Tag Archives: noodles

Cocoron – Where Hearty Meets Healthy

Cocoron
Cocoron
61 Delancey St
(between Eldridge St & Allen St)
New York, NY 10002

It’s been snowing for hours. It’s cold. I’ve had too much greasy food lately so ramen is out of the question. I could have hot pot… OR I could have soba. Hot soba. Soba is very difficult to make (unlike ramen or udon), which is why bad soba is SO bad. Bad soba is usually very grainy and brittle. Cocoron’s soba is smooth, stretchy, and has a slightly roasted buckwheat flavor.

Too bad I’m really just reliving my hot soba moment through writing this blog post, because there is no way in hell I’m trekking to LES for this right now. But if you’re in the area, you should check out Cocoron. I blogged about it a long time ago, and it still remains one of my favorite little noodle shops in the city.

Cocoron
The kitchen takes up a good half of the entire restaurant and is bordered with a bar. There are maybe four other tables and that’s it. Tiny, cozy little place.

Cocoron
I always ask to sit at the bar when there is one because I love watching the kitchen action. There’s always so much going on. Like, that saucepan that is about to slip off and fall to the ground, spilling all the precious broth in great dramatic fashion. Continue reading

Nagi Ramen: 12-hour sardine broth with wide noodles

November and December of 2013 was a ton of traveling. I went to Italy, North Carolina, Beijing, Dubai, and Japan. The next couple of posts will be mostly from these travels (in no particular order), especially since winter in New York is very sad (dirty, dark, and depressing). Once the weather warms up a bit, I’ll be back on the New York grind.

Nagi RamenNagi Niboshi
1-3-1 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

While in Japan, I was on the hunt for the best ramen as well as new kinds of ramen I have not had. I thought I hit a jackpot when I found Nagi as it is consistently very well rated and is unique. Nagi serves up flat, wide noodles (like pappardelle) with traditional wavy noodles and has a distinctive extra-umami broth. The niboshi broth is boiled for 12 hours with dried sardines. For those of you who hate sardines, I know you hate it for its fishiness but the 12 hours of boiling kills that fishiness. LAW, who hates all things fishy, didn’t even notice. The broth is just very fragrant and… umami.

Nagi Ramen
Like a lame tourist, (it’s hard for me to keep my cool, even though this is my third time in Japan), I was excited to use the ticket vending machine to purchase my ramen. I was about as excited as that cartoon in the background.

Nagi Ramen
The ramen dudes were super jolly as they made noodles for their customers. They would poke fun at each other and their customers (me) while serving. They didn’t speak English, but we managed because we didn’t care what they gave us. Everything looked great.

Nagi Ramen
Ugh. Yum. I got the one with everything in it: thick, soft slices of pork belly, seaweed, bamboo shoots, scallions, and a soft-boiled egg. Continue reading

The Everyday Farmer’s Market in Beijing

Shuang Yu Market
When I first moved back to the US, I remember “farmer’s markets” being all the craze. I would hear things like, “Oh, I got these beautiful fingerling potatoes at the farmer’s market today!” or , “I like knowing that my tomatoes are from a farm just a couple hours away from me.” It sounded a bit pretentious to me at the time, but then I realized that my family shops at a so-called “farmer’s market” in Beijing for all our groceries. It isn’t a novel concept, nor is it a new-age health or sustainability craze, it’s just the way a lot of people buy groceries in China.

Welcome to Shuang Yu Market, the local market by my home in Beijing.

Shuang Yu Market
Bags of man tou, or steamed buns, in the back of a van.

Shuang Yu Market
Locksmith and key duplication.

Shuang Yu Market
The fresh meat hall where  we get all of our pork. Freshly ground pork, ribs, spine for stew, etc. Continue reading

Sao Mai, perfect for a healthy winter meal.

Sao Mai
203 1st Ave
(between 13th St & 12th St)
New York, NY 10003

These nights have been cold. Normally on a cold winter night, I’ll crave something hot and hearty. But the heaviness of Thanksgiving dinner (with some leftovers still in the fridge, like J.W.’s shepherd’s pie which I had for lunch two days in a row…) has made me crave hot foods that are light. How many of those can you think of?


Vietnamese food is overall one of the healthier cuisines. It uses more natural herbs for flavoring and tends to use water or broth over oil. Pho is the perfect combination of hot and light. A bowl of pho consists of rice noodles in a beef broth made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, ginger, and other spices. Compared to other noodle soups, pho is definitely a much lighter option. The rice noodles are almost airy and compensate by being great soup sponges. The soup is flavorful but still clear, allowing you to drink up every last drop without feeling sick (this also depends on how much MSG the restaurant uses). Continue reading

Egg and Tomato, a homely meal (re-post)

This week has been busier than usual. I suck for not posting and I feel terrible about it. I’m going to suck even more after this because I am going to re-post a blog post from earlier this year when I made Egg and Tomato noodles for myself. It’s one of those weeks where I just miss home and crave homely foods, such as these noodles. Here is my post from March, 2012:

Still sick in bed.  I have very little energy today so I am going to repost a photo and add the recipe for it.  Egg and Tomato (鸡蛋炒西红柿) is a classic Chinese dish that every household makes when in need of a quick and simple dish.   Continue reading

Homemade Stir-fried Japanese Tofu


I love Japanese Tofu (日本豆腐). Despite it’s name, it is actually a Chinese tofu made with eggs and soy milk. They are sold in tubes in Chinese supermarkets and are much more expensive than regular silken tofu – for good reason. The eggs make the tofu particularly smooth and silky and the extra protein makes it slightly more filling than traditional silken tofu. I also love the slightly eggy flavor. This was my first time making it and I’d like to say it was a success! Continue reading

Bo Ky Restaurant – $5 Pho

Bo Ky Restaurant (or New Bo Ky Restaurant)
80 Bayard St
(between Mulberry St & Mott St)
New York, NY 10013

Y.P. wanted pho. I don’t have Vietnamese food very often for some reason… not too sure why because I love pho and love this one whole roasted fish dish that you pick at and wrap in rice wrappe sheets – anyone know what it’s called? I was going to be in the Financial District area so looked up the best pho place in the area and found Bo Ky.


