Duck noodle soup and chicken veggie dumplings at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles

Busy little noodle joint – Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles in Chinatown

Doyer’s Street is kind of a weird looking spot, but it has the best noodle shop I’ve been to in New York City: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles. The location subtitle on Google Maps, “Busy little noodle joint”, sums the place up pretty well. It’s a hole in the wall establishment. You could easily walk by and not even notice it was there. It’s cramped inside. In the summer, it’s hot. And, it’s always busy. Seating is very limited and you have to shift around to let people move past you. It’s totally worth it, though.

The first time I went to Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, I wandered in by accident while on a break from jury duty. Each time, I somehow wound up at the tiny table squeezed into the corner by the front door. I haven’t come close to working my way through the menu. I usually stick with the noodle soup dishes and I’m really partial to the duck noodle soup, but I find it hard to believe I would be really disappointed by something they prepared. The food just has a good, authentic, quality taste to it without being unreasonably expensive. Most of the soups are about $9 – $10 a bowl, but the portions are large.

Chinatown, New York City

The only thing that’s a little annoying about the place is that it’s a cash-only establishment. Luckily, there’s a Chase bank across the street with ATMs so it’s not too big a deal. I’ve noticed that a lot of Asian restaurants are switching to cash-only lately. I wonder why? I try to not carry cash. Lately, I’ve even cut down on the cards I carry. My Galaxy S7 has Samsung Pay and it works really well. It also has a rewards program.

If you want dessert, you can stop by Taiyaki NYC over on Baxter Street on your way to the train station on Canal Street. It’s a Japanese ice cream place that is pretty popular. The original, vanilla soft-serve in a fish pastry with warm custard, chocolate syrup, strawberries and a wafer cookie is pretty awesome.

Naruto Ramen Soup

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If you look at the red underlined portion under the menu item ‘Batchoy’ you’ll see that the ramen includes ‘naruto’.  I don’t watch Naruto but I was really amused when I saw this.  I was wondering if it was a typo or if there actually is something called ‘naruto’.  Well, turns out that naruto is a type of kamaboko, which has the following definition on Wikipedia:

Kamaboko|蒲鉾 is a type of cured surimi, a Japanese processed seafood product, in which various white fish are pureed, combined with additives such as MSG, formed into distinctive loaves, and then steamed until fully cooked and firm.

It looks like this:

Kamaboko

Public Domain picture via Wikipedia. Originally uploaded by Kinori.

Looks like I’ve eaten naruto quite a few times without even realizing it!

One other thing I thought worth mentioning is that there’s also a town called Naruto on the eastern end of the island of Shikoku in Japan.

Ajisen Ramen @ Tampines Mall

Yesterday afternoon was a little cool out, surprisingly considering Singapore’s typical weather this time of year, so my wife and I were both in the mood for something soupy.  Typically, that means a trip to Manpuku for their Aoba Hokkaido Ramen, but our last visit was a little less than appealing, so we decided to try something new.  There’s a restaurant on the top floor of Tampines Mall called Ajisen that serves ramen.  We’d been by there quite a few times because we typically go to the outlet of Pastamania! that’s right next to it, or passed by it to go to the movies when we lived in Tampines. We’d glanced over the menu a few times but never given it a try, so we figured it was the perfect opportunity to give a new (to us) restaurant a chance.

My wife ordered the cha shu ramen, to compare it with what we normally get at Manpuku.  I decided to be a little adventurous and went with the scallop ramen.  The ramen came as a set, so for our set items we ordered the cuttlefish and California maki.  We also ordered a side of dumplings, again for comparison with what we usually got at Manpuku.

The meal as a whole wasn’t that bad at all.  The taste was good and it was well worth what we paid for it, which totalled 37 SGD for the two of us.  We got quite a bit of food for that amount.  It wasn’t a meal that wowed us, and I doubt I’ll be pressuring my wife to go back anytime soon, but it’s a decent meal and a suitable lunch destination.

What really appealed to me about the place was the pleasant appearance of the restaurant and the good service the staff provided.  When we initially entered the restaurant we were immediately greeted and seated.  When we asked to be moved to a booth, which was more comfortable than where we were initially placed, the staff was more than happy to oblige us.  Our servers were very polite, casual and friendly and they always had a smile on their faces.  It was a very pleasant experience.

Later, when we got home, I checked HungryGoWhere, a review site for Singapore’s restaurants, and saw that quite a few people had complained about bad service on the part of the staff.  I didn’t see it, at all.  Perhaps the manager had been reading the reviews there and gave the staff some training, because they did a great job for us.  That, more than anything else, would encourage me to want to go back.  Nothing makes a meal more enjoyable than proper service from the staff.

So, if you’re in Tampines Mall and you’re looking for a nice ramen meal, Ajisen is a decent place to go.