Culinaring Through NYC: Day 2 (Lunch), May be Ghetto, Definitely Great
Today was nasty day to walk in NYC. But being the food fiends my friends and I are, we braced the pelting rain to reach a remote noodle shop in Chinatown. At times we had to put our umbrellas in front of us to stay dry, but every minute or so a gust of wind would invert our umbrellas. By the time we reached the restaurant, our jeans were soaked and our shoes were practically two small swimming pools.
Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle & Dumpling is a hole in the wall. Seats and tables (maybe 15 people could fit in here) cling tightly to the sides of the this narrow restaurant. Straight ahead by the kitchen door a man twirls a large log of dough and occasionally slams it into the marble slab on the table in front of him. A booming WACK echoes through the restaurant. Nobody looks up because they’re busy eating.
steamed pork dumplings
A plate of 12 (maybe more) dumplings costs $3. It’s a wonder how this place makes money. But as for those dumplings, man are they good. The green onions really pull through. There’s a tint of ginger coming from either the dumpling or the sauce. In the end it’s the texture of the skin that’s just soft enough, just sticky enough and just dense enough. Happiness.
A giant bowl of oxtail soup (top of post) is $5 but worth three times that much. While the hand-pulled noodles are fluffy and light, the broth defines depth. This isn’t a soup that can be replicated with one hour and a list of ingredients. It’s a soup that somehow reaches into the soul and puts it at ease.
Chinatown is lined with cramped restaurants just like Lam Zhou. No way they all operate on the same level, but it’s comforting to think that each one has that potential to be unexpectedly memorable and unabashedly cheap.