Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fabulously artisan ice cream (Big Gay Ice Cream Shop)

Big Gay Ice cream Shop sign

If you've never used your tongue to gently undress a thin layer of crushed Nilla Wafers from the tip of one of Bea Arthur's milky cones... then you, my friend, have never truly lived. There are some dishes and places that every food blogger raves about. When you talk about fried chicken, it's pretty hard not to mention Bob White's and Pies and Thighs, when you talk about soup dumplings, Nan Xiang inevitably gets thrown into the mix, and if you ask about street meat, almost everyone will have something to say about the cart at 53rd and 6th (although I really don't think it's that remarkable). More often than not, they're chock full of mediocrity and disappointment, leaving me utterly confused as to why so many people I barely know would lie to me about food. Far less frequently, these places are downright spectacular and actually live up to the lofty expectations set by every assclown with a keyboard who sets out to write about food (that includes me!). Sometimes. The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is one of those places where "the juice is worth the squeeze."

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop does a lot of fucking things erotically well. To a scary degree. Yeah, they have the 'Salty Pimp,' a chocolate, sea salt, caramel mashup that violently fists the line between salty and sweet, playfully toying with your mind while delighting your taste buds. They also have the 'Monday Sundae,' a brilliantly decadent sundae topped with dulce de leche and sea salt set atop a Nutella covered waffle cone. Pretty much all of their menu qualifies as 'the tits.' But there's one item that's a classic beyond all others, and that's the one and only... Bea Arthur.

Bea Arthur

This Golden Girl truly sets the gold standard here. I unabashedly admit I was a fan of the show growing up, possibly because my Grandmother would always watch the marathons of the syndicated episodes. Everyone always said that Betty White was the comic relief, that the mother provided the wit, and that Blanche was just a slut - but the true crux of the show was undoubtedly Bea Arthur's character. As I mentioned, there are some truly attention-grabbing items on the menu, but the one I always end up defaulting to when it's game time is the Bea Arthur. It's simple, nothing more than vanilla ice cream swirled with dulce de leche rolled in a generous helping of crushed Nilla wafters - the preferred cookie of the geriatric crowd (very apropos) - but that's all it has to be. The ice cream is appropriately consistent in texture, the infusion of dulce de leche brings the sweetness to a more intense level, and the crunchy, sweet yet mild flavor of the Nilla wafers mellows out both the feel on the tongue as well as complexity of flavor. Let's be honest, if you had to pick one of the Golden Girls to get it on with, it'd probably be ol' dependable, and you know it.

The 'Choinkwich'

Maybe it's not as fantastic as an intense session of lapping up some sweet vanilla + Nilla wafer action as above, but the 'Choinkwich' is a pretty fun little ice cream sandwich. Admittedly they're pre-made and not quite as awesome as the soft-serve, but you can't really deny some bacon on chocolate on chocolate lovin'. The implementation isn't great (again, because it's pre-made, the ice cream is pretty brick-like), but the amalgam of flavors undeniably just works. Anyway, in closing - allow me to summarize the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. I am lactose intolerant. When I eat even what most people consider a reasonable amount of dairy, I will probably be making sweet ass cheek love to the toilet that night. I will gladly pay that penalty if it means enjoying myself a Bea Arthur.

tl;dr - My body doesn't accept dairy well. I still shovel big quantities of gay ice cream in my mouth. My favorite is the Bea Arthur, possibly because my grandmother brainwashed me into liking the Golden Girls growing up.

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
125 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009


Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramen and char-siu nirvana (Minca Ramen)

Minca sio ramen

While the ramen fad peaked in 2011 (or was it 2010?) and the world has moved onto things like cronuts, I haven't moved on yet. I don't like change. I like constancy. Or maybe I share some similarities to the Pokemon Slowpoke. Today, in the middle of this assclown ridiculously hot and humid summer, I'm going to tell you a secret that's utterly useless to you now. A secret I held near and dear to my heart for years out of fear that tourists and douches would ruin it if it got legitimately popular - stares in the general direction of Prosperity Dumpling. Today, I shall reveal to you my favorite Japanese noodle place in the entire world. Including Japan. Although I've never eaten ramen there (except in the airport), so that's somewhat of a bullshit claim. Whatever, I feel like I eat enough of a variety of noodles where I can claim some sort of demented expert status in this kind of thing. Anyway, while almost every blogger in NYC will prematurely ejactulate over Ippudo or touch themselves at the mere thought of Totto Ramen - I can't get behind that crap. I'm not prepared to wait 30 minutes for a bowl of noodles (up to an hour if you're unfortunate). Frankly, I don't care for the atmosphere either. I just want to shove my face full of fatty-ass pork, slurp up some noodles, and drown in a thick creamy broth. That's where Minca comes in.

Multiple bowls of ramen

There's a saying in software development that was made popular around the time Facebook started blowing up... "move fast and break things." Well Minca's ramen is delivered way fast, and wreaks havoc on my digestive system. So there's that. One of the huge draws is the fact that I literally don't have to wait for shit. I've never had to wait for a table (grabbing a seat at the bar is almost always an option), and within 5 minutes of ordering, there's usually a bowl of sensual flavors sitting in my face. Look at that photo, that guy is literally servicing 6 customers at once. No inefficiencies in this place.


Damn, their gyoza sure are pretty. To be honest, I feel bad paying for gyoza. Yes, they're innately different from the 5 for $1 dumplings in Chinatown - they're more delicate, less doughy, and comprise of more meat, but they're still a horrible value for what you're paying. That said, Minca's are pretty tight. They have a certain fragrance of pork that's just a cut above what you normally get with cheapo dumps. The skins are insanely thin, yet eerily resilient. They're like that kid in highschool that got picked on all the time and you thought would just fucking lose it, but doesn't. That kind of resilience.

Flame-torched charsu

But you're not there for the gyoza. You're there for this shit. There are few things that bring me more joy than Lord of the Rings lego sets, and their Minca Sio ramen is one of them. You like fine-ass noodles with snap and elasticity? Hell yeah they got that shit locked down. You like rich creamy pork broth heavy on the garlic and sesame oil? They got those too. You looking for tight as fuck roast pork that they freaking flame torch on the spot? They've got that in spades (and are probably one of the only ramen places in NYC that does it). The components all sound wonderful, but the amalgam of bits results in a bowl of soul soothingly smooth noodles that has character from start to finish. The first bites are almost overwhelming, but as you take bite after bite, the flavors mellow, the tastes meld, and the experience is indescribable. Each mouthful of noodles gets intercepted by bites of crispy pork, rendered fat, and crunchy seaweed. It's honestly a whirlwind of textures layered on top of in your face flavor.

