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Yunnan Noodles

Hey

First time poster, but the Yunnanese noodle joint in my neighborhood is too good to not tell others about. It's on 8th avenue in Brooklyn on 49th street (NW corner, by the bus stop), purple awning, small shop. The husband & wife owners are from Kunming and make, and I say this as someone who has eaten noodles in every godforsaken corner of this enormous city, the best f***ing rice noodles ever. They're pulled by hand and have the perfect balance of tenderness with give, being thinner than udon but thicker than normal mixian. They're extraordinary.

You can get them in soup, which is exquisite. They do several different meat stews as base. They also do something that approximates cracklins, with sliced intestine as well. Which is possibly my favorite. A more nuanced noodle soup is hard to find.

You can also get them cold. Which is sort of like saying "you can also go to Las Vegas for the gambling." The cold noodles make your standard dan dan mian or sichuan generic-cold-sesame mian seem flaccid and bored. The mix of spices is distinctly Yunnanese, and causes me to search for new words for flavor. Note that the cold noodles aren't on the menu: ask for cold rice noodles (or liang mi xian).

You must go. Go now. Call your friends.

They also have hot and sour dumplings. Which I've also never seen in New York. Planning on trying them tomorrow...

On a side note: Mandarin a plus, since they don't speak tons of English. But they're willing to be patient if you are. And stay away from the non-rice noodles (bottom left corner of the big bilingual menu). Those aren't house made and they keep telling me to ignore them.

-n

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  1. Thanks for posting. This is also a first for NYC, although I think one of the hotels in Flushing used to have one or two Yunnanese dishes. Do they have "over the bridge" noodles? This is a famous Kunming dish which is very elaborate. I hope this restaurant does well... but there are not many Yunnanese immigrants around. I suspect that most Chinese regard Kunming as a backwater, though it's a charming city and Yunnan ham and tea is famous all over China.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      I actually asked them about over the bridge noodles and the guy apologized and said they don't have them yet. I imagine it's because of the prep / raw ingredients you need to have on hand to do it right. Who knows? If more people ask them...

      1. re: Brian S

        FYI, the Sheraton LaGuardia used to have "over the bridge" noodles, but they're just recently changed their restaurant from the Yuan Garden, to Deluge, serving "new American," interpreted as a little of everything, trying to be trendy. The new place isn't bad, but I miss the yunan noodles. They also used to have an annual dumpling event that is now history.

        1. re: SuzyP

          Yes, they were the hotel I mentioned in my previous post. As for the din tai fung dumplings, it might happen again though they skipped it last year.

          1. re: Brian S

            They didn't skip it last year--I was there. But I spoke to the marketing manager of the new joint, and she said they weren't going to do it anymore. They seem to want to become a destination, fancy shmancy restaurant. They claim their clientele isn't as Asian as it used to be, although you could fool me. Everyone wandering around the hotel looked Asian to me.

      2. Thanks for this great lead! Went today (it's called Yunnan Snack Shop or something like that), and it was good. The hot and sour dumplings were lovely -- not so much for the dumpling, which does have a very good wrapper (thin), but for the tasty red broth with flavorful chives in which they float. Following the owner's suggestion, we got rice noodles with beef stew and rice noodles with some kind of chicken. They were fairly similar -- red broths, with some scallions, chives and preserved vegetables -- but the chicken was spicier and richer. I had better in Yunnan, but these were quite nice and warming, and if I lived nearby, it could easily be a very happy regular lunch. Co-eater wasn't as enthusiastic as I was about the noodles--says he enjoyed them, but wouldn't make a big schlep for them--but I liked them quite a bit.

        The owners were extremely warm and friendly, and eager to please, very proud to be from Yunnan. They said they are seeing a lot more non-Chinese traffic. Note that there are just about 5 stools and two ledges -- it's not a full service place.

        Please keep posting! It's great to see fresh ideas here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mary shaposhnik

          Everytime Im in this chinatown I see new places springing up - both on Eighth Ave and the side streets. Not all the places are following a formula - though mostly very simple, like this one, they seem to be offering different stuff. Would be great to see more exploration.

