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Jun 12, 2014 01:42 PM

Real Kung Fu Little Steam Buns (Noodles) BUT NOT SO FAST...



Kung Fu Little Steam Buns, 811 8th Ave, Manhattan, just near Starbucks below the C and E Train Stop.

The English name is Kong Fu, in Chinese is 功夫 (gong fu) meaning trained talent and honed skills, cultivated talent, etc.

It applies to much, such as 功夫茶 (gongfucha), a development for the appreciation and skill at buying tea and tea pots, and making it.

Anyway, this place is in Manhattan's west side midtown, at 811 8th Ave, just near where I lived in 1989, when Hell's Kitchen was Hell.

Now, one can find hand pulled noodle, but unlike the cheaper and more skillfully made dishes of hand pulled noodles, found in and around East Broadway and Eldridge, these noodles, definately skillfully made, lack the authentic taste of the Mainland.

The dish I had, for starters, created a hum of sugary taste in my mouth that resonated some 20 minutes after I paid my bill.

The sauce on the Pork Fried Noodle (豬肉炒麵 zhurouchaomian) was similar to sauces that one finds in the ubiquitous chinese take out places, that for decades have doted the landscape of America, from New England to the Mid West, to the West Coast and to Texas and Florida and all places in between.

Horrendous, I should have known. Location can be everything. With hotel stayers, and local residence, order for delivery for food is a guaranteed market, with the gimmick signage. Most, they have no idea what they could be getting downtown, in less finery of Decor.

I paid over double for hand pulled fried noodles, then I would have, downtown (; It was 11.97 and 1.64 as a auto ad on tip, that I did not know about, so left a additional 2 dollars to the very nice, fluent in chinese staff.

The main point for a total of 13.57, instead of a wonderful medley of flavors and excellent hot sauce resonating in my mouth as I leave the door, it was sweet nothing special sauce taste.

Could there be a consolation with the steam buns, and things of this sort. That will not be my job to find out.

Hell's Kitchen was better when it was Hell.

Now its no better than the Mall in Jersey.

I have a photo so wait for I paw through my phone.

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    1. re: scoopG


      Sweet soy milk is common in breakfast places, in China. But the busy ones, always have unsweetened hot soy milk, and get them both in a bowl. Throw some oil bread 油條 in them.

      In China the breakfast places are all day places.

      The venue here seems to be doing some interesting things, though nothing to scream about.

      Good noodles, if you get them plain. Taken them home and do up ones own fry, or whatever.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. For more confirmation regarding the statements I make above, I recently visited 老地方 Lao Difang, on Forsythe, just opposite the Manhattan Bridge, and next to the Greek Ortho Church.

        Lao Di Fang 28 Forsyth St

        There was no question as to the gourmet nature of this establishment's offerings.

        No Sriracha Sauce, but others including an in house made mixture of pepper hot sauce, that I confirmed along with one of the staff I was talking to, that such a good hot sauce cannot even be purchased in the grocery store, let alone a supermarket.

        (see photo of dumpling for an image of the hot sauce that is in house made).

        I recommend the noodles fried.

        水饺 water dumplings (boiled dumplings) were good.

        Even with the absence of a selection such as shrimp dumplings, only having pork, the food is so delicious it beats leaving Real Kung Fu Little Steam Buns (Noodles) with a thoroughly dissatisfied feeling.

        And half the price with more food or dishes.

        quote from web:

        "Lao Di Fang. 28 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002 (212) 941-7678 · $ Rating: 4.0 out of 5"

        1. In defense of "Real Kung Fu", I had their hand pulled noodles in soup once, and I thought they were better than the typical East Broadway Chinatown places. The noodles themselves were about the same, but the broth was much more fragrant and complex.

          14 Replies
          1. re: pravit

            There is the manifestation of subjectivity as well as nature and nurture. One has been nurtured, as well as having contain states of nature, that may to varying degrees, determine what one considers tasty.

            It might work for you, Kung Fu that is.

            Then again, I will differ. Most places on around East Broadway, cater primarily to Chinese, the majority of who are partially assimilated to not assimilated.

            The Asian Chinese I saw in Kung Fu Little Steam Buns, perhaps live in the US, and purchase Prego, manufactured by Campbell Soup Company.

            They do this when they want to make pasta, just like Americans. They observe TV sitcoms for language skill improvement, just as I did in China for Chinese skills, and may emulate what they see.

            The noodles I had there will go over well with many people, but..............

            1. re: jonkyo

              one caveat: i believe that the Chinese people patronizing the noodle shops around East Broadway -- which i also prefer to Kung Fu -- may live in the US as well.

              and they may also purchase any number of mass-market food products (i know that in Elmhurst, a goodly number of non-English speaking people purchase these products, since Asian markets have whole aisles devoted to them. i don't think their decisions to make these purchases are predicated entirely on watching Two Broke Girls (just wanted to offer an opening for a targeted response indicating the superiority of cultural outsiderhood). perhaps they enjoy prego, kraft or even coca-cola.

              1. re: debinqueens

                :may live in the US as well"

                I agree with this, but their tummies are still in China.....half jest. Do not take that literally.

                "a goodly number of non-English speaking people purchase these products"

                This is plausible, to some extend. Market research would be needed in the populations in question, to actually find out the reality. Observation can also do some to make preliminary bases for answering this question.

                "perhaps they enjoy prego, kraft or even coca-cola."

