After attending my friend Bux’s memorial service this morning, I was depressed and needed something comforting. My last meal with him was at Chinatown Brasserie, and I’m still recovering from a nasty cold from last week (yes, ANOTHER one) so it seemed entirely appropriate to head to Chinatown, go get some steamy Chinese food, definitely involving noodles in soup somehow, and perhaps enjoy a meal that I know he would have liked, at least if not for the company.
New Green Bo
66 Bayard St, New York, NY
I had never been to New Green Bo, and I had heard about how good their Shanghai Soup Dumplings were. Soup dumplings are definitely comforting, and I am quite familiar with the ones I can get in Jersey at China 46, so I seized the opportunity.
Storefront on Bayard Street in Chinatown.
New Green Bo’s Dining Room
Would you like to join me and my wife in a Chinatown meal to reflect upon a lost friend? Click on “Read the rest of this entry” for more.
We started off with the Hot and Sour Soup, which I’d like to go on record saying is probably one of the best I’ve had in recent memory. Plenty of “stuff” in it, and with a nice vinegar and chili bite, and not too gloppy.
As soon as I saw a plate of these scallion pancakes heading for another table, I knew we had to have them. They come out absolutely piping, burn your hands hot, and while they are probably the most simple things you can imagine — just fried dough with scallions in them, they are quite excellent, particularly when dipped in the vinegary/soy dipping sauce.
Here’s a closeup of a pancake slice in my hand.
The main event, Shanghai Soup Dumplings, or as they are properly called, Xiao Long Bao. These are a pork and crab combination. They’re called “Soup” dumplings because when you bite into these little steamed purses, you get a nice mouthful of broth to go along with the meat filling. They’re made by spooning a little bit of gelatinized stock into the dumpling along with the meat before they are sealed up and steamed. You eat them with a soy/vinegar dipping sauce.
Here I’ve got one sitting on a Chinese soup spoon. The correct method of eating these is to carefully get one onto a spoon, and then bite a small incision into a protruding side, and then suck out the juice. Then you dip the spoon a bit into the dipping sauce, and eat the rest of it in one big bite.
This is another type of dumpling we got, with pork and chives, a type of Jiaozi (ponounced JOW-Zuh)
I didn’t get to try any, but the pan fried pork dumplings looked amazing. I’m definitely going to order those next time.
Great NY Noodle Town
28 1/2 Bowery, New York, NY
Just right up the block from New Green Bo is Great NY Noodle Town, a different sort of Chinese restaurant specializing in Hong-Kong style noodle soups and roast meats. Good the Xiao Long Bao at New Green Bo were, I needed something more… well, soupy. If you’ve got similar aspirations, this would be the place to go.
The store window of Great New York Noodle Town, facing Bayard Street. You just know this is going to be a fantastic place with all the wonderful Chinese roast meats presented for everyone to see like that.
It was a cold Sunday afternoon, but Noodle Town (and the whole of Chinatown, really) was buzzing with activity.
A closer look at some of those yummy roast meats — Soy Sauce BBQ Chickens, Char Siu (roast pork), Peking Ducks and Spare Ribs. I’ve been known to take a pound or two of this stuff home for when I make fried rice or noodles during the week.
Noodle Town is seriously “old school” Chinatown — dig the tea in the glasses, yo.
How one eats their noodles in Chinatown.
Rachel got a noodle soup with Roast Duck.
I got one with Roast Pork.
A closer look at the Roast Pork. Very juicy.
We also got some spare ribs, which were excellent.
Shrimp in XO Sauce. A simple dish, but delicious — just large shrimp, perfectly sauteed with celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and a spicy Cantonese special chef’s sauce called “XO“. Every Cantonese chef formulates his own XO sauce out of many ingredients, which include things like dried scallops, ham, salted cured fish, dried shrimp, chili, onions, garlic, and oil, just to name a few. I know Bux would have liked them.
“Every Cantonese chef formulates his own XO sauce out of many ingredients”
…or, you know, uses the Lee Kum Kee stuff.
Next time you go to NY Noodle Town, you gotta try the salt baked shrimp. Soo good.
Breakfast today will be Asian. Thanks for the read…
Oh, I recall Great NY Noodle Town. I was only there once, but I recall it being really great. I actually think I was there with YOU, Jason, but you probably didn’t have a camera on you at the time.
Did you get any of the meats packed to take home? That’s one of their “things” if I recall correctly, listed on those big green signs over the cash register.
Good stuff. Bux, for all that he was a gourmand and could discuss the fanciest food at the drop of a hat, loved this stuff too.
Oh and Lee Kum Kee XO sauce? Perish the thought! :lol
Luther: I’m pretty sure that Noodle Town’s chef makes his own XO, it didn’t taste like the LKK stuff, as good as the LKK stuff is (I use it at home). After all, most Chinese restaurants in Chinatown are very cost conscious — bottled XO sauces cost more money than making it yourself.