          1. re: mary shaposhnik

            Yeah, I finally tried the hot and sour dumplings too, and the broth really was wickedly good. Tart and spicy and light. Mmm.

            If you haven't had the cold noodles yet you totally have to! I've taken a couple of my friends there now and the cold noodles are what they keep talking about going back to get.

            -n

          2. Finally got here tonight. didn't have the cold noodles as it was too cold out, but ordered the #10 and #11 soups and the dumplings in hot and sour sauce.

            All were great, tho #11 edged out #10 for us. (my son loves ground meat in his chinese noodle soups!)

            the dumplings were fantastic--thin-skinned, gingery, in a very good spicy/sour broth.

            we got takeout and the noodles were not too overcooked by the time we got home, but i suspect they are even better eaten in.

            the couple who run the place were very nice (they liked the kids) but didn't speak much english and i ended having an english speaking customer help me. It was fun watching the wife meticulously put the soups together.

            We'll be back. Anyone know the difference between the three sections of the menu: the soups, the rice threads, and one other?

            will try the chicken soup next time, too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: missmasala

              Is the menu all noodles and dumplings? I'm curious as to whether they have the Yunnan signature "steam pot" chicken dish.

              1. re: Xiao Yang

                i don't think so, but to be honest i don't remember. it's a very small and simple place, with only stools.

                1. re: missmasala

                  Hi!

                  I haven't lurked around here much in ages. But, I'm so happy to take a gander and see you folks chatting about Yunan Flavour Snack! I'm certainly no expert and have never been to Asia, but boy do I love this place. I've been going at least a half a year. My daughter and I and sometimes my wife go AT LEAST once a week. Every Wed, I pick the kid up from school in Bay Ridge and go to YFS and only YFS. I can't ever get her back to the Lhanzou noodle joint on 60th St! I've only recently pried her off repeatedly ordering #13, the aforementioned Noodles with Crispy Meat Sauce (slice of roast pork, pork intestine and their amazing little cracklings). And yes, the noodles are divine and singular: dense but light, chewy and springy, slurpy and slippery. There's others: Beef Sauce, Pork Sauce (I think they consider it their finest, and it is awesome), Spicy meat sauce (ground beef), the great above-posted Chicken, and the spectacular Cold Noodle (which also has the ground beef, and some flavors not found in the soups including plenty of sugar!). There's no "steam pot" listed. The dumplings in hot and sour sauce are amazing and my wife's current flavorite: thin and delicate floppy wheat wrappers around little red chewy and gingery pork morsels all in a tangy and vinegary broth with loads of crunchy and squeaky green onions among other stuff. Astounding. Even the simple Won Ton soup is a joy, with what I think are similar but different dumplings - the wrapper falls apart and creates an almost egg-drop like effect. Everything, by the way, is only $3.75, except the Won-Ton which is $1.50.

                  The stuff definitely travels, though they don't pack the take out noodles separate from the soup like at the Lhanzou joints. But these rice noodles don't absorb liquid nearly as quickly as wheat noodles. But, I absolutely recommend you take up a tiny stool and start slurping. For after's, if you can fit it, there's a brand new bubble tea on the northeast corner of 49th, and a great bakery a few blocks up too - real good custard tarts: light, eggy with a flaky crust.

                  I love sitting and watching the wife put our bowls together and chatting, as much as is possible, with the husband. They're both lovely, very proud of their food and their two teenage kids who go to school locally. The kids, and other younger customers, have helped translate a few times. But at this point the husband and I have no trouble communicating. It boils down to how many spoons of hot sauce I want.

                  The Rice Noodle section of the menu, the won-ton and the hot and sour dumpling are pretty much all you want. It's what they specialize in and what they do by hand. I've never seen anybody order or eat off the Noodle or Rice Stick menus. My only sadness is that I've yet to try the Coconut Skin or Triple Delight (have no idea what it is) soups and the husband can only express in English that they don't have them. I have a feeling there's no plans to bring them back.

                  I brought a bunch of takeouts to some friends in Hoboken last night for after a gig we were doing together. They're true Hounds. By the time we got back to Brooklyn I had an email from around 2:30AM asking, "What are we eating and where did you get it?" The subject line was "Wow".