I'm not terribly good with words, but this is one of those places I go to even during the summer. Even when I'm sweating up a tropical storm of perspiration, I have urges. Just like sometimes you gotta rub one out, sometimes I gotta get my ramen on. Minca is probably the only place that can settle my 'congeez,' as my Nigerian friend would say.

tl;dr - in an effort to keep assclowns from ruining my favorite ramen place, I've waited three years to reveal my go to joint. If Minca were a significant other, it would be sexual in all the right ways, and dependable in all those other boring ways. Their ramen is just short of god-like. Ippudo can suck it.

Minca Ramen
536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PRISM and dumplings (Prosperity Dumplings)

41 to start

Working in tech has certainly been interesting these past few weeks. With the recent news breaking about the NSA and their secret 'PRISM' initiative, it's impossible to get through a single day without reading about how our privacy is being invaded, our civil liberties disappearing one-by-one, blah blah blah. Yes. That shit is serious business, but today - I want to draw attention to something that might be an even greater injustice... something that shakes my world to the very core. After years of being my golden benchmark for taste and value, Prosperity Dumpling has delivered a metaphorical Falcon punch to my non-existent ovaries and has recently shifted to a 4 for $1 sales model. Utter BS if you ask me. Sure, you could say that this was an inevitable fate - after all, Vanessa's had already adopted this pricing structure for a few years now, Tasty Dumpling was always 5 for $1.25, and Lan Zhou's potstickers are 12 for $3. The dumplings at all of these places sell without issue, but for some reason Prosperity's change in price, at least to me, feels perverse and dirty.

Remember when Prosperity was good? Pepperidge Farm fucking remembers. Shit was so cash. No tourists, no waiting, no nonsense. You could walk in and walkout with a huge-ass order of 20 fresh as shit dumps and a beef pancake, no sweat. In and out in 5 minutes, max. Then people started posting about it on blogs (I'm being a hypocrite here... bite me), on Yelp, on Chowhound. Of course, following that - asshats from yore came running abound for this uber-cheap gem of a meatpocket shop, clogging up the small storefront, forming lines 10+ deep, spending minutes at the front indecisively changing their orders. Fuck all that noise. I think this price hike was the tipping point for me. I was already paying for a diminished experience - longer waits for the same exact food, but now that it costs the same/more than other places in the vicinity that on occasion can exceed their quality? Unless you can justifiably claim that your dumplings are now 25% improved... it just doesn't make sense to me to go there. I'm done.

Let's consider this in another light. Over the course of a year, I get dumplings once, maybe twice a week, 15 to 20 at a time. That means, I'm spending roughly $3.50 per weekend on dumplings, over the course of a year - $182. Before the price change, that would be 910 dumplings. After the price change... that would be 728 dumplings. Damn. Some of you will probably point out the fact that it's a trivial amount of money, that I don't normally pay for food during the week. Fuck you guys - 200 dumplings is 200 dumplings. And dumplings are life to me.

Today I learned...

Am I mad at Prosperity for trying to make money? Not really. They're a player, and they have every right to up their prices - if people are willing to pay inflated rates, they'd be insanely stupid to neglect profit that's just sitting there. Do I think they sold out? Hell yeah I do. As much as we all want to drown in an orgy of bitches and make mad bank, in the end, you really gotta stay true and love your loyal clientele (read: not those dick weeds who come after looking at Yelp and take 10 minutes to decide they want $1 worth of dumplings). Where am I going with this? I don't know. Nothing I say will change their prices back. Nothing I say will keep the masses of asshats from crowding in line adding to the already unreasonable waits. Nothing I say will bring back the Prosperity Dumpling of old. I'm just annoyed is all.

tl;dr - I feel like two inalienable rights have been violated. Just like I want to keep my weird fetishes secret from the government, I want my dumplings to taste good and only cost 20 cents per. Shame on you Prosperity Dumpling. I expected this from Uncle Sam... but from you? It's like an old friend is pissing in my mouth when I'm sleeping. Or something.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lessons in Korean food (Bibimbap Backpackers)


Over the past eight years (minus that one forgetful year I spent in Philly), I've probably been to K-Town at least a few hundred times, eaten more than my fair share of garlic chicken platters from Woorijip when drunk, and downed countless bowls of Jajangmyeon. Korean food is my jam, or my sexual awakening... take your pick. That said, while I'm more than happy to shove my hole silly with spicy-ass kimchi or to drown my problems in makgeolli - I realize more often than not, I don't know what I'm actually putting in my mouth (a serious problem for me). I've asked my Korean ex-roommate before on numerous occasions what each banchan dish is, what ingredients go into what, but he's also an asshole who didn't tell me his birthday for five years - so I don't really trust him with regards to these things. Anyway, when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a random event in K-Town to learn about the history of bibimbap, I was a bit skeptical. This sounded sort of like one of those cult tricks where they promise you punch, except the punch is spiked... and you promise to love an extraterrestrial elder being named 'Stan,' but I decided the reward of eating some sweet sweet Korean food far outweighed the downsides of possibly signing over my life.

As it turns out - the Bibimbap Backpackers are a pretty laid back and legit group of people who honestly just want to make people love eating 비빔밥 (bibimbap), which honestly isn't that difficult to do. But before getting to the money shot, first they fed us some other stuff that Korean people enjoy.

Seafood pajeon

Not unlike Starcraft, they explained that Pajeon is something dear and special to the hearts of Koreans, and is "only eaten on certain conditions relating to the weather... when it's raining, or when it's snowing, or when it's sunny." I've explained this in the past, but it's like scallion pancakes in Chinese cuisine, but with more stuff in it... or to make it even more relatable, it's like a panfried pancake, but instead of blueberries or chocolate chips... you put in chunks of squid and scallions and other savory shiz. It's not the main course, it's just to get your lips wet.


One thing I like about Korean food over every other food - is the seemingly endless stream of appetizer dishes that are apparently all free. I've often wondered what stopped people from going to a Korean place and ordering the cheapest entree and just killing it on banchan. Aside from shame, I mean. In any case, they followed up on the pancake with some japchae (glass noodles) and mandoo (dumplings). Glass noodles probably sound pretty bland, but they're surprisingly flavorful, with an elasticity that would rival Stretch Armstrong even the next day. Again, none of this is supposed to get you off - just tasteful foreplay for the main dish.

Look at those colors

Then it hits you. Bibimbap. With a name that translates literally to 'mixed rice,' I'm not really sure what you expect. I took three things away from this session. One, this shit is the food of the royals. In the past, only kings could get their socks off with this ish. That's how sensual it is. Two, the name of the game in making bibimbap is to make your bowl as colorful as possible. What could be better than eating a fucking rainbow. If you answered anything aside from unicorns making sweet sweet love under a waterfall... you're an idiot. Or maybe I am. Third, doesn't matter what the bowl looks like after you mix it up with the fury of Zeus's libido - it will taste like heaven. Yes, maybe it looks like 'the sum parts of yesterday's leftover' according to my mom. So what? It tastes 5x better. Basically, what I'm trying to tell you is: bibimbap is dope as hell.


