Monday, October 17, 2011

Noodle Up! The Noodle War Saga...

It's a shame I arrived in NYC too late to fight as a foot-soldier in the Forsyth Street Noodle Wars.  But that doesn't mean I can't do some research into exactly what those doomed fools were fighting over.  So while waiting for our hair to be done, me and my new friend strolled over to Kuai Le at 28 Forsyth St., followed by Xi'an Famous Foods just down the block.  This branch of Xi'an is takeout only, and although Kuai Le has some tables, the sound of toothless old men sucking shin bone like it was their long lost mother's teat, is simply, shall we say, off-putting.  Got it to go, and anyway, didn't want to mess up the hair.


Ooh baby you are going to flip when you see my wash, set, cut, perm,cap, foil, wax!
The battle, it appears, is between 'hand-pulled'-which is the traditional guy-in-the-window twirling fat strands of dough until they become smaller strands of edible size (although at Kuai Le they do their twirling in the kitchen); and 'hand-ripped', which is dough that is first flattened into strips, then slapped on the counter, and finally ripped into uneven lengths (see video below).  One is elegant, the other is rustic.  One slides into the mouth and down the throat, the other must be heartily chewed.  I'd like to say which is better (they are both great examples of simple, homemade food turned into something extraordinary), but at this point in the battle, I'd say it is time to, um, do more research.  I'll get back to you after my next hair appointment on the 'Corridor of Hair' on East Broadway, or as I like to call it, 頭髮走廊

Quart of soup with a fried egg on top from Kuai Le


CU: Fried Egg 

Hand-pulled noodles with baby bok, baby bok, baby bok


Meats, skins, tripes

Chewy


Cute packaging from Xi'an Famous Foods



Vegetarian Style with baggie of secret sauce

Not tofu but wheat gluten

Splattered



Sauce got all over the place.  Gigi's gonna be pissed!

Same Noodles with cumin lamb

...and in soup

Lots of hot oil

Noodles at rest



Chewy and Umame-ish



video
This is the hand-ripped from Xi'an.  So simple I think the little girl enjoying a lamb burger (more on that next time) could do it.  But I think she is still too young to suit up for this battle, even though she looks ready.  So for now, there seems to be a truce in the noodle wars.  If only for the sake of the children....

Kuai Le
28 Forsyth St
212-941-7678

Xi'an Famous Foods
88 East Broadway (located on Forsyth St side of building)
Other Locations and Menu at www.xianfoods.com

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