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Chinatown: Food Sing 88 Corp. Acquires MFN Status

  • scoopG Dec 21, 2011 06:42 AM
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Most Favored Noodle status that is!

Of the six hand-pulled noodle restaurants in Chinatown, Food Sing 88 Corp. is my favorite. It’s clean and bright, the wait-staff is friendly (at least two speak English) and they only do noodles – which are delivered uniformly soft and with a good chew. (I have re-visited the other noodle spots and am working on rating them as well). Since Food Sing 88 specializes in noodles you will never have to wait more than a few minutes for your bowl to arrive.

What sets Food Sing 88 above the others is their superior stock: packed with the full flavor of beef and chicken bones, onions, star anise and a little bit of Chinese angelica (當歸 Dāngguī or Angelica sinensis.) It’s Chinese pharmaceutical name is Radix Angelicae Sinensis.

This medicinal herb belongs to the Umbelliferae family, like carrots, dill and parsley. The first time the Chinese wrote about it was in “The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica” published 1500 years ago. In China, the best Angelica is grown in Gansu Province but it is also found in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Hubei Provinces. It is harvested in late fall; its nature said to be sweet, acrid, bitter, and warm.

There only 35 menu items with six different kinds of noodles. A basic bowl of Noodle Soup (Beef, Tripe or Fish Ball and Tripe) starts at $5.50. The most expensive dish, House Special Hand-Pulled Noodles is seven dollars. Their Seafood Hand-Pulled Noodles comes fully loaded with clams, fish balls, shrimp and squid. Add a fried egg to any bowl for only fifty-cents.

Make sure to ask for pickled vegetables (酸菜 - Suān cài.) The waitress will bring a large bowl from which you can scoop a spoonful (or more) to top your dish.

Both the Peanut Sauce Noodles and Fuzhou Wonton Soup (each only $2.50) are simple yet satisfying. The Fuzhou version of Zha Jiang Mian (炸醬麵 - Zhá Jiàng Miàn) is assuredly not the usual northern Beijing style ground pork cooked with fermented soybean paste over thick noodles.

At Food Sing 88, it is called Eight Precious Noodles and this Fuzhou version is closer to a tomato-less spaghetti. A large pile of steaming noodles rests on a bed of iceberg lettuce topped by the ground pork and topped with fresh scallions. Served with a small cup of broth. Perhaps this was Marco Polo’s last meal before boarding a ship in Quanzhou (泉州) in 1295 bound for Venice!

Slideshow:
https://picasaweb.google.com/10044644...

Food Sing 88 Corp. (福昇風味小吃 - Fú Shēng Fēngwēi Xiǎochī).
2 East Broadway
New York, NY 10038
Tel: 212-219-8223

Open Sunday to Wed. from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Open Thursday to Sat. from 10:00 am to 9:30 pm.

-----
Food Sing 88
2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

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  1. Interesting. I wasn't a big fan of this place the one time I went. We got a bunch of different versions of the hand pulled noodle soups (seafood, beef and I think the special). Like you said the noodles were "uniformly soft," but with no chew. The stock was really weak too, which really stood out. (Looking at your pictures, the stock seems darker than ours was.) Toppings were pretty high quality though, especially the seafood.

    Who knows. Maybe Inconsistency? The other dishes look good though, especially the eight precious noodles. I guess I'll have to go back.

    10 Replies
    1. re: ChiefHDB

      I did grab a revelatory Barbecue Pork bun for $.90 at the place with the open air service on mott or mulberry south of canal

      1. re: ChiefHDB

        I went to Food Sing a couple of weeks ago and had the same experience with the noodles - not much chew. I was also served almost immediately after placing my order (within a minute or two) and didn't see anyone working with dough in back, which leads me to suspect that the noodles were pre-made and had been sitting around for a while.

        However, I thought the broth was very flavorful.

        Lanzhou Handmade Noodles on East Broadway has been my benchmark for hand-pulled noodles in Chinatown - I gave their noodles an edge over Super Taste - but I haven't been there in a while. I'm going to have to go back there and see if that's still the case.

        -----
        Super Taste
        26 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

        Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
        144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

        Food Sing 88
        2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

        1. re: ChiefHDB

          How recently were you there, ChiefHDB? They are the only place where you might actually get a bit of onion in the broth.

          kd - they only do noodles and go through a lot of flour - you can see the stacks of Progessive Baker Flour bags about the place. They do have a back area off to the side. I like Lanzhou too - smaller portion size though!

          1. re: scoopG

            Would probably have been late Spring. We ate there as part of a big hand-pulled noodle taste taste, and Food Sing unanimously came off as the weakest place

            I think it may just be personal preference, but I wasn't really blown away by any of the places we tried. I much prefer going to Henan Flavor or Xi'an for the wider, more rustic noodles.