After dinner - you follow up with some hotteok (which is pronounced kinda like 'Hodor'). It's like a combo churro, funnel cake, and pancake. You have the delicious brown sugar cinnamon flavor of a churro violating your tastebuds, but with the crispy oily skin of a funnel cake, and the soft porous fluffy center of a pancake. If that doesn't get your pants tight, I don't know what will. I feel like it would be a la mode, but I don't think that's the Korean way to do things.

Mixed that shit up...

In closing, I have learned (not really that it's anything surprising) that I love bibimbap. I didn't really need a group of people to pimp the idea to me, but they've definitely firmed up any doubts that I had. Additional factoid - this program is sponsored by CJ Foods (apparently the No. 1 Korean food company), which is represented by the face of Psy. Who loves the fact that he's 'like herpes.' Awesome.

tl;dr - I went to some Korean food events hosted by the Bibimbap Backpackers (which weirdly enough are cosponsored by the company who employs Psy to sell various 'sauces'). They're basically evangelical Christians, except - instead of trying to make me love god, they want me to love bibimbap. I now love bibimbap.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dat roast pork sandwiches (Taylor's Gourmet)

Overflowing roast pork

If you've read my blog consistently - which admittedly is probably pretty difficult lately given my ass-clown posting frequency - you probably realize I have no real love lost for Philadelphia. Most of my memories about the city are pretty shitty. Philly drivers are entirely assholes towards cyclists, and while the riding is absolutely sick - I had more than a few close encounters with cars, the 'subway' system smells like cat pee and weird handsoap, and the city all-in-all shuts down at 10 pm unless you plan on getting hammered as if you were stuck in colonial times. Freakin' Quakers. That said, to be entirely fair - it's also home to a dope-ass Korean-Japanese food truck that pimps a bulgogi cheesesteak (with the nicest old couple running shit ever) and a couple of the best burgers I've eaten in my short cholesterol-laden life (which is actually serious praise considering how many burgers I put away thus far)... but most of it is shitty. That said, one area that Philly absolutely killed at was sandwiches. Maybe it's all the old-fashioned Italian delis... or maybe it's all fo the old-fashioned Italian bakeries churning out some seriously sensual bread fumes... but mash those two components together and you have something absolutely magical. One of the few things I legitimately miss about Philadelphia: Italian roast pork sandwiches.

"Footlong" from Taylor's Gourmet

Look at that rod of hot Italian pork. Not unlike Gary Oak - this is a sandwich where you "can't ignore its girth." Don't be deceived by the generic deli look here - the amount of meat packed inside the core of the baguette is unbelievable - it's almost as if someone hollowed out the bread beforehand to violate the center pocket with an additional quantity of pork. I don't remember how much it was (it has been over a year since I've eaten one of thes fuckers), but I would most certainly pay a bounty of gold to taste that sweet porcine folded meat right now. Goddamn.

Beautiful seeded hoagie roll

There's something distinctly indescribable about the flavor combination in these sandwiches. Roast pork au jus, a very distinctively sharp provolone, garlicy olive-oil laden broccoli rabe, and a seeded hoagie - there's absolutely no complexity in the construction, but the depth of flavor it brings is like getting punched in the face while wearing braces. Except in a good way. Less painful, more delicious. Taylor's Gourmet manages to deliver on nostalgia like a boss. Their roast pork is as moist as my pants just thinking about it, the bread softer and fluffier than Jigglypuff. Shit... that's soft. Despite the their location in Washington DC, they've forgotten absolutely nothing about the OG roots that make this sandwich the crown tit's of Philadelphia (honestly, it deserves to be held in higher regard than the cheesesteak). Good on ya' bros.

tl;dr - writing this post reminded me of how much I think Philadelphia sucks. Except for the food, they got that shit locked down. In spite of how much their subway system smells like a delightfully pungent combination of homeless pee and cheap handsoap, I think they're really good at making roast pork sandwiches. Taylor Gourmet makes them pretty good.

Taylor Gourmet
485 K St NW Washington, DC 20001


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ben's Chili Bowl (more food that looks like poo)

Ben's Chili Bowl (storefront)

Last April, I had a chance to visit DC on a business trip (how's that for backlogged!) and instead of focusing on what I was supposed to actually accomplish for work, my mind drifted instead to what I wanted to eat. The only thing that actually came to mind was Ben's Chili Bowl, a joint made famous by President Obama for something called the "half smoke." While I never really expect any hot dog to transcend all culinary achievement, I was definitely intrigued when I saw Danny's photo of it - noting that it looks like a poo covered hot dog. Going by my faithful doctrine, that meant one thing: it had to be good. Also I'm a huge fan of processed meat and chili, so there really wasn't much that could go wrong here. Plus, look at that line! While that would normally be a deterrent in Chinatown, for non-Asian cuisine? That many people crowding a single establishment gives me a food-stiffy. What glory does this pseudo-shit covered meat amalgam hide? Is it as wonderful as our dear leader say it is?

That shit is so cash.

Such good chili

That said, I'm also the type of guy who's okay with NYC hot dog carts (not with the price, but with the taste), questionable street meat, and weird deli sandwiches - so take whatever I say about the half smoke with a grain of salt, but shit... they've got their chili and hot dog knowledge down. Sure, NYC has Crif Dog, which for all intents and purposes is 'okay,' and we have Japadog, which I think is insanely overpriced for what it is, but is still good, but whoever Ben is... he basically shits on them when it comes to dog tech.

Half-smoke, fries, and a chocolate shake

THIS IS 'MERICUH. Look at this All-American meal - an order of a half smoke, a giant bowl of perfectly golden fries, and a huge-ass chocolate shake. I'd be unpatriotic if I didn't eat it all. And you know what? It was wonderful. Surrounded by freedom, I hugged my arteries with the love of thousands of calories. The delicious sweetness of hearty chili, whose consistency was halfway between lentil and meat, combined with a saltiness unmistakably associated with heavily processed meats bundled oh-so-tight in a snappy casing overwhelmed my tasted buds with flavor (and my heart with imminent pain). Past that... it was inevitable, Ben's half smoke would surely deliver freedom to my bowels in a way that hasn't been seen since we signed the Declaration of Independence. Just kidding, it wasn't that monumental, but it was damn good. At the end of the day, it's just a hot dog covered with chili, but me saying that alone should be good enough. Both those things are fucking fantastic and should need no further endorsement.

tl;dr - I found more food that looks like poo, this time it's a chili dog that some dude named Obama fucking loves. It tastes like Freedom, and will likely liberate your asshole the next day.

Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20009


Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Kryptonite (Girl Scout cookies)

A full box of Samoas

Aside from bullets, they are my only weakness. Actually that's not true, I also have a debilitating fear of cockroaches, swimming, and public speaking... but Girl Scout cookies are definitely up there when it comes to things that scare the living shit out of me. I know, you're probably thinking - "you asshat! How can you be scared of delicious delicious baked goods sold by smiling little girls covered in flair pins?" That's a very good question. Superficially, Girl Scouts are innocent and harmless creatures who are learning about life skills and philanthropy by selling boxes of buttery delights, but underneath that perfect image of civility is the devil in disguise. They are harbingers of evil! Every year around this time, they storm around the suburbs and they terrorize every former fat person's dreams. These beret-toting crusaders go out peddling $4 boxes of heart-disease and poverty, leaving strong men broken and crying in their wake. Do I hate them? Oh yes I do. They deserve a special place in Hell for the torment they bring me... yet, I also have inexplicable love for the overpriced bites of shame they deliver. I swear... Girl Scout cookies must be laced with crack.

Girl Scout Cookies

See that girl on the right wearing the fireman's helmet? She could burn down your house and no one would even know. That girl on the left in the tire swing? You think she's smiling because she's having fun? No, she's smiling because she knows she can jack up your cholesterol and there's nothing you can do to stop her. When was the last time you had a Thin Mint and stopped at one? Maybe one box. You never just have one. You know how many calories are in that box? Doesn't matter. While the amount of shame you gain by crushing an entire box of cookies in 10 minutes is certainly significant, it's also proportional to how goddamn addictive those motherfuckers are.

Tagalong box

And her! In her little kayak, smiling fiendishly. She could drown you in that lake and no one would be the wiser, but instead - she delivers boxes of death to your doorstep and you gladly give her money to do so. The sudden realization that Girl Scout cookies are like cigarettes feelsbadman.jpg.


Eat cat shit Tagalongs. There are few things in the world I like more than peanut butter. Back in college, I'd routinely go ape shit on jars of Peanut Butter & Co's 'Chocolate Dreams,' crushing a single container and a loaf of Wonderbread (RIP) in a single sitting. Tagalongs are basically the same thing as 'Chocolate Dreams,' but instead of bread, now you have vanilla shortbread. It's like some sort of sick twist of a peanut butter sandwich invented by Paula Deen. Seriously, how much more sadistic can you get? You might as well inject butter into my veins and call it a day.

Singular Samoa

Have you ever had a Samoa? Caramel, coconut, chocolate, and pure sex. There's no separation of flavors, there's no subtlety, there's just thick and overpowering sweetness with a hint of texture from the coconut. Mashing one up in your mouth is about the most gratifying experience you can have, but you know what's better? Going at it twenty times in a row. The problem? The serving size is two. Two freakin' cookies. What sort of Herculean asshat are you if you can stop after two?! This shit probably stands at the top of my list of great sins, but I can easily throw down 2+ boxes at once. I think that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 30+ grams of sweet sweet saturated fats in an hour. Like I said, Girl Scouts - biggest scumbag Steves in the world.

What's the point of this post? I want everyone to see the evil that is the Girl Scouts of America. Sure, it's a wonderful program for youth that focuses on building character, but at what cost? I know I'm powerless against their devilishly delicious campaigning, and you all are too... I just wanted to bring to light the real life horror story that are: Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Samoas, and a cadre of other death biscuits.

tl;dr - Girl Scouts are secretly assholes. Assholes who peddle death one $4 box of cookies at a time. Beware, they are everywhere.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

When dim sum feels wrong (Red Egg)

Soup dumplings (小籠包)

Note to self (and all): do not get the desiccated soup dumplings here

I think something that's come with me having a job, and by association not being a broke-as-shit graduate student, is that my perception of value has become skewed. When I first started writing 'My Inner Fatty,' I think there were few things that made it ever slightly more palatable than every other food blog on the internet. First - I was (and still am) a relatively huge idiot and this is kind of like one of those nature shows where you just know the gazelle is going to get fucked, but you keep watching thinking that maybe it'll outrun the lion... but it never does. Second - I was raised in an Asian household that valued holding onto money tighter than a sphincter during a Korean horror movie (hint hint... that's tight) so instead of being a mega douche-nozzle getting off sucking off the likes of Per Se and Daniel, I wrote about stupid shit like 5 for $1 dumplings. The last thing I had going for me was my stunning good looks, but only a select few of you know me well enough for that to be reason to read my blog. Kidding on that last one, sadly. Anyway, I feel like I should apologize. Back to the original point, I feel like my value per dollar is really messed up now that I have a job. I'm no longer championing sketchy ass sandwiches from drug-dealing delis, I'm taking fancy pants pictures of legit restaurants with grades like 'B,' sometimes even 'A.' Shit. That's messed up.

When I first started writing this post, I was going to talk about how pimp Red Egg's dim sum is - it takes a tried-and-true concept of classic Chinese afternoon dishes and combines that with booze, complete with a pseudo-fusion feel - but then I realized that, no... I don't like the model that they're trying to sell. They're trying too hard. I think most of it has to do with the fact that it feels out of place in Chinatown (with how modern the decor is...) and its location is kind of out of the way too, undoubtedly so the old school Asians don't flip a shit. Counter-intuitively, I give mad props to any restaurant that can stay afloat while dancing gently along the fine line that is hygiene, looking like absolute shit and mocking the DOH - Red Egg is basically the opposite of that. It feels as if they're selling me ambiance, not food. Regardless of how true that might be, first impressions are big, and that shiz don't gel with me. Plus I like the fact that those other places have old women that yell at me in Cantonese while pushing around little carts in those little apron numbers - that's kinda my thing. It makes it feel more homely and hectic (and erotic). You ain't gonna find that kind of sensual atmosphere at Red Egg. There will be no one yelling at you angrily to take their 'chicken feet' while eye-fucking you with the intensity of 1000 suns.

With all that said, it's pretty clear that I'm biased against this place. With that said, they do make pretty bitchin' cuisine. Since I'm something of a Chinese food connoisseur/moron - it's probably for the best for you to make up your own mind on whether or not you want to go.

Pork shumai (燒賣)

Oh hai! It's shumai. Admittedly, it is hard to fuck up shumai, but theirs were tight. Sometimes you find places with pushcarts that keep their steamers on top of low heat for so damn long that the shumai skins get mushy, the meat starts sweating, and weird flavors from other dishes leech onto the small delicate flower of pork. While mixing of dim sum flavors sounds like an absolutely heavenly premise, it actually sucks - and their shumai suck. Not Red Egg's. Theirs are springy like an rubber band (but without the chemical taste!), with each squishy bite carrying unadulterated pork porn (at this point, I guess I should have realized why my blog keeps getting flagged for adult content, but I never seem to learn).

