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北方美食 - New northern Chinese in Chinatown

北方美食("Northern fine foods", their English name is something generic like "China Local Cuisine") is under the Manhattan Bridge where Xi'an Famous Foods used to be. They specialize in food from central/northern China like liang pi, saozi mian, rou jia mo. There's a decent amount of overlap with the type of food at Xi'an Famous Foods, but also some dishes you can't find there - various grilled skewer items and hotpot among others. I'm also pretty sure this is the only restaurant in Manhattan selling "re gan mian", a specialty of Wuhan.

I got the liang pi (cold noodles in a spicy peanuty sauce w/ toppings), saozi mian (sour pork noodles), and rou jia mo ("hamburger" with meat between grilled bread) to go. I really liked the liang pi; I enjoyed their version more than the one at Xi'an Famous Foods. The saozi mian had nice chunks of fatty pork in it, but lacked the tang I remember it having in China. The rou jia mo was delicious with minced fatty pork and bits of green pepper. Maybe it's just the novelty factor, but overall I thought their food was better than Xi'an Famous Foods.

There is some very cramped counter seating if you aren't getting your food to go. I think they must have opened recently as the owners seemed somewhat disorganized trying to cook and take orders at the same time, but hopefully they get into the swing of things. Great addition to the neighborhood and definitely going into my take-out rotation.

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    1. Yes, besides the overlap with Xian they seem to do skewered stuff reminiscent of the stuff from the cart just up Forsyth (is it still around?). Grabbed a cauliflower skewer the other day with a light dusting of cumin and chile, not a bad $1.25 bite.

      1. Chinese Burger? Oh, 肉夹馍 has earned at least a slightly better title than that.

        Am a fan of much of that grub though. Do you know if they have anise and pork dumplings?

        1. Terrific news! Thanks for the writeup.

          1. Very exciting can't wait to check it out thanks for sharing

            1. I went back yesterday to try the re gan mian. I've never tried this dish before. Their version was a bit bland; thick egg noodles in a very light peanuty sauce, peanuts, and some scallion and pickled veg. Next time I'll have to ask them to add some chili oil.

              I'd like to try their yangrou paomo ("pita lamb soup") at some point; preferably when it's a bit colder. The "rolled egg pies" look interesting too.

              9 Replies
              1. re: pravit

                re gan mian is which one in english?

                1. re: AubWah

                  AubWah, re gan mian is dead center in the first photo: "hot dry noodle." Pravit, I've also seen this item on the menu of at least one of the cluster of (Queens-based) Chinese carts near the Columbia gates, but never at a Manhattan restaurant.

                  Dave Cook

                  1. re: DaveCook

                    I've been looking for re gan main in Flushing. I'll try it here, but disappointing to read it described as bland. I would love a taste of traditional Wuhan style noodle

                    1. re: AubWah

                      Went today, asked for spicy, got same. Not an eye-opening dish, but good if you're nearby.

                      English name on the takeout menu, at odds with the signage outside, is Taste of Northern China. They're from Henan, according to the youngish, English-speaking fellow working the skewers.

                      Dave Cook

                    2. re: DaveCook

                      Seems there is indeed a Columbia connection. The phone number on the takeout menu (646-229-8107) is also that of Aunt Wang's, one of the Broadway carts.

                      http://www.yelp.com/biz/aunt-wang-man... ... http://culinarianmagazine.com/2013/11...

                      1. re: squid kun

                        I had just confirmed today that Auntie Wang's (as I've been calling them) is the cart with the hot dry noodles (and those stretched-to-order "belt" noodles, too); you've saved me the trouble of comparing one re gan mian with another. Nicely noted, squid kun!

                        Dave Cook

                      2. re: DaveCook

                        冷冷的 (lengleng de) this is cold.

                        冷面 lengmian: cold noodle.

                        You can say:

                        我要你們做的冷冷面。。。 有嗎。。別說沒有。。。我爸爸來打你。。。(woyao nimen zuode lenglengmian....youma.....nibiesuo meiyou....wo baba lai da ni)

                        If you google translate without the 麵 , you get the literal meaning of this character: 面, mian, "surface". use this 我要你們做的冷冷麵. forget google translate.

                        That was just a funny jest.

                        湿湿的面 shishide mian: wet noodle

                      3. re: AubWah

                        re gan mian: 热干面/熱乾面 'hot dry (no soup) noodles'

                        熱 re: hot

                        乾 gan: dry as in 乾的 (gan de) or 乾乾的毛巾 (gangande maojin: dry towel0.

                        麵 / 面 mian: noodle.

