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August 10, 2005

Szechuan Gourmet

Szechuan Gourmet
21 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018

Outstanding spicy Szechuan cold noodles. These are the real deal: wheat-based noodles*, vinegar, red chili oil, sugar, bean sprouts and enough Szechuan pepper to be mildly psychoactive. Mediocre hot and sour soup.

I'd go back.

*In New York this dish always seems to be made with bright yellow wheat-based noodles. I prefer white noodles for this dish, but I don't know of a restaurant that uses un-dyed variety for its cold Szechuan cold noodles.


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Hmm, I must admit that I generally prefer hot noodles, but that sounds promising...

Hot n sour soup and pot stickers, my measuring sticks for a Chinese restaurant. I go there for the soup, but I will return for the entrees

You go to Chinese restaurants in New York that are not in Chinatown?

There is a nice cold dish you can make with the white vermicelli (I think buckwheat) noodles. After rinsing boiled noodles with cold water, add kimchee and kimchee juice, sliced ham and cucumber, little bit of seseame oil and Japanese fish soup base, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Great for hot weather.
You of course eat soba noodles?

You of course eat soba noodles?

I love them.

I hear that sezchuan peppercorn have been banned for a while and that cooks are slowly using up stockpiled stashes. Or perhaps that's just a cover story for contraband peppers. The tingle is irreplacable.

WRT Mike's post about chinatown... as a kid who grew up half chinese, and who's comfort food is chinese, I'm going to quote an older chinese cynic: "Chinatown is a ghetto". Go to queens for real chinese food, or to the chinese resturants like szechuan gourmet and wu liang ye that are good enough to stand on their own in the rest of manhattan and shine.

WRT Lindsay's post about peppercorn, there's now an import protocol that heat-treats the peppercorns so that the citrus cancer can't come in on them, so they're legal. You can get them all over chinatown. Heck, you can get them in the spice jars at Porto Rico Coffee if you take a close look. So don't worry about that.


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