Soup noodles on Eldridge Street ~ Orderinny

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Soup noodles on Eldridge Street

When Yanru first suggested eating Lanzhou hand pulled noodles with a side of Fuzhou stuffed fishballs on Eldridge St, I was a little confused. Lanzhou is famed for its thick strands of chewy, udon-like noodles, while meat-stuffed fishballs are known specialties of Fuzhou. No disputes there. But with Lanzhou in the interior of China and Fuzhou right on the southeast coast, how did the cusines of the two regions collide and interact, and in New York no less?
Questions aside, both the noodles and the fishballs at Sheng Wang were pretty good, especially considering the rock-bottom price of $4 for a basin full of homemade noodles, hand-pulled by the chef standing behind the narrow counter. The list of toppings for the toothsome noodles was long and varied, ranging from pig innards to cantonese roast duck, which is certainly not made in-house and which we avoided. After some inquiries, we ordered the house specialty pork bone soup, which ostensibly came with a few hunking chunks of bones, hacked right in the middle such that the marrow was sliding into the rich, meaty broth. To cut the grease factor, the noodles are topped with pickled vegetables. It was certainly not a dainty dish and Rosie and Ying valiantly tried to finish their portions. A good half dozen Fuzhou fishballs, the size of golf balls came afloating on top of Yanru's fishball noodles, and they were a little doughy but also very satisfying.
Besides Sheng Wang, a few other noodle shops with similar menus line Eldridge St, catering to the immigrant community, largely from Fuzhou, who need a fuss-free and nourishing bite. While the food and the shoebox frills-free basement dining room were a little coarser than we are used to, the humble fare did me good, as I warmed myself on that cold and rainy night with the vats of soup and reflected on my fortune once again, to live in a great, diverse city where $40 and $4 entrees exist within a short 15 block radius and are celebrated alike.

Sheng Wang Noodles
27 Eldridge St

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