As one of my New York City "bucket list" items, my friends Dana and Arthur took me out for hand-pulled Chinese noodles from the highly regarded Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House in Elmhurst, Queens. Check out the noodle maker doing his thing above!
The very definition of a hole-in-the-wall, this super tiny noodle joint features a chef making endless sets of hand-pulled noodles, a woman taking orders, and about a dozen seats crammed full of slurping patrons.
The menu features various kinds of meat in noodle soup, ranging from 4 to 5 bucks a bowl. A plate of four big pork and chive dumplings is a buck and a quarter, and a sesame pancake stuffed with beef is $2.25. Definitely Queens Chinatown prices!
I ordered the beef with tendon noodle soup, and split some dumplings with my friends. The dumplings were super juicy, meaty and chive-y, just the way I like them. The soup was the perfect meal on a blistering cold winter's night — hot and savory broth, super-fresh noodles, ample meat and tendon, and a few green veggies thrown in more for color than any real nutrition value. The pork on bone and dumpling soups also looked amazing.
Later we walked around the neighborhood, which brings together several asian bakeries, a couple of Vietnamese pho shops, a Taiwanese cafe, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Thai restaurants, a couple of asian markets, and a Mexican taco truck for good measure. We stopped into a bubble tea house for some hot milk tea and a cute little chinese bakery with some of my favorite sweet Chinese treats like creme-filled rolls and red bean pastries.
Of all the five boroughs, I think Queens does have the most interesting mix of authentic ethnic restaurants, markets and bakeries. One of the great parts of New York City that I'm going to miss so much.
BTW, check out this neat interview by WNET of the main chef at Lao Bei Fang.