Hot-Weather Comfort Food

Wheat noodles blur at the edges. At their core, they taste of cooked flour, or flour and egg, but toward the surface, they take on the flavor of their sauce. Think of pappardelle allied with a meaty ragù, or spools of ramen entwined with pork broth, throwing off starch, drinking in soup. Their boundaries dissolve.

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Simon Xi
At Little Tong, Noodles And Other Yunnan Specialties Rule

It’s not exactly shocking that death, life’s great inconvenience, seldom appears in restaurant reviews. But food traditions tied to mourning span generations, and the globe; after all, eating and dying are about as universal as human experiences get. New Orleanians console themselves with jambalaya, the American Midwest has its casseroles, and the Amish make something called funeral pie. In China’s southwestern Yunnan province, a diverse area bordering Southeast Asia and Tibet, ghost chicken is one such dish. The bracing chilled poultry salad is classically made from birds ceremonially cooked by the Dai people in honor of their deceased. As with all recipes too tasty for their own good, it’s become a popular staple independent of the ritual, which is why you can now find it at one of the city’s hottest new slurp joints.

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Simon Xi
Send Noodz: Ice-Cold Shrimp Noodles Make Summer Tolerable

Simone Tong makes a phenomenal bowl of noodles. The Chinese-born chef has spent the last decade cooking her way through some of NYC's most inventive restaurants (most recently at wd~50 and Alder), and she recently struck out on her own as chef and part-owner of Little Tong Noodle Shop in New York's East Village. Little Tong is the restaurant she's always wanted: a narrow, panda-bedecked storefront serving killer mixian—skinny, slippery Yunnan-style rice noodles—in a constantly-rotating assortment of broths and bowls.

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Simon Xi
★★ Flavors Cross Borders at Little Tong Noodle Shop

Wheat noodles blur at the edges. At their core, they taste of cooked flour, or flour and egg, but toward the surface, they take on the flavor of their sauce. Think of pappardelle allied with a meaty ragù, or spools of ramen entwined with pork broth, throwing off starch, drinking in soup. Their boundaries dissolve.

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Simon Xi
The Best Restaurants in New York City's East Village

The first neighborhood restaurant to serve Chinese mixian noodles, that is, long rice noodles, also happens to be one of the best in the East Village. Chef Simone Tong, who worked under WD~50 genius Wylie Dufresne, cooks up agnoloti-style pork wontons that pop in your mouth, a chilled cucumber salad swimming in nutty bang bang sauce and an egg white soup dotted with salmon roe all to warm you up for the main event: Noodles. Served spicy with dan dan pork, swimming in slurpable chicken broth and cold with seafood curry, it’s hard to go wrong with any of Tong’s noodle creations.

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Simon Xi
Little Tong Noodle Shop - Review

New York Knows its noodles, from the thinnest ramen to the thickest udon and every soba, somen and cellophane strand in between. But mixian—the Yunnan-born rice noodle that goes down like the love child of Chinese vermicelli and Italian spaghetti—has proven more elusive than its starchy brethren, found predominantly in outer-borough holes-in-the-wall like Yun Nan Flavour Garden in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Wd~50 alum Simone Tong zooms in on the Yunnanese specialty in the city’s densest thicket of noodle houses at Little Tong, her blond-wood, 28-seat East Village canteen with restaurateur Simon Xi (SakaMai, Bar Moga). 

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Simon Xi