Chinese on the cheap

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, the day that we scare off the ghosts and celebrate luck, welfare and success. In my family we always exchange red envelopes with yellow coins inside. Red is supposed to scare the ghosts away and yellow brings luck. We celebrate this with a big Chinese dinner party at my parent’s home or in a restaurant. With lots of Chinese food off course. Are you celebrating Chinese New Year? And if so, do you eat Chinese on Chinese New Year? If yes, here are some of my favorite no frills Chinese spots on the cheap that you might consider: 

Cafe China New York

1. Cafe China (13 East 37th street, between 5th avenue and Madisson avenue. Midtown East). $$

To my knowledge, this authentic Sichuan restaurant is the only Michelin-star restaurant where you can have a two course meal for less than $10 (11.30 am -3 pm Monday- Friday). If you like spicy, order the Tree pepper chicken, Spicy Cumin Lamb or Ma Po Tofu and Pork Dumplings on the side. If you’re not into spicy, have some Tea Smoked Duck, Kung Pao Chicken or Chinese Broccoli. 

Cafe China New York

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Noodles @ Menkui Tei

MENKUI TEI (60 West 56th street. Between 5th and 6th Avenue. Midtown East). €

I haven’t been eating ramen for a while and was pretty excited to try out the ramen at this spot. Menkui Tei! This ramen restaurant didn’t have the long wait like most of its competitor noodle bars have and the restaurant was pretty much empty. Perhaps it had anything to do with the outdated decor? Anyway. I just hoped it had anything to do with the noodles.

Mekui Tei New York

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Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle

LAM ZHOU HANDMADE NOODLE (144 East Broadway, between Pike street and East Broadway. Chinatown). $ 

After over 5 months, I am finally able to try out some new Noodle place in New York city. This afternoon I had lunch at Lam Zhou Handmade noodle. The noodles here are handmade in right in front of you. It can’t be any fresher. And even better, the fairly large bowls are very very cheap. I paid $6.00 for my roasted pork chop noodle bowl. Certainly not a romantic fine dining experience, but not bad at all considering it’s price. 

am-zhou-handmade-noodle-new-york

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Cheese Ramen @ Zutto Japanese American Pub

ZUTTO JAPANESE AMERICAN PUB (77 Hudson street & Harrison street. Tribeca)

$$ Food**** Ambiance****

I’ve wanted to visit this place for a while and finally I was able to go here for my weekend brunch. The restaurant itself is a combination between a modern industrial loft and a traditional Japanese eatary. When I visited it on a Sunday afternoon, there weren’t that many people in the restaurant; only a few families with their little kids.

Zutto Japanese American Pub Tribeca New York

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A (culinary day) in New York’s Lower East Side – 50 places to visit

Sons of Essex

Lower East Side Collage2

What use to be the home of millions of working class immigrants families living in pour conditions during the late 19th century has now become one of Manhattan’s prime dining and shopping area renowned for it’s countless of trendy restaurants, hipster bars, live music venues, fashionable boutiques and local art galleries. I personally love this area not only for these reasons, but most of all for it’s melting pot of cultures and explosion of creativity.  Here a quick guide to my favorite LES (eat and drink) spots. 

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A (culinary) day in New York’s East Village (my 26 favorites)

East Village New York

What I love so much about New York is it’s variety of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood in New York has it’s own character, atmosphere, landscape and diversity of buildings and people. Every single neighborhood is so inspiring, great people watching and there are always new restaurants, bars and events opening up. No matter what neighborhood you live in, you will never run out of activities to do.  Since I know most of Manhattan’s neighborhoods by heart (except for the uptown neighborhoods) I decided to make a little overview with my favorite spots per neighborhood. My personal favorites are the West Village and East Village (see my post about my favorite breakfast and brunch spots in the West Village and my post about my favorite jazz bars and life music venues in the West Village Let me start with the East Village. The East Village is perhaps one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City in terms of people and restaurants. There are countless of bars, coffee shops and restaurants (especially Japanese ones) to visit and literary all kinds of food can be found here. Here are just a few of the tons of places to visit in the Eat Village but hopefully it will help those who are not familiar with the East Village (and have only little time) to make a selection. Let me know how you liked it and off course, I’d love to hear about your favorite places in the East Village. 

Saint Marks Place East Village New York

@ Saint Marks Place

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My birthday meals

Lunch @ MINCA ramen factory (536 East 5th Street, between Avenue A and Avenue B. East Village, Alphabet City). 

$$ Food *** Ambiance ***

Yesterday was my birthday and like every year, I celebrated it with food. In the Chinese culture, it’s a tradition to eat “long life” noodles for your birthday as a symbol for the many years ahead of you.

Minca Ramen Factory New York

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My top 11 noodle bowls

Think Noodles New York

As you may know, New York has everything in abundance as well as noodle places. There are tons to choose from and so many new ones opening all the time.

As a noodle addict, off course I want to try them all out which means that I would have to eat noodles everyday. But since I don’t want to become an elephant, I don’t think this will be a good idea. Nonetheless, over the year, I still have been able to try out a large number of different noodle bowls and I must say that the price-quality ratio of most of the noodle bars is relatively high. The price range of almost all of the noodle bars I visited is somewhere between $10-$15 dollar. The ambiance is casual, be prepared to wait for a table, eat and run. Continue Reading →

Vietnamese Pho

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodles soup consisting of a bowl with rice noodles in broth, often combined with beef, been sprouts, onion and coriander. If prepared well, it’s one of my favorite dishes; very light and flavorful.

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Ivan Ramen & Gotham West Market

IVAN RAMEN @ GOTHAM WEST MARKET (600, 11th Avenue at 44th street. Midtown West)

I just returned from my lunch at the Gotham West Market, a small  10,000 -square food hall that just opened it’s doors last November 2013.

It’s a pretty hipster upscale food hall, similar to Eataly or the Chelsea Market. Gotham West Market currently has 8 vendors each selling a different kind of food: There is Seamus Mullen’s El Colmado, a Spanish tapas bar which serves tapas, beer and wine. For something healthy and organic you can  go the Caroline Fidanza’s Little Chef. Little Chef’s farm-t0-table menu offers a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads. Then there is Cannibal a charcuterie were you can eat different kinds of meat along with a cocktail or beer. For more beer and cocktails you can also visit Genuine Roadside. If you are more up to something warm you can buy coffee or tea at Blue Bottle. For groceries, sandwiches and specialty food there is the Court Street Grocer Sandwich Shop. If you need more groceries or still need cooking supplies or cooking lessons, visit Brooklyn Kitchen.

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