“I never get anything else there,” she said, “because my inner six-year-old makes a bee line for the rice rolls.” We were talking about Noodle Village So Good, a stall just at the bottom of the escalator in New World Mall, which traffics in congees, soups, and noodles, with a side line in xiao long bao. I told her that as a six-year old I’d eaten my fair share of shrimp and pork chang fan at Mei Lai Wah Coffee House in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I’d always thought of them as more of snacky type meal than a treat, but I could tell from the way she spoke about them Noodle Village’s rice rolls fell clearly in the treat category.
So a week or so later I found myself in New World Mall wondering what to eat and decided to give them a try. I wasn’t sure how to say it in Chinese or what it meant, but the sign for the rice rolls ($3.50) contains more than two characters. After eating them I like to think it meant, “amazingly tasty snacky rice rolls that you wish you’d eaten when you were six and can’t stop thinking about.” I have since learned that they are called hun jiang chang fen, which means mixed sauce rice roll.
Rather than the longish cylinder that is chang fen, these were quite literally rice rolls. A dozen or so sheets of pleasantly chewy dough rolled into tight cylinders and stacked like cordwood sat in a lake of peanut sauce lashed with hoisin. With the addition of a bit of hot sauce, it makes for an amazingly tasty treat. I have a feeling I’ll be eating many more of them in the very near future. After all I have several decades of never eating them to make up for.
Noodle Village So Good, Stall No. 2, New World Mall food Court , 136-20 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing