Any seasoned broke-ass New Yorker will tell you that Chinatown is the place to save the bank. That’s easy. Go to Chinatown. And then what? Chinatown is fucking confusing. If you walk around aimlessly looking for a restaurant then you’ll probably just end up at the restaurant with the most enthusiastic name (Prosperity Dumpling, Super Taste, etc.) – and you should. That’s exactly what happened to me.
Start with a night of drinking at some cave of a place with old converted massage/sauna rooms in Chinatown – end up at some restaurant with a ridiculous name on a bright gold sign – fall in love. I can’t explain what exactly happened, but I was a fresh New Yorker and the curry in the Singapore Mai Fun mixed with the drinks and made me realize that I had made the right choice – not just in food – but in the city, life, everything. It all happened there!
So I’m obviously biased, but believe me, I’ve been back and back and back. I have taken every person that has visited me there. Great N.Y. Noodletown has the best Chinese food I have ever tasted (sure I’m a whiteboy from the Midwest but fuck), and it is unbelievably cheap. I have been there on dates (one date later recalled, “what was that dirty restaurant you took me to?”), stopped on my way home from work, and stumbled in after being trapped on an island with no food or water (it’s okay Governor’s Island, I still love you). It was all good. Every time. Sure it’s a little grungy, but who really cares: be a good dirty broke-ass.
I would focus on the noodle dishes (no shit), especially the Singapore Chow Fun ($7.50, enough for two). Big thick noodles covered in curry with shrimp, pork, peppers and onions. The noodles are orgasmic: always cooked perfectly, covered in smoky grease. The soups are good too (one is enough for a meal), and if you feel like splurging get yourself some BBQ roast pork or duck ($4.50) fresh off the meat curtains. The waitstaff is fast and friendly (the food comes out before you can come close to finishing your first beer) and they are open until 4am every night. Cheers!
Great N.Y. Noodletown
28 Bowery (at Bayard)
Photo Credit: Shobun Baile