know the world of doughy strands beyond lo mein and chow fun.
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The finest of these hand-pulled noodles are leavened and stretched in the style of Lanzhou, a city in the dusty mountains of Northwestern China. They have a dense, springy texture and are traditionally served in a beef or mutton broth or stir-fried in tomato sauce.
Where to get them: Lam Zhou Hand Made Noodles, 144 East Broadway between Essex and Pike Sts (212-566-6933)
<em>Biang biang mian</em>
These thick, hand-pulled wheat noodles are commonly used in hearty country-style soups from China’s north-central Shaanxi region. Their onomatopoeic name allegedly comes from the sound of the dough slapping counter as it’s stretched.
Where to get them: Xi’an Famous Foods, 67 Bayard St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (xianfoods.com)
Usually panfried with sliced veggies and pork, these udon-like wheat noodles are a staple of Shanghainese street food.
Where to get them: 456 Shanghai Cuisine, 69 Mott St between Bayard and Canal Sts (212-964-0003)
Made from absorbent starch, these fine glass noodles are an excellent vehicle for intense flavors, like the scorching pork-and-chili sauce in the Szechuan classic “Ants Climbing a Tree” (ma yi shang shu).
Where to get them: Szechuan Gourmet, 135-15 37th Ave between Main and Prince Sts, Flushing, Queens (718-888-9388)
Particularly popular in Cantonese cuisine, these fine egg noodles can be stir-fried or quickly blanched in a broth. When done right, they add a nice al dente texture to wonton soup.
Where to get them: Sifu Chio, 40-09 Prince St between Main St and Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, Queens (718-888-9295)
There are innumerable variations on the rice noodle, but the Yunnan style, mi xian—from the rainforests bordering Southeast Asia—is reputed to be the most fragrant and flavorful, and is typically served in light, fresh soups.
Where to get them: Yun Nan Flavor Garden, 5121 Eighth Ave between 51st and 52nd Sts, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-633-3090)
It’s a surprising scene: a burlesque dancer—clad in sequins, tassels and not much else—lifts her leg until a stiletto heel grazes the top of her ear to the sounds of a live jazz trio. No more than a foot away, groups of men in Buddy Holly glasses and women in Stevie Nicks shawls feast on corn-masa tamales fitted with bone marrow ($11), and dark-plum mole studded with grilled octopus ($18). Guadalupe Inn is not what you’d expect from the area—a stretch of Knickerbocker Avenue that’s littered with auto garages and minimarts—and it’s not what you’d typically expect from a New York Mexican restaurant. There’s, thankfully, no jalapeño-shaped string-light kitsch. Instead, glass chandeliers and a rotating disco ball provide a sultry amount of illumination. Curved banquettes the color of salsa verde are angled toward a velvet-curtained stage, where performances range from traditional mariachi bands to bawdy drag comics. The swank supper-club feel is a decided distinction not only from the city’s fellow South of the Border ambassadors but also from the team’s own portfolio of cantinas: Mexico City natives Jorge Boetto, Gerardo Zabaleta and chef Ivan Garcia are also behind Williamsburg’s rustic Mesa Coyoacán and Zona Rosa, which doles dishes out of an Airstream-trailer kitchen. If only Garcia’s modern Mexican plates matched the room’s flashy elegance. The earthy nuttiness of masa tostadas are overpowered by the fishy funk of tuna and an acrid nest of pickled cabbage ($12), and an ag
Venue says: “June Performance Schedule: Latin/Burlesque on Wed., Vinyl Happy Hour on Thurs., Latin bands on Fri./Sat., Boozy Bossa Nova Brunch on Sunday!”