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Peanut Noodle At Ah Ping Snack Bar in Chinatown

I can recall having noodles in a peanut type sauce at Beijing style, Korean and even Thai restaurants, but I had never seen Hong Kong style egg noodles prepared in peanut sauce until encountering this dish at Ah Ping Snack Bar, 2 East Broadway #6 (entrance actually on Catherine St.). This dish was made with the wider type of fresh egg noodles and was extremely good. Since one poster noted sort of a fusion of Fuzhou style food with more northern cuisines in certain dishes in East Chinatown, I'm wondering if the same thing is happening here. The Ah Ping take out menu is only in Chinese, so I don't recall much of the English language menu, except that it appeared to largely comprised of wonton and noodle dishes.

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  1. If you're talking about the slightly narrower than 1/4 inch egg noodles with peanut butter sauce stirred in, it is a very typical Fuzhou staple, along with the fish ball soups and their style of boiled dumplings (which is also not exclusively Northern Chinese).

    14 Replies
    1. re: HLing

      Thanks for the info. Not particularly familiar with the Fuzhou dishes except for the fish balls with the ground pork cores.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        You're welcome! I do love those fish balls with ground pork in the center, especially good when it comes in soup that's slightly vinegary and simple.
        The small "wonton" with a little bit of meat filling inside is another specialty of Fujian province. The skin is made of pounded pork and has a different feel. It'll probably
        never get soggy even if you let them set in the soup too long.

        1. re: HLing

          hling - do u know what its called in chinese?

          1. re: Lau

            Lau, I think it's called 扁食 (bian3 Shi2) or sometimes 燕丸(yan4 wan2). The second one makes you think you're getting some sort of fish balls, but it's not.
            I was searching for an old post from I don't know when about this, but couldn't find it.
            I did find a mention of my post in a Chicago post (which I didn't know about until now), but that link within the thread posted by RST isn't working any more. The Chicago thread itself was pretty rich with info and enthusiasm though! Those were the good ole days....I'll have to read through it sometimes soon, even if it was from a few years ago.

            1. re: HLing

              i picked up the menu the other day (there is an all chinese menu outside the door)

              i'm curious b/c there is a "bian rou" and a "yan wan", they are listed right next to each other, so i'm curious as to what the difference is although i guess i'm going to just have to pop in the figure it out

              1. re: Lau

                so i tried this place today:
                - gan mian (noodles in peanut sauce): i didnt really like these, the noodles themselves were fine, but the sauce is a semi thick peanut sauce that i thought was kind of overpowering
                - bian rou (on the menu it says fuzhou dumpling soup): this was excellent, its wontons that are different from the wontons you normally see, the meat is small and flattened (hence the name in chinese) and the wontons are sort of long and if you think of what sheets blowing in the wind look like thats what these look like. The skins were excellent, very fine and delicate and the filling was very good as well. The soup is pretty decent too, its a light broth (no distinct meat flavor) that is slightly salty with some scallions chopped into it. Highly recommend getting this.

                The place was pretty packed (its only got 3 tables), the couple across from me got the bian rou as well and they also got a pai gu fan (different than the taiwanese version), its chopped up spare ribs, it looked really good. I also saw a lady and a kids who had a bunch of different noodle soups and the yu pian fan (fish piece rice) that looked excellent as well. I'll have to try more things from this place, the bian rou makes me think there could be alot of gems here. also if you check out the menu there is "crisp crap" haha, i think they meant "crispy carp" as it says its some type of fish in chinese.

                1. re: Lau

                  appreciate your "service" in the name of CH-dom! will have to follow you! regarding the peanut noodle, the "gan" must have tipped you off before right? personally, I love the thick one more than the thin-sauce one. yum!

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    it wasnt necessarily the thickness of the sauce that i was opposed to (i've had a similar sichuan dish that I do like), it was the kind of strong flavor of it, i cant really explain it (i think i need to think about it more to find the right word), but it wasnt my favorite thing...it was alright, but just not my favorite thing

                    that said i believe this place is def worth trying!

                  2. re: Lau

                    Yeah as Jim and I think a couple other people mentioned in his post about this place the razor clam omelet and the rabbit in foo chow sauce are both excellent. I'll have to try the bian rou based on your rec. My girlfriend really liked the noodle soup too.

