Saturday, March 26, 2011

One Week, Two Chinatowns - Part I

This week, Beetchie made an NYC appearance for Spring Break.  Although it was not completely planned, we ended hitting up Chinatown in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

It's been some time since H1 and I have been to Chinatown in Manhattan (well, H1 went in January without me).  Though it has been pretty cold and the streets were fairly empty, there was something just off with Canal Street on Monday evening when we went.

It was... clean.  There were new buildings, and worst of all, it was not shady at all.  It was rather jarring, and completely odd.  A clean Chinatown just sort of seems wrong.  It shocked me in Yokohama, and it certainly scared me when H1 and I stepped off the N train line.

Maybe it was the light of the evening?
Or maybe it was the Häagen-Dazs so nicely lit?

Well, it was not a complete loss.  Beetchie did stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk to get her watch fixed by this cool guy who had set up shop right there with all manners of watch bands, and secret tools and compartments housing batteries and stuff.

Oh yeah, and someone did cut in front of her.  It sure was rude but clearly it was Beetchie's fault for not having her watch ready even if she was there first.  If it's not off your wrist and shoved in the man's face, he nor his other customers have the time to wait for you to fumble while taking it off!


After the quick $5.00 battery replacement, H1, Beetchie, Sufi and I made our way to Joe's Shanghai, and were greeted by a packed restaurant at 6.30 p.m. or so.  We had to share a table and were stuck in the corner, way at the back.  That's not a testament to anything other than the fact that that table was the last empty one in the house.  It was not long after that a family took up the remaining spots at the table, and after that, there was a constant influx of people.  Many of them had to wait at the door for seating.

There's the number for you, in case you need to call them up.  The area code, you ask? Psh, find it out for yourself! Okay, okay.  It's probably (212), but I make no promises.
Who though, would not want to wait for Shanghai soup dumplings?

Not wanting to flash anyone with the camera, in an already packed restaurant, I took some pretty bad pictures.  And you know my solution when pictures come out way too dark to make sense of anything, right? That just gives me an excuse to go back and eat there to try again to get decent pictures.

A lone dumpling on a spoon.  It's a calming moment, for sure.  It does not look like much but in the back there, is your vital supply - pepper sauce.
Add some scallion pancake and you're awesome.  Although not a fan of scallions, these pancakes were not so offending to me.  They were crispy and good.

There are in fact, other things to eat at Joe's Shanghai.  Actually, the menu is quite extensive and it all looks rather yummy but there's only so much the four of us could eat.  We left most of it up to Beetchie, and she went with her favourite - noodles with bean curd with awesome sauce.  Bwahaha.  I vowed never to use that phrase but it just sort of worked here, alright?

There are little bits of tofu in there.  The noodles were soft and while not a texture H1 enjoys, the taste was something we could all agree on - yummy.
By the time I got to taking a picture of Sufi's shanghai noodles with mushrooms and Chinese veggies, it was too late.  The noodles had a great, firm texture and this was spicy.  Sufi asked for extra spicy.  It was fabulous.

Not quite content, we ordered just one more thing.  Fried prawns, with the heads and tails left on is the best way to eat some prawns.  However, I was slightly disappointed that the prawns were not as crunchy as I thought they were going to be, and did not arrive at our table hot and just out of the fryer but we were still fairly happy.. 

I know it doesn't look like much, but the heads are truly the best part.
Hello, little tail.
Who looks like a prawn now?
Even though that was the end of our meal, I neglected to show you one other thing we got.  When we first sat down, Beetchie looked at me and said, "they have your bread here...".

"My wha'?", I inquired.

"You know, the one with the condensed milk."

There was no need to speak any further, other than to order those things right then and there.

And they were so good.
I waited some time during the meal to eat them, although I should have had them fresh, but it did not matter much.  They were brilliant.  The crunch on those things were a bit of an 'oh my glob, what the stuff...' kind of moment.  In a good way, though.  In a very good way.

We then headed over to the Chinatown Ice-Cream Factory.  With no questions asked, I had to get the egg custard flavour being offered that day while Beetchie went with Almond Cookie flavour.


My choice of ice-cream was pretty good except it did not really taste like egg custard.  Ah well.

It was a good evening and just the first of two outings The HOchieS had with her this week.  The second meeting almost did not happen and still was not as we had hoped, but more on that to come.

Currently listening to: "Stuck on the Puzzle" by Alex Turner, from the Submarine Original Soundtrack.

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