With such a diversity of culinary cultures Queens boasts all kinds of noodles from all kinds of places. Cold, hot, spicy, even dessert they come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Here are seven of our favorites.
1, Da pan ji, Su Xiang Yuan
One of the most surprising things about da pan ji, the Henanese specialty known as “big tray of chicken,” is that it’s actually a big tray of poultry, potatoes, and noodles. And not just any old noodles either, they are the very same springy broad ribbons that grace the specialty of the house at this stand whose name is often translated to Nutritious Lamb Noodle Soup. There’s no soup to be found in the tray though. Instead find hacked up bits of bird and chunks of potatoes atop a bed of hand-pulled noodles. The whole thing is crowned with fresh cilantro and shot through with dried chilies awash in a curry-like concoction with just a touch of star anise along with pleasant bursts of saltiness from preserved beans. The noodles are a perfect vehicle for all that sauce. Nutritious Lamb Noodle Soup, No.28, New World Mall Food Court, Flushing
2. Lagman at Bella Roza
If you find yourself in the Uzbek enclave that is Rego Park seeking comfort in a bowl of noodles look no further than Bella Roza’s lagman. The grandmotherly woman behind the stove at this one-time pizzeria makes one of the best bowls of hand-pulled Uzbek beef noodle soup around. Since Bella Roza is also a bakery each table has a bowl of crusty stale bread perfect for dipping into the bowl of veggies, bits of beef and the namesake noodle, lagman. The noodles themselves will leave you wondering how to say al dente in Uzbeki. Bella Roza, 63-52 Booth St., Rego Park, 718-275-0777
3. Kwetiau Jakarta, Java Village
What’s better than chow fun? Kwetiau Jakarta its Indonesian cousin. It’s enriched with beef, tendon, and tripe. Find the stir fried Indonesian flat noodle at Java Village. Topped with crunchy fried shallots and green onions and shot through with savory swatches of beef and wobbly bits of tripe and tendon it’s fast becoming my favorite flat noodle. Chili heads will want to mix in all of the fiery sambal that is thoughtfully placed on the side of the plate. Java Village, 86-10 Justice Ave., Elmhurst, 718-205-2166
4. Liang pi, Xi’an Famous Foods
Can a plate of noodles be so good that it launches an empire? Apparently so. Back in 2005 when David Shi opened the original XFF in a ramshackle hawker stand he went by the nickname “Liang Pi,” or cold skin after his signature noodle dish. Nine years and several locations later the squidgy, porous blocks of wheat gluten and chewy ribbons of wheat starch, tossed with bean sprouts, cilantro, slivers of cucumber and a “secret sauce” made from sesame paste, vinegar, and chili oil, among other things, remain one of my favorite things to eat. Xi’an Famous Foods, No.36, Golden Shopping Mall, Flushing
5, Cold noodles Chengdu style, Chengdu Du Tian Fu
My first introduction to cold noodles—sesame and peanut with chili oil—happened at a place called Hunam in Levittown that trafficked in so called Szechuan cuisine. Cheng Du Tian Fu’s cold noodles are as different from my maiden cold noodle voyage as are Ponderosa and Peter Luger. A palate-awakening sauce consisting of crushed chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, what looks to be MSG, black vinegar, and a prodigious amount of fine garlic paste tops a tangle of thin al dente noodles. Mixing the sauce to coat the noodles takes a bit of effort. It’s worth it for the results, though. The bowl of noodles ping pongs between refreshing, fiery, palate-tingling, and pungent. Cheng Du Tian Fu, No. 31, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing
6. Ròu shao gān nǎn miàn, Szechuan Dish
For a good while these noodles—ròu shao gān nǎn miàn— sliced noodles with Szechuan chili-minced pork and peanut, made me forget about all others. Frilly, translucent noodles sat in a lake of chili oil topped with crunchy bits of ground pork and peanut. They are among the best noodles I have ever had anywhere. Sadly the good folks who made these wonderful noodles, Szechuan Taste, left the New World Mall food court quite some time ago. Consider this a noodle APB, if you spot ròu shao gān nǎn miàn please let me know.
7 Kulfi faluda, Taste of Lahore
With ice cream, basil seeds or tapioca pearls, rose syrup, and noodles kulfi faluda is the frozen dessert that eats like a bowl of noodles. Taste of Lahore makes the best version I’ve had. The pakistanui treat is scented with saffron and topped with pistachios, and riddled with teeny tapioca pearls. Best of all, there are plenty of noodles to suck up through the straw. Taste of Lahore, 73-10 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights, 718-779-6700