                First we have to define 'enjoy'. But you very well could be correct.

                " superiority of cultural outsiderhood"

                Well, sedentary sessions and television does much to enrich those who hold financial interests in the health care industry.

              2. re: jonkyo

                The guy behind Kung Fu made noodles at a Lanzhou stall in the basement of the Golden Mall in Flushing (, and his Hell's Kitchen menu is not exactly Americanized. As ipsedixit and scoopG note, it includes legit northern Chinese breakfast fare like soy milk (including the non-sweet kind, added since ipsedixit's post) and youtiao, which you sure won't find at those Chinese restaurants that "for decades have doted [sic] the landscape of America." None of this excuses a sweet, flavorless pork sauce — that sounds like a miss. But the place has actual Chinese cred.

                As for prices, they reflect Midtown rents, which are most likely far higher than those in the eastern quarter of Chinatown. And you're just not going to find as heavily Chinese a clientele on Eighth Avenue as on East Broadway — though I was surprised at how many customers were speaking Chinese when I was there.

                1. re: squid kun

                  The review by jonkyo is essentially judging a typical 5 year-old's kindergarten water color portrait of "mommy" using the Mona Lisa as a baseline standard.

                  We get it, he thinks the place sucks and isn't legit. I could honestly say that about 90% of the places in Manhattan's Chinatown.

                  We can probably all move on at this point.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    It is legit, and so is Kung Fu Panda.

                    They are legit, though no one is holding a gun to anyone's head.

                    If this was state mandated, I could forgive the people for their quests for entertainment and food.

                    I actually still forgive them, I just remain entrenched in combat mode (the keyboard is my weapon), to liberate them, as I think you do, from the dregs of mediocrity and the opposite of culture...which comes from cultivate.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      "We can probably all move on at this point."

                      No so fast. I do think that we should consider this ethnocentric statement, and understand how it is an irrational condemning of the Chinese (and worse, Asians), causing some in that population here in the US, to assimilate to Kung Fu Panda, and Steamed Buns and Prego:

                      "The Chinese are indeed thought by their more fastidious neighbors to eat anything. The Vietnamese used to say that the best way to get rid of the Americans would be to invite in the Chinese, who would surely find them good to eat.'

                      - Robin Fox, Food and Eating: An Anthropological
                      Perspective (Social Issues Research Centre)

                      This is important due to its possible reflection restaurants that are generally mentioned in your statement.

                      Compared this to not NYC's Manhattan, but cities in Asia, and there is not the same condemning, there as here.

                      I would love to see De Blasio embrace the community East of Christie, by visiting one of these gourmet hole in the walls.

                    2. re: squid kun

                      Of course prices reflex midtown, and so does taste.

                      I had stated, eating in Midtown in some cases is like going to a Mall in Jersey.

                      We will leave Snooky out of this for the time being.

                      But this is some very good information you have presented to us. Thank you.

                      "None of this excuses a sweet, flavorless pork sauce "

                      It is being a smart entrepreneur. He could take this to the mall. There are individuals in the metro area, who will never make it to Eldridge in lower Manhattan, and these people need a watered down, assimilated flavor, ie: "sweet, flavorless pork sauce "

                      I actually prefer Xian Famous. The oil bread (油條) is just around the corner.

                    3. re: jonkyo

                      "Then again, I will differ. Most places on around East Broadway, cater primarily to Chinese, the majority of who are partially assimilated to not assimilated."

                      but I'm Chinese! ;) And I live near Chinatown!

                      From what I can tell you only had one dish, so maybe their fried noodles are not good. I usually try more than one dish before writing off an entire restaurant. It's quite common for Chinese restaurants to have a huge menu, but only be good at a couple dishes.

                      Besides their soup noodles, I had soup dumplings and scallion pancakes. All respectable.

                      1. re: pravit

                        "but I'm Chinese! ;) And I live near Chinatown!"

                        I too resided in Chinatown, and I am a not Chinese.

                        I partook of the cuisines found in many a local hole in the wall, from Essex to Delancy down to East Broadway and beyond, and up Eldrigde, and over to Christie. Yum Yum Yum.

                        " All respectable."

                        I might go to Kung Fu Steam Bun for the "all respectable" next time I am out for breakfast with others. I will circumvent the dregs of that all too overly abundant "two eggs, home fries, toast and coffee" That is if I can coax others, or dictate.

                    4. re: pravit

                      Besides, the pinyin they use (for the name) is straight from Hollywood, and not what is used in China.

                      Kung Fu:

                      "What westerners generally call "kung fu", 功夫, gung1 fu1"

                      But the standard romanisation in China is 'gong fu'.

                      in Taiwan it uses symbols called 注音字母 (zhuyin zimu), sound letters. it is also called bopomofo:

                      ㄅ bo ㄆ po ㄇ mo ㄈ fo

                      So, it is a fair market, and they have just what the folk who are familiar with Kung Fu Panda want...the taste that sent me walking away....disappointed. They on other hand will be satisfied.

                      Free enterprise it is called.

                      1. re: jonkyo

                        All I can say is that Kung Fu Panda is light years better than the predecessor at that location, Fo Ying. Worst dumplings I ever ate in my life.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          If I become a priest, I will send people there to order and eat the dumplings as Penance.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            你們的餃子.....I will space you the joke.

                            餃子 jiaozi: dumpling.