Pork dumpling something or others

I actually have no clue what the fuck these things are. While they look like boring bricks of lightly browned rice cake, the glistening skin really hides a center of pork. I think a good rule of thumb in an Asian restaurant is - "if you have no clue what something is, the center is probably some combination of pork, shrimp, msg, and other shit you don't want to think about." Anyway, these discs of oil and meat are basically dumplings with uber thick rice flour skins flattened into a short and stout cylinder. The filling is as you would expect - that is to say, porcine - but the skin is actually pretty special. There's a certain snappiness to the texture, and a very deliberate sweetness that you don't get with the 'dead flour' you normally use for wonton or dumpling skins. Long story short, while these things look all pasty and white like Newt Gingrich, they taste all dark and sensual like a Barry White. That's not racist, you're racist if you think that's racist.

Roast pork buns (叉燒包)

I'm not going to justify why I got these. Shit, I got two orders of this. Why? Because every roast pork bun is a good roast pork bun (and because I finished one of them myself). Admittedly, some are better than others, but Red Egg does pretty well here. The bun is pillowy soft and the roast pork is crispy, yet moist. Add in a generous helping of maltose syrup and it's pretty much game over. Know all those stupid Snickers commercials where they say people get cranky when they don't have a Snickers? Well I feel like if you gave Kim-Jong Un a roast pork bun from Red Egg, he'd mellow the fuck out too.

Beef rice noodle wrap (牛肉腸粉)

Cheung fun is another one of those dishes that you can't really go wrong with. You steam rice noodles, you wrap some delicious-ass junk inside, and boom - you have a culinary masterpiece that delights on texture and also flavor. Sometimes I wonder if I actually like eating rice noodle wraps, or if I just use it as an excuse to drink the sweetened soy sauce mixture that they bring out to the table. Then I realize it doesn't really matter. That last bit was a good story, I'm sure.

Cilantro rice noodle wraps

These fuckers are so good they don't even need to be filled with meat. That's coming from me, so you know that's gotta be true. Some people don't like cilantro (I've been told it's because it shares the same active chemical as is used in modern soap production) - that's totally cool. If you don't, this shit probably isn't your jam, but if you enjoy munching on bars of Irish Spring as much as I do, you'll fucking love this dish.

Vegetable dumplings

My friend showed up with a vegan. I'm sorry, but if you're vegan - dim sum is basically a huge Jackie Chan "mind is full of fuck" kind of thing. Why would you even bother rolling out of bed to go to a place where everything is probably rolled in pork fat before being brought to the table? Seriously. If you're curious how these tasted - the honest to god answer I can give you is, I have no freakin' clue. I go to dim sum to eat pork, not steamed grass. Anyway, I think what you should probably take away from this post is - Red Egg makes good food, that is undeniable. I hate the premise on which Red Egg operates - that it's hip, caters to non-Asians, and tries way too hard to be modern... and has good hygienic practices. You should go if you want to drink with your dim sum. You will never find me there. The End.

tl;dr - Red Egg is a dim sum restaurant that serves booze and is clean. That feels wrong, weird, and counter-intuitively... dirty to me. Their food is pretty sick though. Also, don't invite vegans to dim sum. It really brings down the mood all around.

Red Egg
202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fish and chips (Chip Shop)

Fish 'n chips (from the Chip Shop)

If you know me personally, this post should confound and arouse you. Part of it is... I hate going to Brooklyn. Hate it, hate it, hate it. First of all, the streets aren't numbered for a non-geographically inclined ass-hat like myself. I like knowing where I am and how far I am from my destination at all times. Call me neurotic, but I just feel lost in hipsterville when I'm in Brooklyn... like I might be attacked by fixie riding baristas at any given time. That shit is terrifying - more so than clowns. Also it's across a river, and I have a weird paranoia about being in tunnels underwater in our subway system. Did you know that the bilge pumps that keep out subways dry were borrowed from the original construction for the Panama canal? Did you know that if they failed catastrophically, the entirety of the subway system would flood in 17 minutes? Fuck that noise! I can't even really swim. The other part of it is... I avoid seafood as much as I can. I used to be allergic to shellfish and I never fully came around to the taste (there are exceptions to that rule). So the fact that I was willing (and will soon go again) to Brooklyn to eat seafood should be testament enough to the fact that Chip Shop delivers some bangin' fish and chips right?

Fine. You don't have to believe me, but seriously... as someone who really hates most seafood, this is pretty much the bees knees. Obviously, I'm hard pressed to say that anything fried isn't already interesting to me and will subsequently raise my heart rate significantly, but there's something unique about the way they prep their fish (I went with cod, but I don't really think there's really a wrong choice here). What's truly special about their fish is the way the batter adheres to the surface of the fish. A radiant golden hue that shines brighter than Fabio's glorious hair, the batter fries up into a devilishly thin, crisp, and airy barrier to oh-so-tender whitefish. While it has a certain degree of separation, you don't get that shitty fried chicken problem where you take one bite and end up with all of the skin in your mouth and a completely nude piece of meat. Incredibly, it maintains a perfectly balanced ratio no matter how much you fuck it up with a fork. Flavorwise, it's definitely light - depending mostly on the salt and vinegar to bring out the fragrance of the fish, but there's an innate richness to the fact that it came from a vat of liquid fat. Naturally. As for the fries? Yeah, they're solid too. Not "pee your pants in excitement" good, but they can most certainly stand on their own.

Fried Twix

They have fried Twix! While I would never kick a naked Twix bar out of my bed at night, I have to take a moment to lament the decision to pass on the fried Twinkies. With the Hostess factories now a thing of the past, I'm not sure if they still serve glorious bars of fried sponge cake and artificial cream, and short of re-visiting the land that is Brookyln sometime soon, I'll have no way to verify (someone do this for me). This is more or less WYSIWYG - it's a fried candy bar. The outside is hot, crunchy, and filled with pores of hot oil while the center quickly loses its unique characteristics upon biting, blending into a glorious mix of caramel, buttery biscuit, and molten chocolate. Cover that shit with a thick dusting of confectioner's sugar and you'll leave looking like a crack addict who weirdly has managed to smother some poo on your face. There is no sugar-coating (har har) here. It is delicious, it will give you heart disease if eaten enough, and it is gloriously decadent.

tl;dr - I hate Brooklyn... sorry, I have an irrational fear of the unknown when it comes to new places. I also generally hate seafood. The Chip Shop makes me kind of forget that a little bit. The fried skin on their fish is something magical though - perfectly light, yet crunchy. The only thing that could make it better would be if Margaret Thatcher were my server.

The Chip Shop
129 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super sick egg tarts (Bread Talk)

Holy shit delicious egg tarts

Yeah see? They're the good guys. They are with us against inflation!

