The other day I realized something that has lain dormant in my noodle unconscious for years now, but which did not become clear to me until I thought about it in term of problems and solutions. Problem: It has always bothered me that hand-pulled noodles in soup grow limp very quickly, a problem I even wrote about two years ago during our hand-pulled noodles taste test. Solution: Don't eat hand-pulled noodles in soup.
Hand-pulled noodles are dramatic to watch being made. Starting with one cylindrical rope of dough, a noodle maker pulls and tug on that rope and folds it over his fingers, weaving his hands back and forth as if playing an accordion, each time stretching out the dough so that before long all ten of his fingers hold up progressively thinner strands of one singular, unbroken string of dough. The chewy texture and slightly irregular shape of a hand-pulled noodles keeps each strand interesting and fun to eat. So we checked out five hand-pulled noodle joints in Manhattan's Chinatown, looking for the best the neighborhood had to offer.
From China to Japan, Korea to Tibet, you can cross most of Asia by hopping from one noodle restaurant in New York to another. But with Japanese ramen, Chinese chow fun, Tibetan boe thuk, and Uyghur lagman all at your disposal, where do you start looking for the best? Here are 23 of our favorite noodles to get you started.