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Sep 11, 1999 06:20 PM

Bo Ky

  • p

Does anyone ever eat at Bo Ky, the Vietnamese soup place
on Bayard St. in Chinatown? I ate lunch there today for
the first time in a year and was bowled over, as usual,
by the deliciousness.

The atmosphere is negligible, but appropriate: lots of
big round tables with strangers packed together, like in
dim sum restaurants, and a few rectangular tables. Huge
vats of soup steam in the window and rows of roast ducks
and chickens hang from the ceiling.

The menu pretty much contains only noodle soups, and I
always order the same thing: #12, the chicken curry
soup. You can choose what noodles you want; I always get
the rich yellow egg noodles.

The broth is thicky and turmericky; the large bowl
contains several pieces of moist, slow-cooked chicken,
some potatoes, and eggplant at just the right softness
and oiliness. A fresh lemon wedge sits on top for
squirting into the soup. It's pretty powerful on the
sinuses as it stands, but the adventurous can add
excellent pickled chilis and hot sauces from the
selection in the middle of the table -- I no longer
bother, because there's no use tampering with

On either side of you old men slurp their noodles
loudly, you drink tea out of a styrofoam cup, and the
whole thing comes to four bucks. The other soups, mostly
seafood non-curries, look tasty as well, but I just
can't resist #12. If anyone has tried any of the others,
please let me know!


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  1. Patrick asked: "Does anyone ever eat at Bo Ky?"

    Of course! It's a very inexpensive, good noodle soup
    restaurant, and for that reason, a favorite with many.
    Some of their soups are excellent, some merely solidly
    good and very good values (YMMV). For my money, New
    York Noodle Town is more consistently wonderful, but
    just try to get in there at peak hours without waiting
    for 20-30 minutes! I've also had good experiences at
    the Marco Polo Noodle House on Baxter St.

    Do you have any other favorite noodle soup restaurants
    in Chinatown?

    One more recommendation: Since you like curry noodle
    soups, try some at the New Taste Good
    Malaysian restaurant, No. 1 Doyers St. I warn you that
    they make rich, spicy coconut curry soups, but I do
    like them. I had their curry shrimp noodle soup for
    dinner last night, in my latest trip there.