                    1. re: brettnyc

                      yeah i thought about ordering the omelet, but there is kind of alot of stuff i want to try on the menu. I think bian rou is a super common fujian dish as every place seems to have it on their menu, i'm curious to see what the difference is between the bian rou and yan wan (what hling and I were discussing earlier)

                      btw check it out...their menu is on menupages now: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                      1. re: Lau

                        Yeah there are definitely a number of things that look good. I'm planning to go again sometime in the next few days and both lamb with wine dregs and now the bian rou will be on my radar. I'm not an intestines fan but my gf loves them so I think she'll be trying them at one of our next couple meals there.

                    2. re: Lau

                      so i went again today:
                      - pai gu fan: this is served as chopped up spare ribs (pai gu) and chunks of taro, both of which have been fried and are served in a sauce that i'm pretty sure has wine, soy sauce and a bit of chili paste. It's pretty good, not amazing, but pretty good. The meat is tender and the taro has good texture. The sauce is semi sweet and sour, its interesting, but good. Overall, I wouldn't go out of my way to get this, but if you're in there its probably worth a try
                      - yan wan (i think it says like meat dumpling soup or something in english): so the yan wan is pretty similar to the bian rou except the order size is larger and the meat isnt flattened and there is more of it, so its sorta closer to a normal wonton (skin is different though more delicate)...all things being equal i prefer the bian rou, its more delicate

                    3. re: Lau

                      Lau, I think Bian3 Rou4 (扁肉), Bian3 Shi2 (扁食)and Yan4 Wan2 (燕丸) are all one and the same. Probably different regions call it by different names.
                      In any case, this is the special Fujianese mini wonton/dumpling where the wrapping is made from pounded pork. I love the texture of the skin.
                      Also, a dash or two of plain white vinegar and the sometimes barnyard-ish white pepper into the soup changes everything for the better.
                      Another thing, for me, the preference for garnish of the soup is for minced Chinese celery bit as opposed to scallion. In fact, I'm surprised to hear you mention scallion bits in the soup. Most Fujianese places use Chinese celeries.

                      1. re: HLing

                        ahh interesting

                        the reason i am confused is b/c the menu has both bian rou and yan wan as different items with different prices and everything you described is right on point with the exception of the vegetables

          2. how is the food at ah ping? ive walked by it a bunch, but never seemed like alot of people eating in it, so i havent gotten around to trying it

            1. Since there is a laminated English language menu I presume you would be welcome if you don't mind pointing to what you want. When I went there it was during a food crawl which included the elegantly named but total opposite Double Dragon On Eldridge (that's the name on the sign), so all I had was the peanut noodle. It was extremely good and the highlight of that night's expedition.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chandavkl

                didn't see the menu when I peeked in but the place was covered in chinese language; good to know there are english menus floating around. will hit it up.

                1. re: bigjeff

                  Check out the place record for the English menu (sharp-eyed readers only; it's pretty low-res) ...

                  Ah Ping Snack Bar
                  2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

              2. My gf and I went back today and had another very good meal. The broth for the "lamb in wine dregs" soup was probably both of our favorite things we've had here so far, including the very good razor clam omelette. The flavor is similar to the foo chow sauce, but a soup version and a bit richer with stock. We couldn't get enough of this broth, rich and very subtle. We also had the "crab with chinese vegetable" soup, which was good--delicate broth with a nice ginger undercurrent--but didn't stand out next to the wine dregs broth, of which we lapped up every drop. Didn't get the bian rou yet but looking forward to trying it sometime soon.

                4 Replies
                1. re: brettnyc

                  I see on the menu that both "Razor with Egg" and "Chinese Razor with egg" are offered. Which did you have? Should I pony up the extra $5 for the non-Chinese version? What's the difference?

                  1. re: small h

                    We had the non-chinese more expensive version. I haven't had both versions so I cant say definitively, but the one we had was excellent quality for the price and a generous portion, so I'd suggest trying that one first.

                    1. re: brettnyc

                      Thanks. I knew in my heart that was the way to go; I just needed confirmation.

                      1. re: small h

                        I hear you. Looking forward to hearing how you like it!