What exactly defines a 'good' egg tart? If you ask my idiot Korean former roommate, he'd tell you that "it should taste like eggs." Thanks a lot, dumbass. But indeed, what's the correct criteria for judging these gelatinous yellow blobs of arterial blockage? Is it a buttery and flaky crust that makes an insane number of minuscule crumbs on your shirt? Sure, that's probably part of it. Is it a a creamy center that has a pseudo-gelatinous yet custard-like texture exuding the scent of egg yolk? Yeah, that's pretty important. Or is it the cost? Because, let's be honest, you're probably getting jipped by some clever Chinese dude if you're spending more than 50 cents on a tiny puck of egg cream and crust that goes away in literally three seconds. Well that's definitely important too. The thing about egg tarts is... there are so many choices that all fit a subset of that criteria that as you're walking around, you'll almost always be content settling for one that's simply okay. Maybe the bakery closest to you is super cheap and has a dope-ass crust, but makes a custard all wrinkly like an old person's ass. Maybe they make the ambrosia of egg yolk custard, but they want you to whore out your family to pay for it. My point is, the holy grail of egg tarts is not so easy to find. Except... I've found it. The pinnacle of egg tart technology in Manhattan Chinatown. I'm talking about Bread Talk.

Let's run through those criteria again. Does it taste like eggs? Hell yeah motherfucker. Dumbass Korean ex-roommate requirement is fulfilled. Is the crust so buttery and tender that you'd be perfectly happy eating the tart by itself? Let's just say that there's no way you'll get through eating it without covering yourself in small golden flakes of rich and sweet dough. Shit. Just look at this sexy little tart. It's also weird how perfectly round it is, but let's not harp on the fact that it's achieved geometric perfection beyond what I can comprehend.

Egg tart from Bread Talk

It's like a temptress. You know it's bad for you. You know that you should be watching your diet, that your cholesterol has been slowly creeping up year after year, but... how much damage could one small handful of egg-custard sunshine do? Those shooting pains in your arm? They've never tasted sooo good. I'll admit, they probably inject something into the dough to make it dope so damn consistently. The percentage of butter (or possibly lard) is probably best not measured, but whatever they do - this crust is probably worth putting out for. It's that good.

Custardy insides

What about that custard huh? Does it jiggle like Betty White's sweet sweet assets? You bet your ass it does. In almost an unnerving fashion, their custard has reached a consistency almost that of a flan (but not quite). It carries with it a goldenrod hue that glistens like a miniature sun in your hand and tastes pretty much the same. There's a very distinct egg yolk flavor (some egg tarts just taste like a sugary jello baked in a tart shell) with just a hint of sweetness. Nothing in your face, just a series of very balanced tastes. There's almost never an inconsistency, it's almost always baked to perfection, and it doesn't do that lame-ass thing where the custard slides out of the tart and onto your favorite v-neck sweater from Uniqlo. Maybe that's just a 'me' problem... because I'm an idiot at eating egg tarts. Seriously, the owner very likely sold her soul (or her firstborn child) for this recipe, because it's some of the tightest shit this side of the Pacific.

The best part? It's two for $1. To put that in perspective, instead of getting a venti white chocolate latte from Starbucks, you could get like 10 of these shits. That's more than you can probably eat in one sitting. Not me though.

tl;dr - egg tarts in Manhattan are hit or miss. Bread Talk kills it. The crust is pretty much the greatest thing in baking since flour and the filling is like happiness and sunshine in egg yolk and cream form. It tastes like egg. My former roommate is an assclown.

Bread Talk
47 Catherine St, New York, NY 10002


Monday, January 21, 2013

A generically good burger (Lure Fishbar)

Lure burger

As I sat down to right this post, I had one of those "who the hell am I?" moments. I realized I haven't had a legit burger in weeks, and I haven't written about one since I had that oh-so-sensual encounter with In-N-Out months ago. As someone who used to live, sleep, and breathe burgers - this just feels weird. Anyway, I was watching the Oprah interview of Lance Armstrong today (because obviously Oprah's expertise of bike racing comes in as only a close second to her knowledge of mac and cheese), and something dawned on me - Lance ruined the sport of cycling just as gimmicky fusion burgers topped with everything from foie gras to chocolate has ruined the classic burger. Every burger we eat nowadays, you expect it to be doped to the gills with some ass-hat stupid combination of toppings. Everything not covered in a mountain of crap is instantaneously boring. Now I'm not saying there isn't a place for candied bacon on a burger (I'd be the last person to tell you otherwise), but in no way should that define how good a burger is. A good burger should be able to stand on its own: meat, bread, and optionally cheese... nothing else.

Like I said, people want to buy into these ass-clown gimmicks. I know I did. Just like people wanted to believe some dude could beat up on cancer and then come back with one testicle to waffle-stomp a bunch of other dudes in spandex (no matter how much you want to argue the aerodynamics of a full set of nuts vs. a single nut), adding random shit on top of burgers isn't normal. Sure it might not taste like absolute asshole, but that doesn't mean it's done the right way. The moment you mask the unadulterated flavor of beef with a cranberry-infused garlic aioli, you've missed the point. Lure Bar gets this. When every other brunch joint is pushing their mozzarella stick covered freak-burgers, all they're going to pimp is a plain cheeseburger... an absolutely spectacular specimen of a cheeseburger.

Lure burger

Oh hello there [/George Takei voice]. If you're uncomfortably excited, it's okay. On visuals alone, Lure Fishbar deserves some slow clapping. A proportionally balanced combination of a semi-sweet brioche and a 6 ounce block of Pat LaFrieda blend bound together with a slice of sharp cheddar glistening with meat "love juice" looks its weight in gold. This is a veritably beautiful burger. An Audrey Hepburn looking burger. This is the type you would take home to your mother because it's so fucking classy you don't even understand why you're smitten with someone you just met.

Pinkish insides

Now Lure Fishbar saw all that they had made, and indeed, it was very good! There's a certain art to executing a proper burger. Step one, buy the right bread. Check... their brioche was porous, soft yet crusty, and had a subtle hint of buttery sweet richness. Step two, pick the right meat. Check... pretty hard to go wrong with the Pat LaFrieda blend. Step three, don't fuck it up. Good job Fishbar, all three of these - you did. See that patty? See how the fringe isn't grey? Getting a medium-rare correct is probably harder than it seems - cook to 135 Fahrenheit and let it sit for 5 mins on carryover heat. Except 90% of places either leave me with a mush that's cold in the center or a blob reminiscent of grey matter. Fishbar killed it. Then they put cheese on it, which is always the correct thing to do (coming from someone who's lactose intolerant). If you've ever played Dynasty Warriors, this is like a 150+ hit combo success with a special move to finish off the stage boss: historically accurate, but with a modern interpretation.