                        In southern china 乾面 'gan mian' is basically noodle with some stewed sauce. The stewed sauce depends on where you are. In Fujian it is often peanut based. In Taiwan meat with sesame base: 麻醬面 (majiangmian)

                        乾面 ganmian is all over china though.

                        Go to Little Italy if you desire 義大利麵 'yidalimian' (spaghetti), but do not use Chinese to order.

                      4. re: pravit

                        "Their version was a bit bland; thick egg noodles in a very light peanuty sauce, peanuts, and some scallion and pickled veg."

                        They might have someone reading this board because I ordered it the other day and "bland" definitely didn't apply. "Salty," unfortunately, best described it although I'd probably order it again (I'm a sucker for egg noodles). They jacked the price up a buck, too (maybe to cover the cost of that added salt). I'll try the liang pi next time.

                      5. i actually ate here a week ago too, i tried to yang rou pao mo (its the spicy lamb soup with glass noodles and the bits of bread in it). it was decent but not great. I thought it was kind of greasy and the broth was a bit one dimensional

                        they're def northerners based on their accent, but im not sure from where exactly and the boss lady didn't seem to be in a very good mood when i was there. she was barking at me that she wanted to close soon and i needed to hurry up and order now

                        1. Does anyone have the address? How do you get there?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: buttertart

                            its where the old xi'an famous foods was on forsyth

                              1. re: Lau

                                I wondered who'd move into such a tiny space after the landlord wanted to jack up Xi'an's rent. I'll have to check them out. Are their liang pi noodles vegetarian?

                            1. I agree about the rou jia mo. Definitely better than Xian's. Impressive

                              1. I thought they were from Hubei 湖北, as we were discussing things in Chinese, and by the time I came to the forum here I was more affected by her curling the tong for the 'shi', and assumed it was Hebei 河北. Now I have friends from Beijing, and they really have the heavy 北方發言 'northern accent'.

                                Now with Wu han 武漢, mentioned, I probably heard the woman stated "湖北". Wu Han is its capital. Not exactly Beifang (Northern China), but they do have an excellent collection for the spot, on the menu.

                                Many people getting skewers of sorts. I had noodles that were slightly soupy. I loaded up on the red oil chilli and its oil, and they gave me playful hard time about it, jokingly.

                                Tight squeeze, so I do not recommend dining in if you are with your entire extended family.

                                I too find it better than Xi An Famous.

                                1. Ah, man! l wish l'd known about this thread last week: l was right there, and checked out the outside, but went to 88 Palace for [meh] dim sum instead. Maybe l'll check it out this Friday...thanks for posting!

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      Now it will really be crowded! I had to wait before...

                                      1. re: swannee

                                        i just walked by it and it was crowded with a very non-chinatown clientele haha...good for their business

                                      2. re: scoopG

                                        "It’s easier to stumble on Taste of Northern China than to find it," the NYT's critic writes, more than 3 months after pravit posted on this place (and 2 months after Chow editorial picked up on it: http://www.chow.com/food-news/152975/...).

                                        She might have added that it's even easier to learn of it first on Chowhound.

                                        1. re: squid kun

                                          Yeah, I think Chowhound is source material for a lot of other blogs - I've definitely noticed Serious Eats, Eater, etc. running stories about places that CH finds first.

                                          Guess this place has now been "discovered" just like Henan Flavor/Spicy Village and Prosperity Dumpling!

                                      3. I tried the liang pi noodles several weeks ago and also found them too salty. Since I ordered both them and the re gan mian "spicy," I'm wondering if whatever they're adding for extra heat has a high salt content. I'm willing to give them another shot without the "spicy" qualifier. The folks behind the counter struck me as being very nice.

                                        1. Prices are unreal (low).

                                          1. Just went there today, Had the 肉夹馍 (pork burger), 麻辣烫(Hot Pot) and different skewers (beef, pork, lamb). The pork burger was probably the best I've had in the states, take that as you will. It was nicely spiced and had just the right amount of pork fat in there. The buns were also really good.

                                            The lamb skewer was super tasty, lots of yummy fat. Beef skewer was not bad, but the pork skewer was kinda meh.

                                            The Hot Pot tasted ok, not really what I was expecting from a 麻辣烫 flavor-wise. It's different.

                                            Def will go back to try the noodles next time. The lady told me she used to own the first Chinese food cart in front of Columbia called Auntie Wang's, and she is THE Auntie Wang. She then sold it because the college students go on breaks too often and the snow during the winter is crazy, so now she's here.

                                            Honestly, I'm so glad this replaced Xi'an famous foods.