Tuesday, July 11, 2006

That Chinese Restaurant, You Know, The One With The Yellow Canopy On East Broadway?

One of the greatest college discoveries I ever made was the discovery of the Chinatown Express. For those who don’t know, the Chinatown Express is a shady network of busses that travel from different Chinatowns for a mind blowing cheap rate. While everyone who has traveled via these busses has their own horror story to share (mine includes massive amounts of blood on a McDonald’s bathroom floor), it’s impossible to deny their efficiency in both speed and cost. Although I appreciate both the break-neck velocity and economical aspects of this travel choice, there is very little else I look forward to when having to travel this way. In fact, the only other part of traveling I look forward to are the self-enforced mandatory meals I eat upon departure. Fast, appetizing and (of course) easy on the wallet, a good meal in Chinatown guarantees both fresh and scrumptious food. Whether it’s a sweet pork bun, a hot bowl of noodles or a crispy brown dumplings, Chinatown is still the undisputed king of delicious, discounted delicacies.

Last week my brother and I were headed home for a small family reunion and instead of the traditional “pork-bun-grab-and-run”, we decided to head down to Chinatown early for a sit down meal. As we exited the East Broadway station, we realized that although we wanted a traditional meal, we had no idea where we were going to dine. We headed towards the bus and we passed a few restaurants, but none that caused our mouths to salivate. As we got closer and closer to the bus, it looked like we were going to be relegated to sweet buns once again, that was until we spied a beacon in the form of a yellow canopy, located at 141 East Broadway.

I will own up to the fact that I have no idea what the restaurant was called. In fact, I really have no idea what the menu was, but when my brother and I saw “Noodles” and “$3.50” we knew we had found our place. As soon as we walked in, we were approached by the waitress/cook, who quickly took our order. Through broken English and gesturing, we ordered the fried pork noodles ($3.50) and the fried pork dumplings ($1.50 for 10) and grabbed seats at the counter. The waitress/cook exchanged a few words with a bored, apron-clad man sitting in the back and with much dejection, he lifted himself out of his seat and grabbed a bowling ball sized bowl lump of dough. At first we thought he was making our dumplings, but we quickly realized that the more he pounded and stretched that unshapely chunk of dough, that it was being transformed into gorgeous links of fresh noodles.

In almost no time at all our meal was ready and let’s just say the prices did not reflect the quantity. Presented before us was a heaping bowl of noodle soup, topped with crispy, golden fried pork, and ten, plump and glistening dumplings. The soup was not much more than the noodles and the pork, but that didn’t matter. The freshness of the noodles cut through the saltiness of the broth, while the moist, sweetness of the pork gave the dish a fully rounded flavor. The dumplings were perfectly fried on the bottom, while nice and doughy on the top. The meat inside was luscious and brackish and cooked to a nice pinkish brown. And with the meal costing only seven dollars (that included two bottles of water) it was the perfect snack to send us on our way home.

The “Yellow Canopy Chinese Restaurant on East Broadway” is located at 141 East Broadway in New York City.


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