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.