The restaurant reminded me of those typical Chinese fastfood places in Hong Kong where people slurp up their wonton noodle soups in suits, leave cash on the table, and head back to their busy lives. We came on a weekday for lunch and the place was surprisingly packed with mostly solo diners. You are expected to share tables and to leave as soon as possible.


I didn’t actually see pho on the menu, though everything they had was “pho-like”. They had a number of other noodle dishes, as well as some appetizers such as the Salted Water Duck, which I saw many order. People came in as regulars and ordered without even looking at the menu. I felt pretty n00by needing a menu and taking more than 3 minutes to decide. I ended up getting the Cambodian Noodle Soup ($5), which had a typical pho-like broth (supposedly made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, onion, ginger, and spices) but instead of the usual condiments, had pork slices, shrimp, and fish balls with half-cooked bean sprouts.

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Xi’an Famous Foods, one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city.

Xi’an Famous Foods
81 St Marks Pl
(between 2nd Ave & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10003

This, my friends, is my go-to weekday spot when I don’t feel like cooking and want something delicious and cheap.  Xi’an is a city in China in the Shaanxi province that is fairly centrally located. Its cuisine therefore is heavily influenced by all regions of China, especially Sichuan for its spiciness and numbing flavors.  As the first capital of China and the start of the Silk Road, Xi’an cuisine is also influenced by Middle Eastern cuisine.  Hence, you’ll see a lot of cumin-flavored meats… I always get three things at Xi’an: a noodle dish, a burger, and a tofu dish.

Pictured here is the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles ($4.50).  This is a very traditional dish that originated in Xi’an.  The noodles are made from rice and are served cold with cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, and chewy tofu/bean curd pieces.  The sauce is garlicy, sweet, sour, spicy, and tingly all at the same time.  It honestly is an explosion of flavors and textures.  The noodles are very springy and chewy, which pair very well with the crisp cucumbers.  The cucumbers, bean sprouts, and cilantro add a bit of freshness to the spicy and oily sauce.  I always, ALWAYS get this in the summer because it is light and refreshing, especially compared to Xi’an Famous Food’s other noodles… I took my dad here when he came to visit and he thought that this was even better than what we get in Beijing.  He’s from Xi’an, so he would know.


The other noodles are all hand-pulled noodles.  There is quite a variety of flavors, my favorites being the Spicy Cumin Lamb, Spicy Hot Oil Seared, and the Pork “Zha Jiang” noodles.  These noodles are made with flour and are hand pulled to a tremendously chewy texture.  They are wide and flat, equivalent of a pappardelle pasta.  As you can see, the noodle dishes are saucy as hell.  You can generally adjust the level of spiciness though don’t go asking for zero spice because it just isn’t going to happen.  They pride themselves in serving authentic Chinese food and will only cater to your weak buds to a small extent. Honestly, if you can’t handle it, you should just force yourself to eat spice more often and you’ll soon appreciate it, I promise. Continue reading

Minca and Kambi, sister restaurants that look the same but taste different.

In the great You Es of Eh, we often think of Japanese food as merely sushi and and edamame and forget about a super duper important, tasty part of it: ramen.  Big bowls of chewy noodles in hearty pork or chicken bone broths topped with slices of tender and flavorful barbecue pork, ramen is definitely one of my favorite foods (along with pizza and cookies).  My most favorite ramen place is Totto Ramen in Midtown West but I have yet to write a legitimate blog post about it because I am waiting until I get a new camera (SOON!) so I can do the place some justice (my photos now are horrible so don’t judge by the link)!  For now… I present to you two other ramen places.  One not so good and one pretty good. Minca Ramen Factory*
536 E 5th St
(between Avenue A & Avenue B)*
New York, NY 10009
Kambi Ramen House*
351 E 14th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

Continue reading

Comfort Food for Speedy Recovery: Egg and Tomato


Still sick in bed.  I have very little energy today so I am going to repost a photo and add the recipe for it.  Egg and Tomato (鸡蛋炒西红柿) is a classic Chinese dish that every household makes when in need of a quick and simple dish.  It’s like the tomato sauce and pasta for Chinese families.  I’d like to think this is a pretty healthy meal; you have your carbs, veggies/fruits, and protein.  I crave this right now in my sickly state but would need to buy tomatoes to make this… reminder to self: ALWAYS HAVE TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE. edit: NEVER STICK TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE!  There’s a Z-3 compound in tomatoes that pretty much dies when it’s forced to live in cold environments.  Without that compound, the tomato apparently loses most of its flavor, shrivels up, and becomes watery and grainy – GROSS.  I can’t believe I’ve been making this mistake all these years.  Thanks, S.V.L. for the pointers!

 

Recipe (as usual, measurements are approximate because I never measure when cooking Chinese food*):

Continue reading