Veteran Chinatown watcher Lau has seen the signs, and they aren't encouraging. Beset by rising rents, aggressive development, and a dwindling population of old-timers, Manhattan's historic Chinatown "seems to be starting to die," he laments on Chowhound—and one telling symptom is a gradual decline in its restaurants. Yet the old neighborhood's still far from flatlining. One sign of life is the strong Hong Kong–style cooking at Noodle Village.
At this favorite Chowhound destination for lunch, noodle soups distinguished by light, flavorful broths are a highlight. One Hong Kong classic pairs tender stewed brisket with beef tendon. Pan-fried pork-and-chive dumplings are among the best in Manhattan: plump and perfectly crisp, with a tasty filling. Any dish featuring fish balls is worth checking out: Unlike most of its competitors, this place makes its own. Enjoy them skewered, fried, and doused with a kicking sauce of chile oil, garlic, scallions, and shrimp paste. And for Lau's money, the claypot rice, or bo zai fan, is the only decent version left in New York; try the one topped with pork and salted fish.
Lau's been a fan of Noodle Village for several years, and it's only grown on him. "I’d actually say it’s one of the best restaurants in Chinatown," he writes. Or as diprey11 puts it: "simple, unpretentious, and as authentic as you can get in NYC."
Noodle Village [Chinatown]
13 Mott Street (between Worth and Mosco streets), Manhattan
Photo of pan-fried dumplings from LauHound