“Wow, where’d you get that?” I said to my new friend Mike as he presented a jazzy looking bowl of wavy hand-pulled noodles bobbing with Chinese chitterlings and pickled mustard greens in a crimson broth. “Over there,” he said waving a hand toward Guchun Private Kitchen.
I love Guchun for its chao bing. The Northern Chinese specialty substitutes strips of flatbread for noodles to such great effect that I’d never even given the la mian so much as a second look, so I was glad that Mike, a first-time visitor to New York Food Court, had sussed it out.
Ma la suan cai fei chang tang mian, or hot and spicy pork intestine was worth a second look and a second taste. “Big spicy or little spicy,” the gal at the counter asked when I returned for a second dose of this zesty dish. “Da la,” I replied indicating my preference for heat. “What type of noodle?” she said pointing to a chart with three thicknesses. I chose the one in the middle.
The chewy ribbons of noodles called to mind my great Aunt “Zizi” Ann’s ragged homemade pasta, while the fatty rings of pork intestine brought back memories of chitterlings at Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill, N.C. My reminiscing aside, sharp suan cai—pickled mustard greens—and the bewitching ma la duo of fiery chilies and mouth numbing Sichuan peppercorn, place this bowl of tang mian or soup noodles squarely in the regional Chinese culinary tradition of Flushing Chinatown.
Wondering how Mike found those noodles? He followed his nose! He might have been a Flushing first-timer, but has spent his fair share of time eating in Southeast Asia. “I know my way around a hawker center,” he said with a smile. “I just stopped in front of the one that smelled like Singapore.” Thanks for turning me on to Guchun’s Chinese chitterling la mian Mike!
Guchun Private Kitchen, No. 19, New York Food Court, 133-35 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing