Menchanko Tei ~ Orderinny

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Menchanko Tei

Give me winter over summer anytime. At least, indulgence in rich and buttery food are condoned and flabby arms are hidden from sight by clever jackets and coats. The streets look cleaner, the subway smells less rank and my electricity bill is much lower. But one thing summer has over winter, aside from plenty of lush stone fruits and the joys of ice cold beer and watermelon slices is the comeback of seasonal cold noodles. It could be soba slick with a soy and wasabi concoction, or fabulously thin and elastic korean naeng myun nested in a ice-cold beef broth.
My favorite cold Asian noodle however is a Japanese dish called Hiyashi Chuka. And of all the ramen-yas in Midtown, I favor Menchanko Tei's version the most as the flavors are clean and fresh and the presentation aesthetically pleasing. A big heap of thin egg noodles hides under a profusion of toppings that include cucumber, lettuce, marinated shitake mushrooms, chicken, a thin egg omelet, seaweed and scarily red pickeld ginger. All toppings were sliced almost as finely as the noodles are thin. A dollop of mustard also helps clear sinuses and gives the sweet and sour soy-based broth a bracing lift. The mustard's heat and the vinegar's tartness stimulates dormant summer appetites and before you know it, you'd have eaten the entire bowl of noodles. It doesnt look like much but you've got the equivalent of half a pack of dried pasta by the time you roll out of the restaurant. Be warned though, that I've observed a negative side effect after eating this dish. The noodles do such a great job of waking my tastebuds that instead of feeling full, I leave in search of even more food, especially dessert. Oh man, will I stop eating already! But I don't have to look far, since Japanese icecream or pudding are on sale at Menchanko too!

Menchanko Tei
131 E45th St (Between Lex & 3rd Aves)
43-45 W55th St (Bet 5th & 6th Aves)

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