I haven’t been this excited about cold skin noodles—aka liáng pi—since I first tried them at Xi’an Famous Foods, back when family patriarch David Shi went by the moniker Liáng Pí and his sales pitch was a hawker’s chant, “My name is Liáng Pí, try my famous cold skin noodles, you want to try a Chinese hamburger.” These days the mini-chain deserves the appellation “famous” and has even spawned imposters, notably Elmhurst’s Chinger, a pormanteau of Chinese Burger, that sounds like a racial epithet.
Thankfully Lǎo Luòyáng is no imposter but rather a practitioner of the liang pi art that brings some color and history to the game. On a first visit I tried the purple sweet potato cold noodle ($6.50), zǐshǔ liáng pí. The sweet potato lent a slight tinge to the slippery wheat noodles and squidgy blocks of gluten, but added little flavor. No matter though as the sauce was astonishing, hitting many points of the flavor matrix, chili, garlic, vinegar, but above all a beguiling blend of tahini and aromatics like cloves. It was so good I slurped some up with a straw.
On a subsequent visit I tried the green cold skin noodles and a pork burger. Once again, the color seemed just a novelty, but oh that sauce. The pork burger was decent, but better as a sponge for the noodle sauce. Incidentally the menu proudly proclaims: “Shǒugōng zhìzuò, juéwú sèsù tiānjiā!—all skillfully made by hand, absolutely no colors added!” I’ve yet to try the carrot version, but the untinted cold skin was just as lovely as the others.
If one is to believe the menu, the folks who run the joint are from Old Luoyang, a part of Henan revered for its veggie infused cold skin noodles. One thing is certain they are very generous with their sauce, I’ve never once not had it overflow from the plate onto the tray. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Old Luoyang, New World Mall, Flushing, New York, 136-20 Roosvelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354