If you haven’t already, it’s about time you make the trek deep into Manhattan Chinatown away from the fake Coach bags and thousands of iPhone cases on Canal Street. Lam Zhou Handmade Noodles is a tiny noodle shop on the very South Eastern tip of Chinatown. It’s been around for ages and is consistently rated as one of the best Chinese noodle places in the city. I.K., D.C, F.L., and I skipped the usual eggs benny and came here for brunch/lunch one weekend.
The restaurant is small and a little dirty. Expect to sit facing a wall or at a table with other noodle-slurping diners. Lam Zhou is a restaurant in its most basic and practical form: serves food and provides utensils to eat.
As the name of the restaurant suggests, Lam Zhou is a noodle shop. It specializes in beef noodle soup where you can choose the beef type (brisket, tendon, oxtail, some combination, etc.) and the noodles (handpulled or knife-cut). I chose a brisket-tendon combo with knife-cut noodles.
Each table has its fair share of condiments, including chili oil and these pickled mustard greens. I love these pickles with my beef noodle soup, and actually only ever have it in the U.S. or Taiwan. Beijing noodle shops don’t use these pickles. It adds a nice acidity and crunch to help cut the fatty beef broth.
Here’s a close-up of the knife-cut noodles. Notice how un-uniform it is, reminding me of some of the rougher homemade pastas I love. Knife-cut noodles are thick, chewy, and relatively short (hard to cut off long pieces). I think they may actually be better with sauce-based noodles, rather than soup-based, because it doesn’t seem to soak up the broth flavor as well. Next time I’ll have to get the handpulled noodles, what I think they’re actually known for. Throughout our lunch, we could actually hear the noodle-man making the noodles. He was big and strong (definitely had to be) and wielded this thick slab of dough, slapping it against a hard surface over and over again until they became beautiful long, chewy, handpulled noodles.
Yelp tells me that the dumplings are also worth getting, so we got an order for the table. They only come in one kind: chive and pork, which I love. The skin is much thinner than your typical Chinese restaurant in NYC, and the pork is pretty flavored so you really only need vinegar as a sauce (how it’s supposed to be).