Now that I have so much spare time, I figured I would try to revive my sad food blog. I guess my problem with food blogging is the writing part. I end up being way too detailed, and does anyone even really care? This time around, I’m going to try to be more concise with my reviews.
That being said, I recently have been reading and hearing a lot about a hand-pulled noodle place similar to Xi’an Famous Foods, called Spicy Village. The famous Danny Bowien (also, I keep seeing him in NYC) is a huge fan of the food and supposedly copied some of their dishes at his popular Mission Chinese Food. To be honest, I have only been to Mission Chinese Food NY once and I had to wait two plus hours in the rain during the week, so by the time my friends and I sat down, I was not a happy camper. The best dish I recall us ordering was the Chong Qing Chicken Wings.
Anyhow, on one fateful night, I convinced my friend, MS, to go to Spicy Village with me after our first Cirque Du Soleil. We braved the light rain and made it to the restaurant by 10pm. We ordered a few dishes, but our favorites were:
Spicy Beef Brisket Hui Mei (dry noodle)
Pancake With Pork
The pork pancake was very crunchy and not overly bready. I find the “burgers” and Xi’an to be more bready. Also, I really like the spices used in the Spicy Village pancake. I don’t know how else to describe it! At a more recent trip to Spicy Village, DZ ordered the pork pancake WITH a fried egg. It looked amazing and I bet it elevated the pancake even more! We also ordered stir-fried baby bok choy because it’s only $5.95 for a huge portion of vegetables. Our parents would be so proud that we happily order vegetables when we go out! Since it was only us two and we had eaten a “snack” at the circus, we saved the famous Spicy Big Tray Chicken for another meal as we were completely satisfied with all our dishes that night. The noodles as you all can see are very wide and remind me very much of the noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods. MS noted that unlike Xi’an Foods, the spices and flavors were better. Basically almost all the dishes at Xi’an Foods taste like they were made together in the same pot. This isn’t bad, but it’s a good observation!
Within a week, I convinced another friend to accompany me to Spicy Village to try the Spicy Big Tray Chicken. Since my friend, DZ was known to have a large appetite, he was the perfect friend to bring along. I also promised bubble tea from nearby Teado. Is it fate that my favorite tea shop in Chinatown and new favorite noodle place are only 2 minutes away? What a match made in heaven! After getting our tea drinks, we arrived at Spicy Village. The owner was there again and she was very nice. We ordered the Spicy Big Tray Chicken and it was everything I imagined it to be! It’s cut up chicken (with bones!!) with potatoes and peppers in this big pot. Then as per all the reviews I read, I requested noodles to be added to our dish for $1 or $2. It was delicious! At this point, we noticed that the other happy customers sitting around us were drinking beer and wine. I asked the owner if there was a corkage fee and she said nope! So, feel free to bring your own alcohol!
Spicy Big Tray Chicken With Noodles
MS, DZ and I have returned to Spicy Village many many times since then. MS and I have perfected our order: two pork pancakes, baby bok choy and cold cucumbers. If we’re really hungry, we’ll add a noodle dish. Recently, I returned to the restaurant for take out (just pork pancake) and before I could even get the words out, the owner said “Pork pancake right?” I guess I should be happy that the owner knows my order now? I went back yesterday and she still knew my order. I guess being Foursquare mayor of Spicy Village does matter! :)
Besides the really good food and service, the prices are excellent. The restaurant is owned by a really cute family consisting of a wife, husband and at least a young daughter. The wife speaks pretty decent English and is very polite. If the restaurant ends up being full and it’s not too dark outside, order your food to go and eat at the Hester Playground at the tables. You won’t regret it!
68 Forsyth Street (between Grand St and Hester St)
New York, NY 10002