Today was a damp, cold, snowy, all around gross-New York kinda day. Bad day for walking around, but great day for a hot bowl of hand-pulled noodles from Chinatown. Where can one find such a dish? At Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles. Duh. They pretty much spell it out for you in the name there. If you suggest this place to a friend and they ask "what is it?" they should be stabbed in the face with a chopstick.
The NYC Foodie told me about this place and suggested we go; I had never heard of it so I was game. Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles is a tiny hole in the wall on Doyer Street in Chinatown. I don't think I've ever even been ON Doyers Street – but it looks like a movie set, lined with quintessential Chinatown shops with dumplings, dim sum and the like. Once inside, we sat downstairs which is basically like a large pantry closet with tables. Seriously. It is a no-frills noodle shop. We got an order of steamed dumplings, hand-pulled noodles in fish broth with seafood (mussels, shrimp, crab, and fishballs), and knife cut pan-fried noodles with beef and duck. Carbo-loading at it's finest.
Here's my general consensus for the meal – TASTY! Lame joke, but true. The dumplings were nice and meaty, albeit a little slippery, especially with the dumpling sauce on top which made it even harder to grasp with the chopsticks. Still, I love a good dumpling and these hit the spot. That said, I saw a plate of the fried dumplings coming out of the kitchen as we were leaving and they looked incredible. I think fried always trumps steamed, no? That makes a nice segue into my next point actually..
Between the two main noodle dishes, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the knife-cut, pan-fried noodles more than the hand-pulled noodles in soup. They were both delicious, but there was something so authentic and "unpretty" about the knife-cut noodles; they were thick, asymettrical, and even a little bit sloppy. The pieces of duck on top were golden-brown with a crisp skin (how great is duck skin, btw?), and the pieces of beef mixed in the noodles were savory and tender. I salivated a little just thinking about it.
Now don't get me wrong, the hand-pulled noodles were also good, just not AS good in my opinion. The broth was nice and steamy mixed with spinach, shrimp, mussels, and crab, add a dash of sriracha..mmm that'll warm you right up. The noodles were plentiful and the bowl was huge – definitely enough to share for two people – and for the price? Amazing. Noodles range from $5.50-$8.00 depending on your additions (duck, pork, egg, etc). In fact, my only regret is that I forgot to ask for an egg in my noodles. Silly me. I remember when I went to Ippudo I asked for a soft-boiled egg in my ramen and it was amazeballs. Next time…