Jon: Did not bring home any meats this time because we went to New Beef King and brought home an assload of Chinese Beef Jerky. I didn’t get any photos inside the place because it is a very tight, small shop, but you should come over and try some.
I love New York City’s Chinatown. What a great eating place. Cheap, too. I used to live in New Jersey but am now in Boston. We have a Chinatown, but it’s tiny.
I wish we had such places in Florida. I need to come up to NJ soon. Well I have to get my taxes done anyway!
I typically go to Wo Hop the downstairs one. It’s best at like 2:00 AM with all the characters. I think my picture is on the “wall of shame” somewhere.
Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.
Wait, so how were the xiao long bao? How do they compare to other places? You completely omitted what you thought about them!
Ah yes, sorry, they were very good and very juicy. Rachel thought that she liked the purely pork kind better we’ve had at other places, I think If I were to go back I’d probably get the pure pork ones as well for a more exact comparison.
Sorry, but you don’t know soup dumplings, if you think the ones at New Green Bo are good. Talk about greasy and thick skinned. Good soup dumplings should not leave you with a greasy aftertaste and the skin is supposed to be thin, not thick. I admit, I’m no Chinese gourmet, but I know the basics from having eaten great ones and terrible ones, like the ones New Green Bo serves.
It’s too bad there’s no Ding Tai Feng in NYC. Their soup dumplings kick ass — nothing at all like New Green Bo’s. Supposedly they have a branch in LA that’s pretty good. I’ve been to their flagship restaurant in Taipei and it’s a reason to fly half way around the world by itself.
For decent Chinese food (not soup dumplings) in Manhattan try Congee on Bowery, half a block north of Canal, or Big Wong on Mott (true old school C-Town) for roast meats. Great New York Noodletown is pretty good too, I agree, and open very late. There are no good soup dumpling places in Manhattan. Don’t even mention Joe’s Shanghai — they don’t know soup dumplings from rubber tires.
There’s one other incredible Chinese restaurant I won’t mention, because I don’t think you deserve eating there. Your taste buds haven’t developed enough yet. Spend a year in Taiwan eating and then maybe I’ll tell you.
You sound like a tool.
Gee I’m so honored that you’ve graced me with your presence.
Truth be told, I’ve had them at a few well-known Shanghainese restaurants in Jersey and in California. I’ve never had them in Taiwan so I can’t say I’ve had them from any of the legendary places there. However, I’ve been told by several Taiwanese that China 46 in Ridgefield Park, NJ (“9 Fish” in Chinese, which is evocative of a famous XiaoLongBao restaurant in Taipei”) is the real deal. I can’t say I liked the ones at New Green Bo as much as I like the ones at China 46, but I wouldn’t call them greasy or thick skinned either.
Yum! Have you been to Dumpling House hidden between the LES and Chinatown. Amazing!!! You must go.
Though Chinatown is filled with cheap, delicious dives sometimes its hard to dig through to find them, thanks for the recommendation!
I didn’t know Bux, sounds like he was a great guy,and into the arts, this is my first time to this site,so thanks for the memories of Chinatown you have congered up. (used to go to Wah Kee long ago on doyer street) Looking foward to trying these places you have mentioned. Best G.
Everything you said is true (except the possibly phantom restaurant you won’t mention) but why be a dick about it? It’s not like you’ve tried all the best spots in Taiwan or China. I would suggest that you come to Tainan and Kaohsiung to eat the southern specialities, but you better not – our taxi drivers would smack you around for being an annoying American.
Dumplings and soup are a great comfort food. On a day that is sad, and perhaps a bit feverish, the soupy and starchy and meaty, with a tangy touch and some heat, is the best of all things for what ails the heart, the soul, and the nose and throat!
Can anybody recommend a XO sauce recipe they may have found online? Or if I am trying it for the first time, should I go with the Lee Kum Kee to start with? Thanks in advance.
I’m also a big fan of Xia Long Bao. Over the years I’ve tried almost all the places around the city known for great Xia Long Bao. Part of the list includes Joe’s Shanghai, New Green Bo, Yeah Shanghai, Congee Village, China 46, Shou Chou, one place in Flushing (name?) and even Chinatown Brasserie.
My vote for the best is China 46 and Joe’s Shanghai. Criteria: taste and amount of the broth, thickness (has to be as thin as possible) of the skin. Both (Joe’s and 46) taste about the same but Joe’s Shanghai can be inconsistent at times.
IMHO, they are both as good as the Din Tai Fong’s (…if not better).
[…] a previous post about New Green Bo I spoke a bit about Xiao Long Bao dumplings, which seemed to have struck a chord with a number of […]
I was at New Green Bo recently (May 2008) and ordered the pork wonton soup (8 to 10 wontons in a clear consomme-like soup) and I thought it was very good. The wontons skin was delicate and the pork filling very fresh, tasty (not overly spiced), and the soup was clear (consomme like). Love it. (I’m Chinese and I know wontons having eaten them throughout my life). For $3.50, can’t be beat.