Boring fries

Also, there's fries. They're good fries, but they're standard fries. Like McDonald's fries. Which is actually probably the highest praise I can give considering my love for McDonald's fries. There's nothing that'll make these stand out, no duck-fat rendered crunch, no ginger ketchup condiment pairing, just plain old fries. Nothing to detract to detract from the burger, this is likely the best thing they could've trotted out on the plate. Again, bang up work Fishbar.

Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm trying to convince you of here. When I started writing this post three days ago, I think I was annoyed at Lance Armstrong for being a massive ass-schnozzle in his interview. Then I forgot about it somewhat and had to tie it into a burger. Then I got angry at how burgers are now bastardized with everything short of ape shit. Then I got mildly aroused reliving the Lure burger. So I'll end things here in cliff-hanger fashion.

tl;dr - I have ADD and can't finish a single post with a cohesive theme. Lure Fishbar makes a really good plain cheeseburger, which is awesome, because everyone else seems to be focusing on making ass-clown burgers with 50 ingredients piled on top. Something about Lance Armstrong too.

Lure Fishbar
142 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Best things I've had in my mouth (2012 edition)

CA Googleplex

This photo is unrelated to anything. I wish there really were a giant sized ice cream sandwich though...

Since I took ass-clown forever to write this post, I'm about two weeks too late to jump on the 'Best of' hash tag bandwagon. So just consider this a preview of posts yet to come... since I'm as backed up on posts as a geriatric who's lost their Metamucil. Anyway, as most of you are probably aware of, I did a pretty shit-tastic job of blogging this year. I'll admit it... my blog was about as successful as Betty White is sexy i.e. occasionally, but totally by accident. I posted maybe once a month and I have a backlog of unedited photos longer than one of Conan the Barbarian's legendary ass-hairs. That's not to say I didn't eat a metric ass-load of food (that's a real measurement), and that's not to say I didn't have my share of "oh wow, this needs to be made known bites." I was just lazy. Sorry. Without further ado... here's a list of five things that I consumed in 2012 that either 1. made me "turn my tighty-whities into frownie brownies" or 2. made me smile from ear to ear.

For the record, these aren't in any sort of order. I just randomly think of these things when I'm on the toilet. Actually, I guess you could say they're in the order I thought about memorable meals while on the toilet. I don't think anyone wants to think of it that way though.

Soup dumpling

1. Soup Dumplings at Nan Xiang (南翔小籠包) - Shit son. I like pork buns and I cannot lie. You other brothas can't deny. When a bun comes in with pork broth taste and a thin skin in my face I get sprung. Maybe not everyone's not like me. Maybe pork meatballs surrounded by a soup-laden bubble of carbohydrates isn't your thing. I say this with all due respect, but go eat a bundle of dicks. That should be everyone's thing. There are few things more glorious than the engineering marvels that are soup dumplings - from the dangerously delicate wrapper to the extremely volatile soup and meat suspension - these things defy logic. They are impossible structures of culinary masterpiece as well as literal flavor bomb. Nowhere in NYC will you find a better version than the one at Nan Xiang. Just be thankful that almost every asshat you come across will tell you that Joe's Shanghai is the place to go... it ensures the wait time here is shorter. Also get the deep fried beef scallion pancakes. Ermahgerd worthy.

Cha-han fried rice

2. Chahan at Naruto Ramen - As an Asian person, it's not often that I'm excited by something as plain as fried rice. I feel like I'm probably setting back stereotypes decades by saying this, but fried rice is part of my culture, I feel like I understand its most intimate desires, how it wants to taste, how it wants to clog my arteries with every grain of oil coated rice, how it should... be. As something of a fried rice connoisseur (note: holy shit, I surprised myself by spelling that correctly on first go...) Naruto Ramen does some next level shit when they decided to add 'chahan' to their menu. There's nothing complex about what goes into that pile of glorious starch and oil, it's a simple fried rice with roast pork, narutomaki, and scallions and eggs to finish. What I couldn't have expected was the depth of flavor such a simple mix would have over high heat. Fried rice is hard to fuck up for sure, but it's also damn hard to get this good. I feel like a dumbass for writing about fried rice, but this is some seriously dangerous shiz. Worth the trip up to the UES alone, and worth eating on its own as a standalone meal. Their ramen is good, but there's simply no point. It's a waste of carbs.

Dat pork

3. Fried potstickers at Tasty Dumpling - Woops. I fucked up. I admit it. Last year I might've told you that Prosperity Dumpling was the undisputed king of the dollar dumpling stores in Chinatown. I stand by the statement that at five for $1, that deal is something spectacular, but something happened this year. Something changed about them. For the first time in my life, I will go against the prudent economic choice and tell you that the best dumplings (according to this idiot at least) are five for $1.25. Yes. Even at a 25% premium on price, I'm telling you that Tasty Dumpling's dumplings are indeed the tits when it comes to pockets of meat. I'll eventually explain the full logic behind this statement in a post down the road, but for now - I feel like the fact that I'm willing to pay that much more per dumpling should be proof enough of Tasty's quality.

Minca sio ramen

4. Sio Ramen from Minca - If you ask most people where the best Ramen in NYC is, you'll get a smattering of answers. Surely you'll hear Ippudo come up again and again, but honestly... waiting an hour plus for a bowl of noodles is pretty ridiculous in my opinion. Some will undoubtedly say Totto, Terakawa, or maybe Setagaya. I've been to all of them and as far as I'm concerned... none of their offerings can hold a candle to the sio ramen at Minca. Rich garlicy broth is mixed with springy noodles that stretch longer than a broken Stretch Armstrong doll. The crowning piece to this Pandora's box of flavor is the fact that they flame torch your bowl at the very end, bringing a slight and gentle charring to the char siu they lay delicately on top. The layer of rendered pork fat on top glistens in the soup acting as a mirror so you can see your own 'O-face' when you've taken your first bite.

Double-sized cake cut

5. (RIP) Cake cuts at Hong Cafe - Yeah, I'm cheating here. This shit doesn't exist anymore, but that doesn't diminish how wonderful it once was (during 2012). What was once the glorious Hon Cafe - not just a restaurant, but an institution of brilliance and efficiency and the best source of cake cuts in the city - is now a lame-ass over-priced joint called Mottzar Kitchen. What the fuck is a 'Mottzar' anyway? Once upon a time, Hon Cafe used to take its cosmetically challenged cake nubbins and would bag them up in an orphanage of sorts. They'd slap a $2 price tag on each bag, each special... full of unique defects, and sell them in the front window. Most people walked by, disgusted by the non-homogeneity of these bags of freak cakes. Not I. I saw their inner beauty. I knew that those non-symmetric rings of cream, sugar, and flour were just as good as their supermodel cousins, but at a fraction of the cost. I would make it a point to save these 'B+' cakes, discarded in a harsh Asian 'tiger-mom' world and save them - eating an entire bag with each sitting. Alas, they are no more. If someone has any leads on cake cuts... I will pay you a king's ransom for that knowledge.