            1. re: ChiefHDB

              Which reminds me to get back to Henan Flavor. I still crave from time to time the old classic Beef Noodle Soup dish....ate today at Sheng Wang and the broth was surprisingly salty and not like the last time there.

              1. re: scoopG

                This inconsistency is crazy. In the places I tried, I liked Sheng Wang the best, but every one still seemed to have a fatal flaw (thin or soapy stock, bad noodles, crappy toppings).

                I've really been craving Henan Flavor lately too.

                -----
                Sheng Wang
                27 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                1. re: ChiefHDB

                  Went back to Henan Flavor the other night-- good as ever. Big tray of chicken with the added noodles, plus lamb tripe soup with more of the noodles and a pork pancake. The broths aren't fabulous, but are better than a lot of places in Chinatown (nothing comes close to Henan Lamb Noodle Soup in Golden Shopping Mall, but at least this evokes it).

                  -----
                  He Nan Flavor
                  68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

                  1. re: ChiefHDB

                    I have to say that He nan is fabulous.

                    Some places are better for other things, if you know what I mean, but I am never unhppy with the food at Henan.

                    Amazing goat soup, that is so so good. and the noodles dishes all I have had and are so good.

                    You really cannot go wrong ordering anything there.

            2. re: scoopG

              Scoop - Just to clarify, by pre-made, I didn't mean that they pulled the noodles out of a package instead of making it themselves, I meant that the noodles tasted like they were made well ahead of time and stored before being put in the broth. Some of the Xian Foods branches do that, too, especially with the cold liang pi noodles.

            3. re: ChiefHDB

              i'd agree with ChiefHDB, i've been there once a while back. It was alright, but i didn't think it was great. I think e 144 east broadway is the best, followed by super taste (spicy broth only)

              I mean honestly though after a while I've come to the conclusion that none of the places are great (they are very cheap and will get you your beef noodle soup fix, but on an absolute basis just ok).

              If you break it down:
              - Noodles: I'd say alot of them get their noodles right since they hand pull them freshly, so that they do well (that is the easiest part to get right though)
              - Meat: the beef is generally not very good (low quality and not that tender). If you've had a good beef noodle soup in taiwan the beef is very flavorful and fall of the bone tender. However, the beef I can sort of get around since I know they are selling a very cheap bowl of noodle soup in manhattan, so not having good quality beef is sort of a given although you can make a tasty beef using cheap items like tendons if you cook them correctly.
              - Broth: However, the broth at these places really leaves something to be desired in general. generally, 144 e bway has the best one and i think it is just so so on an absolute basis, I generally douse it with quite a lot of chili oil and suan cai (pickled vegetable) to kick it up to a decent flavor. Again if you've ever had a good beef noodle soup in taiwan (or elsewhere in china), you'd recognize how off the broth is here

            4. I finally went to this noodle shop, 88 Sing, and did not know what to expect.

              It was busy, and before I ordered, and as I was bing seated, was able to witness other customers eating what looked like unimpressive bowls of noodles and soup.

              I decided to order the dry goat or lamb. It came to me with a bit of egg and some small leafs of 小白菜, and it did not cool off for me to eat until after 10 minutes. I loaded the dish up with very large spoonfuls of 红油 chili and began eating. The noodles were not the hand pulled kind, and I have had better expeineces eating 拌面 for 2 dollars at C & L Dumpling House

              77 Chrystie St. Actually the fried noodles there at C and L are better then 88 Sing for just under the price I payed at 88 Sing.

              I don't think there is anything gavitational about his place.

              For noodles not from Lao Di Fang or Sheng Wang or Lan Zhou 144 East Broadway, I prefer 闽江 'min jiang' and the one across for 闽江 on East Broadway, though usually in soup.

              Staff at 88 Siing very professional though, and the service was good.

              (between Canal St & Hester St)

              New York, NY 10002

              Neighborhoods: Chinatown, Lower East Side

              .

              -----
              Sheng Wang
              27 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

              Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
              144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

              Food Sing 88
              2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

              C&L Dumpling House
              77 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

              Lao Di Fang
              28 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

              1. I *really* wanted to love Food Sing as it's the closest noodle shop to my apt.

                The noodles in the house special had an admirable toothiness that complimented the tender tripe, but the heralded broth didn't deliver. It wasn't watery per se, but lacking in depth.

                I went to Henan Flavor the next day and was amazed once again at the sure-handed complexity of the cooking there. The big tray of chicken still astonishes -- especially in this weather.

                But back to the matter at hand or 'Han' if we're talking Food Sing. For my six dollars, Lanzhou still wins the noodle wars. Luckily, it's just down the block.

