The magnificent “big tray chicken” — same as it ever was.

It was in early June that a group of friends and I staged a wake for He Nan Flavor, a modest noodle-centric restaurant on the Lower East side that provided Manhattan’s only glimpse of food from Henan – a landlocked region wedged between Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Shandong to the northwest of Shanghai, placing it on northern China’s south side.

The New York Times

MARK BITTMAN

 

At Spicy Village in in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the Spicy Big Tray Chicken arrives on an aluminum tray. You eat it on a foam plate with a plastic fork or chopsticks. It’s a mound of chicken nearly afloat in a bath of dark, spicy sauce that contains star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, chile, garlic, cilantro, a few mystery ingredients and potatoes. Those of you who live in or visit New York should eat this dish whenever you can, but it can absolutely be prepared at home. It’s not precisely a simple recipe. But it’s an excellent project one. And you can improve on the ingredients. At Spicy Village, both MSG and Budweiser are ingredients. We managed to make do without the MSG and used Negra Modelo beer.

 

On the advice of two friends, I wandered one day into Spicy Village, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, a restaurant that politeness prevents me from describing as anything other than “modest.” I stopped by a couple of years ago to have the not-at-all-bad $2 pork sandwich, a pile of sloppy-Joe-ish pork served on light, crisp bread baked by the proprietors — Wendy Lian and her husband, Ren Fu Li — but I rarely thought of it again.

Part of Spicy Village's appeal—besides its excellent noodles and super-low prices—is its setting: servers are warm and friendly, and within such a small space that gets packed so quickly, that helps create a fun, convivial atmosphere. It's a welcoming place to spend a cold winter night.

Henan braised noodles or Huimian are a traditiodnal henan styleof hand - pulled noodles dating back more than 800 years. The noodle made via a ball of wet wheat powder containing salt and oil. It is then pulled it into 2cm wide slices by hand.

 

It is said that the first eemperor of the Tang Dynasty. when he was still just a poor soldier he became sick. It was a snowy and windy day and he had nothing to eat. He had no choice but to walk into a cottage and beg for some food. The hostess was very ekind hearted and prepared something immeditately. howver, her family was also very poor, so she made some wide noodles and boiled them in pure water. She put the boiled noodles out into a bowl and added some bone soup. Li Shimin liked the noodles very much. When he had finished, he was full of energy and didn’t feel cold anymore. After he became the emperor of the Tang dynasty, he ordered his cooks to record the way those noodles had been made so the recipe could be passed to future generations.

河南燴面館 68 Forsyth St B, New York, NY 10002 電話:212-625-8299