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Little Tong

Restaurants, Chinese East Village
4 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranLittle Tong Noodle Shop
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranGrandma chicken mixian at Little Tong Noodle Shop
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranBeef tartare at Little Tong Noodle Shop
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranLittle pot mixian at Little Tong Noodle Shop
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla ZahoranPork wontons at Little Tong Noodle Shop
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran Little Tong Noodle Shop
 (Photograph: Cayla Zahoran)
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran Little Tong Noodle Shop

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

New York Knows its noodles, from the thinnest ramen to the thickest udon and every soba, somen and cellophane strand in between. But mixian—the Yunnan-born rice noodle that goes down like the love child of Chinese vermicelli and Italian spaghetti—has proven more elusive than its starchy brethren, found predominantly in outer-borough holes-in-the-wall like Yun Nan Flavour Garden in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Wd~50 alum Simone Tong zooms in on the Yunnanese specialty in the city’s densest thicket of noodle houses at Little Tong, her blond-wood, 28-seat East Village canteen with restaurateur Simon Xi (SakaMai, Bar Moga).

Tong is of Szechuan descent but largely trades that region’s peppercorn tingle for Yunnan’s fermented tang: The slight acidity of her soft, springy noodles are best showcased in the little pot mixian ($15), a porky potage laced with pickled mustard seeds and chili vinaigrette, and the grandma chicken mixian ($15), which livens up chicken broth and shredded bird with the sharp funk of pickled daikon radish, black sesame garlic oil and a savory tea egg. In comparison, the Banna shrimp mixian ($15) is curiously subdued, a sweet, chilled bowl of tomato-shellfish broth enriched with coconut milk that displays little of the promised smokiness.

Punchier are the menu’s “Little Eats,” spunky small plates like salted cucumber with a nutty tahini-sesame “bang bang” sauce ($4); a tartare of beef and chopped carrot, served with a slick of Szechuan butter and some pulled roti ($13); and a fresh, fragrant ghost chicken salad, tossed with fermented chilies, pickled red onions and herbs by the fistful ($7). Little Tong may be small in stature, but it’s big where it counts.

By: Christina Izzo



Address: 177 First Ave
New York
Cross street: between E 10th and E 11th Sts
Price: Average noodle soup: $15
Opening hours: Tue–Sun 5:30–11pm
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