By now, the steeliest of us may by inured to Chinese-style hand-pulled noodles, aka lamian. The absorbing figure eight ballet of arms and dough in the production of tensile wheat soup noodles was, a few years back, a star attraction in Chinatown, where chefs did the dance in full view of their fans at places like Hing Kee and Sing’s Noodle House. That’s to say nothing of the central Asian variant, lagman, produced less visibly at places like Jibek Jolu and Lazzat (now Chayhana). Then the big boys started getting into it: Imperial Lamian and Duck Duck Goat, mainstreaming the art for the crowd that rarely eats outside of downtown or the Fulton Market district.
So why get ruffled when a new noodle puller hangs out a shingle on Wentworth? Because lamian pulling is the pasta equivalent of Sufi whirling: you are drawn to it, entranced, drunk on its graceful repetition like an ecstatic devotee.
OK, calm down.
There’s not much of a performance at Chinatown’s Slurp Slurp. All the noodle action is tucked away in the back. But its lamian is on point and available stir-fried or in great vats of soup, accessorized with pork ribs or belly, beef brisket, stomach, or tripe, or the meat eater’s death-by-cow combination of ribs, shank, stomach, and brisket.
But what really deserves your attention at Slurp slurp are the shaved noodles, or dao xiao mian, a relatively overlooked variant also available at Sing’s. As with the lamian, the dough is folded aplenty to align its glutens. But then the chef mounts the oblong hunk on a board, forearming it like a football, and starts wicking off long, irregular strips into a roiling cauldron of water. These noodles have a rough affinity to pappardelle (rough being the operative word), with uneven edges and varying thicknesses that magnify the textural appeal by nearly half. Like anything textured, the properties of adhesion come into play, which is why I suggest ordering these fat worms stir-fried so they pick up some wok hay, the smoky breath of the wok. Even still, the noodles are minimally seasoned, tossed with your choice of meat, plus baby bok choy, onions, and tomatoes. Table condiments like tart pickled greens and smoldering chile oil are the only extras needed to balance the profile of this exquisite plate of carb-loaded love.
Slurp Slurp, 2247 S. Wentworth, 312-982-2969, slurpslurpnoodles.com