Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eastern Noodle

so, I work in Chinatown, and yet the irony is that I never get to eat at good Chinese restaurants. money and health issues mean I bring my lunch 4-5 days per week. even when I don't, lunch is always a rushed affair held in my classroom or, if I'm lucky, 15 minutes snatched in the lounge. therefore, I can't go far, and I have to go to places that are reliably immediate. (and of course I never want to come back to Chinatown to spend time on the weekend or whatever...)

when I first started working here, we used to go to places like Prosperity Dumpling all the time (it's like 15 feet from my school, and the dumplings are usually ready to go when you walk in, and it's a buck for five dumplings and another 50 cents for a sesame pancake--perfect!). but it's sooo greasy and gross and because it's so cheap and close I would eat it alllll the time and now I haven't been in many months. burned myself out on it.

I want to try to change that, and I have slightly more flexible lunch periods now during Regents' week. so today I went to a place that's about 100 feet from my school but was an X factor in terms of speed and goodness. it's called Eastern Noodle, and it's one of many noodle shops in the Eldridge Street/Forsyth Street area serving the local Fuzhounese workers. no English menus--in fact, no menu at all--were in evidence. also, no counter. you just walk up to the door of the kitchen and a Chinese lady working at the stove looks up and you bark your order at her. I just said BEEF NOODLE and she nodded and went back to her work. but a minute later she grabbed some dough and began to stretch and pull fresh noodles right in front of me, threw them and some bok choy into a giant simmering pot of broth, stirred it a bit, threw on some beef, and brought it out to me (I kind of had wanted it to go, but I went with it and sat down with some Chinese dudes talking on their cellphones eating pork bone marrow--which I want to try next time).

the broth was scrumptious. it had a very dark brown, beefy flavor, not cheap or fake or boulliony at all, and I found myself slurping away at it as if it were a drink. the noodles varied in thickness--a good sign of their handmadeness--and were perfectly cooked. the beef was a bit fatty but also really good, but obviously a "side part" of the dish, not the focus--a fact that was very attractive to me. I didn't want to eat a chunk of beef for lunch with some broth and noodles on the side. the beef was just another thing you might nab as you ate your broth and noodles.

$5.25 for that and a diet coke. not bad. I'll be back. also: they were fast!

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