So what's going to happen in 2013? I'll start blogging again. As much as I hate to admit it, I like to write, and I like getting in random internet arguments with strangers. Yes, to some degree I'm an attention whore. Aside from that? Maybe I'll use my recently discovered non-allergy to seafood and take it for a test drive. Maybe 2013 is the year of shrimp. Lots of shrimp. Less pork. Ha, unlikely. Realistically this year will be more of the same. More artery clogging, more catching up on posts, not enough money.

tl;dr - here's a bunch of things that I was uncomfortably excited to have in my mouth in 2012. Number 5 makes me sad. If someone can help me find cake cuts in Chinatown, you will be my new best friend. Or if you don't want to be my best friend... go eat a dick. Seriously though, tell me.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Non-Asians and dim sum (Nom Wah Tea Parlor)

Nom Wah storefront

There's that saying, that you should never judge a book by it's cover. Like Twilight... which has a stupid-ass cover, but holds the depths of literary achievement like the world has never seen or experienced before. Kidding... or am I? Anyway, I generally feel like if an Asian restaurant is being frequented by a plurality of non-Asian folk, I should probably mosey the fuck on outta there. Not that I don't like a good serving of General Tso's chicken - I just don't want that when I'm seeking on legit homestyle shiz. Now, I realize this isn't really a fair generalization (when are generalizations ever fair anyway?), as there are a handfull of non-Asian food bloggers who clearly know their shit when it comes to cuisine from the Far East, but this as a general rule is pretty good to follow. Sometimes... there are exceptions. Nom Wah is truly a case where the number of white people isn't indicative of how authentic the food actually is.

Just a few years ago, Nom Wah was a true hole-in-the-wall type dim sum joint where the old guy in the back cared more about playing mahjong than service. By no means am I suggesting this is an awesome customer service model, but goddamn it was some OG cuisine. I knew whatever that bro pimped from his kitchen would be delicious and of questionable preparation methods. That's the kind of place I'm all about. Turns out... not everyone likes that style of management. The original establishment basically ran itself into the ground. In order to stay afloat, some random young guy stepped in and breathed new life into Nom Wah i.e. it "sold out" and transformed into a hip English-friendly establishment. I should be outraged... I mean, this place traded Asian street cred on account of greed! Yet I'm not. Why?

Because some of their food is actually pretty dope.

Beef meatballs

At first glance these might appear to be normal beef meatballs, but if you thought that... then you've been Chuck Testa'd. These are some next-level shit meatballs with a tofu skin wrapping. I've never understood why, but dim sum meatballs all have a certain citrusy flavor infused. Anyway, their version were decent - and I did enjoy how elastic and chewy these were - but we didn't order them. Not sure if someone fucked up, but we didn't get our order of beef cheung-fun. I would be pretty pissed if these weren't ape-shit delicious.

Scallion pancakes

And some of these! I don't think anything I say about scallion pancakes is actually worth a fart (I guess you could argue that about anything I've written on my blog), but theirs weren't fantastic. It's not that they tasted bad or anything - they were hot, crispy, and as my ass-clown Korean friend in LA would say "it tastes like scallions" - they were just really generic. Almost like the ones you get from frozen packaging. To be fair, I ate most of them, probably with a shit-eating grin on my face the entire time, but I wasn't wowed. Let's put it this way... I could've stood up while wearing sweatpants because there'd be no boner to hide.

Deep-fried egg rolls

Their egg rolls are supposedly their signature dish... and I'd be lying if I said they didn't taste good. The problem here is honestly that I have no fucking clue what's inside of them. If you're expecting the "traditional" egg roll from an Americanized take-out joint - roast pork, lots of cabbage, lots of bean sprouts, and carrots - your mouth is going to hate you. I think there was hints of tofu, more than a couple slivers of mushroom, and possibly even egg (cray, I know), but I might be making that all up. The mish-mash of flavors simply works even if it is unmemorable as a whole. If you like knowing what you're putting in your mouth, then you should probably steer clear. If you're a tastebud slut who'd swallow anything without question - it's actually worth a try. Uh, for people who don't fall into either of those categories... you're on your own.


As an aside, do you know why I hate writing about dim sum? Never mind the fact that "all dim sum is good dim sum" to me. Look at the turnip cake above. Looks delicious right? Fuck yeah it does. All crispy and Maillard reaction'd up. The problem is, it's the same as every other dim sum place. It's a block of gelatinous turnip that's pan fried. No one can screw that up. No one. Not even me. I've made that shit before and it was premium. You wouldn't it was from Nom Wah if it weren't for that tacky-ass table spread. Whatever, end rant. Their turnip cake was good.

Deep-fried rib tips

Not sure why we bought a giant plate of fried meat, but you really don't need a good reason to ever do that. Nom Wah's deep-fried rib tips are confusing to me. Most spare-rib tips are drenched in a sauce comprised of soy, honey, and maltose syrup - so their unadulterated offering just feels... wrong? But it's not. It's eerily reminiscent of salt & pepper chicken (if you're Taiwanese, you know what I mean, otherwise - think of popcorn chicken that's seasoned with pepper beyond belief), and offers up a reasonably flavorful bite of fat and crispy pork. None of that sounds bad. Unless you're vegetarian, you should at least try it.

Sticky rice

Oh look, it's sticky rice with strips of egg. I don't like ordering this shit at dim sum. You know why? Two reasons... I always feel like my OG grandmother could make a better version at home and in larger quantity, and also because I feel like it's a waste of carb real estate that can be saved for better things. Better things like...

Giant roast pork buns

Giant buns of roast pork. If I were in charge of the cafeteria at my office, every meal would begin, and end, with a roast pork bun. While I can safely say nothing else at Nom Wah truly makes me 'moist,' they fuckin' kill it on this one. Considering how many places you can get this shit, that's high praise. Their offering is a huge bitch - with a bun the size of a small plate and stuffed to the gills with deliciously fatty cancer pork. Also, it's pretty cheap... so my two real scoring criteria are both fulfilled.

I feel like I've come full circle with this post. I can't find it now... but I vaguely writing a post in which I basically said that an Asian restaurant full of white people was the ultimate red flag in bootleg. That it basically meant I should run far and fast away from the land of lo mein and egg rolls. With Nom Wah - while it's certainly not the pinnacle of... well, anything - I've realized that isn't 100% canon. There are lots of non-Asians inside, and their food is actually pretty decent. Where am I going with this? I'm not sure. I should probably stop being prejudiced now.

tl;dr - Nom Wah sold out big time, now caters to tourists and non-Asians. Someone made me go, and I've seen the light. Their food is not bad. Their roast pork bun is arguably great. I'd go back, but probably not make it a destination.

Nom Wah
13 Doyers Street, New York, NY 10013