Finding a place to eat in Chinatown after 9:30pm can be a little bit of a challenge. Many of the restaurants close up shop early, and the ones still open are either jam-packed or empty (no customers=what's up with the kitchen?). So, as Lara and I wandered around the semi-darkened streets searching for a good noodle option after a Friday night magic show, a place I've walked by a million times--but never noticed--stood out: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodle Inc., just off the Bowery on Doyers Street.
Move over Sheng Wang: this place takes Fujianiese-style noodles up a notch!
The place seems cleaner than Sheng Wang (it's newer, at least, and the kitchen's nice and shiny). When you sit down they give you a cup of nice jasmine tea to get you started, and they actually serve your food in real dishes, which is much nicer (and way more environmentally-friendly) than Sheng Wang.
Lara was in the mood for pan-fried noodles, and I suggested she try the peel noodles, so she chose the duck option ($6.25). When it came out it was gorgeous. The stir fry was basic--kind of in the Lo Mein/Yakisoba style--but fresh and yummy. And although the duck was bony, Lara thought it was tasty.
I couldn't decide what I wanted, so the server suggested I try the dumpling soup ($5), which I ordered with peel noodles. When it arrived, it was beautiful: there were more veggies than at Sheng Wang (Tasty adds a nice handful of fresh spinach), and there was the traditional plop of some pickled veggies in the middle. The broth was full of flavor, and the pork and bok choy dumplings were fresh and out-of-this-world (the server says they usually make them every other day, and they sell out quickly).
There are also a few things hanging out on the table to spice things up a bit: A dish of chopped cilantro, which added a wonderful freshness to the soup, and a new kind of chili oil I've never seen before--the chilis were finely ground, and there were a few sesame seeds floating around in the mix (it packed a nice punch, too). And just in case you needed a little more, there was dumpling sauce and sriacha, too.
I'm still down with Sheng Wang, but I think Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodle Inc. has moved into first place on my list of noodle soup joints.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodle Inc., 1 Doyers Street, just off the Bowery. Open 'till 10:30pm.