Meet your new noo­dle ob­ses­sion

Make room in your ra­men sched­ule for mix­ian bowls.

Metro USA (New York) - - Entertainment - EVA KIS @thi­siskis

Chef Si­mone Tong’s life has spanned three con­ti­nents, and on each she’s loved to do one thing above all: eat, specif­i­cally noo­dles. And in all her sam­pling, from her home in Sichuan Prov­ince, China, to grow­ing up in Hong Kong and Aus­tralia, then com­ing to the U.S. for school, noth­ing com­pares to the del­i­cacy that is the Yunnan rice noo­dle, (pro­nounced me-shien).

“My ob­ses­sion with rice noo­dles is pretty scary,” she says.

That ob­ses­sion has taken shape as Lit­tle Tong Noo­dle Shop, now open in the East Vil­lage in the corner space that used to

Lit­tle Tong Noo­dle Shop

177 First Ave. at 11th St. Tues­day-Sun­day, 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Tip­ping in­cluded lit­tle­ be Sch­nitz. The broths of her five ra­men-style

bowls ($14-$17) use var­i­ous broths to com­ple­ment their in­gre­di­ents, like pork with minced pork belly and veg­etable broth with five-spice tofu, as well as nib­bles like ghost chicken and pork chao shou won­tons.

Tong, who spent four years at WD~50 “learn­ing the science of food,” chose to fo­cus on the fla­vors of Yunnan Prov­ince in south­west­ern China, whose in­cred­i­ble nat­u­ral bounty has cre­ated a food cul­ture she de­scribes as “very Nordic.” She spent four months trav­el­ing the re­gion as well as in­tern­ing at the dizzy­ing food palace that is Bei­jing’s Col­or­ful Yunnan restau­rant, where she re­fined her ideas — and got the name Lit­tle Tong from her chef.

Un­like the wheat noo­dles used in ra­men,

is made with fer­mented rice and is less heavy, though the tex­ture is def­i­nitely more chewy. Tong cre­ates her broths in a dou­ble-cook­ing process that re­sults in a less fatty soup, but that’s not the only source of fla­vor in her dishes.

“In Yunnan, they like to eat a lot of pick­led, sour-spicy food, so my

will have a lot of condiments: chili oil, green-pep­per­corn oil, fer­mented chili, pick­les,” which are made in­house, she says. “It’s not as heavy as ra­men, but it def­i­nitely has its whole­some depth and de­li­cious­ness.”

While Tong is def­i­nitely go­ing for the bold fla­vors of her Sichuan roots, it’s not about blow­ing out your palate with heat. should “take you to a happy place,” which she achieves by lay­er­ing fla­vors. “Some­times, sub­tlety is beau­ti­ful as well.”


Lit­tle Pot Mix­ian


Chef Si­mone Tong spent four months in China to cap­ture the fla­vors and tech­niques of Yunnan cui­sine.

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