Noodles on Bowery
Working at Mapos and being Chinese has made me an expert about eating noodles around the Bowery. Here are some places I’ve come across. Tasty is not guaranteed, however – eating is about the journey.
Chinatown Ramen Joint. Nice noodle, but sad interior. Their Tondaku Wadashi Ramen was supposed to have goodness from both ocean and mountain; to me, it was just very salty. If you go there, try Mazemen (soupless Ramen), a trendy dish these days – Bassanova did some of their own innovation on the dish, worth trying. Another good thing about this place is they provide a half portion option for most their noodles!
Mimi & Coco.
A tiny place on Rivington, only has 6 seats. It serves Japanese street-style food (think those little teriyaki balls), and has pretty good Ramen. I recommend their Spice Miso Ramen!
(Great NY) Noodletown!
Their menu is huge, which can be intimidating, but I am here to help! Generally, your dish will be based on either noodle or rice. For noodle, you can choose with or without soup; and for the rice you can choose to have it either fried or white. Then, you have to decide what kind of meat you want: pork (sweat or pork belly with skin), duck or chicken. Hong Kong-style BBQ duck is one of the best things in the world, but when it comes with your rice or noodle dish, it probably will be just some bony parts. So if you are in a duck-eating-mood, order BBQ duck as a separate entree!
Jon Schramm, an old Mapos colleague (who sadly left us for the sunny shores of San Francisco), is responsible for its authentic interior, so of course An Choi always has a place in our heart. That said, that food at this place is okay. I like that they have Banh Mi + Pho half & half option. If you go there, watch out for Chicken Dry Noodles – it is nothing like Pad Thai.
Soba is healthier version of Ramen (think brown rice vs. white rice). You can’t go wrong at this place, but if you want to go hard-core, order Cold Natto Soba. You will get a bowl of silky and slimy noodles with a distinct smell. Natto may be hard for people to appreciate on the first try, but it is a superfood; hey, Japanese people love it, and they are out-living the rest of the world.