                5 Replies
                1. re: AgentUmami

                  I would agree that 144 East Broadway is top of the list,

                  Though stating this there are a few other places that I find tied just cresting the top.

                  I tend to go to the other places, such as Henan Flavor, Lao Di Fang and Sheng Wang because these places are really good for the selection and options, and specialty (Henan Flavor). They are not so flexible at 144 Broadway and have not fried noodles option. The only thing they will do dry (witout soup) is the 炸酱面。 At bo ky though not in this catagory of noolde dining, I can get any noodles dish with the soup on th side. At Lao Di Fang 老地方 and Sheng Wang 东方兰州拉面 I can get most all dishes they have on the menu that are of noodle, I can get them fried.

                  I am always honored when asked to be a translator at Lan Zhou 144 East Broadway, when the English speakers are not on hand in the dining area, and they are just great people. I have taken friends there, and the cooks and pullers thought nothing when my friend was filming by the smart phone the full duration of a pulling the noodle session. Anothing guest customer emulated what my friend was doing using her own smart phone. And the bowls of noodle after are great.

                  1. re: jonkyo

                    what are your favorite dishes to order at Lan Zhou?

                    1. re: AubWah

                      炸酱面 soy noodle is quite good, and I usually load up on the hot sauce they have with especially with this one. I like my noodles dry, so this is what I typically order there.

                      Any of the cow or pig derived items selections are good but I tend towards their pig things. I think I had the pig stomach 猪肚, and know I have the beef brisket (niunan: 牛腩)

                      I have had a feeding that include 水饺 the boiled dumplings as well as one of the 汤面 noodle soup selections. That was good.

                      I have not been there in a while and forget what I actually odered the last few time , but generaly speaking I always feel so pleased wth the food.

                      I really would not recommend the 炸酱面 soy noodles because the other offerings are great and one should sample them all. The soy noodle is like your cheese pizza, it is a basic, not in taste but it is just common dish. Good but try the others.

                      I am curious what might your favored ordered item there is.

                      -----
                      Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
                      144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                      1. re: jonkyo

                        Wonderful detail, as always, from Jonkyo. Thanks to you I have a list of must-try dishes for the next few months.

                        Looking forward to the common, yet delicious dry soy noodle.

                        1. re: AgentUmami

                          Common and delicious, yes. I tend to load up on red oil chili spice and this dish seems to be the best for that, though I am used to dry or fried noodles as preferred.

                          The dish is not really dry, it is moist. The Chinese just use 干面 dry noodles as the noodles served that are not stir fried or with soup.

                          Hope you enjoy.

                2. I will try 88 Sing again. I am curious how this restaurant got such a review, so will look into other noodles types there other than the one that I was servied. With six different kinds of noodles they may have some promise. It must be stated that Bo Ky also has near 6 kinds of noodles, I think. The simple shops such as Lao Di Fang and 144 East Broadway get away with basically offering one kind of noodle splendidly.

                  There I had these white noodles, as most white noodles are actually off white these were not. They are similar to the noodles, one of two kinds, offered at 闽江, down East Broadway and south side, opposite a competitive shop on the other side.

                  This type of noodle does not fry well.

                  Try the noodles at Best Fuzhou.

                  One offered are fresh factory noodles that are delivered daily, they are yellow and thin but a tiny bit wide. They are called ’qie mian‘ 切面 at Best Fuzhou, but just ask for yellow. They will do them any way you want, with the meat or theme options seen on menu.

                  At other shops these noodles are on offer, many places, and they are the ones used for 拌面 'ban mian'.

                  They have cu mian 粗面, and these are good in their soup offers. I hve had the rabbit, 兔肉 which is in English as rabbie on the menu. That was in a soup, and I was accomodated with a request to 加辣, make more hot.

                  Huge plate of fried yellow factory fresh noodles with meat and some green, only $4.00. Rabbit and a few others: $5.50.

                  -----
                  New Bo Ky
                  80 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                  Best Fuzhou
                  71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                  1. Food Sing 88 is now called Noodle Q Inc. Same menu, different folks.

                     
                    2 Replies
                    1. re: scoopG

                      They are at least trying.

                      With such a location, they can do anything they want, and still turn a profit.

                      I prefer the ones with old cheap signs. They don't hire in the fashion as these major intersection places do, so the proprietors, or those who are close to them, do the cooking and serving, making it a peasant/agrarian culture as opposed to the modern.

                      Food is better and atmosphere is very down to earth.

                      1. re: scoopG

                        This dj has the same ideas that I have had.

                        Italian D.J. Fights to Keep Culinary Traditions

                        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/din...

                        I recently went to Sheng Wang (Dong Fang Lanzhou La Mian (东方兰州拉面).

                        And if the noodle wars ever erupt, I may be behind their line.