Wontons & Fried Fish Skin at Noodle Village – NYC
A few weeks ago, Hannah (my sister-in-law), told me she was coming to the city and wanted to eat shrimp wontons. Unfortunately, I was stumped. I didn’t know of one restaurant that had good wontons. So when in doubt, what do you do? You appeal to the twitterverse and hope someone comes through. In this case, twitter friend Kathryn Yu came to the rescue with the suggestion to go to Noodle Village. Supposedly, it’s the only place her aunt will go for wontons. The following week, I ate wontons every day at a different restaurant in Chinatown. After much “research,” it seemed Kathryn and her aunt were right. For wontons, only Noodle Village warrants repeat visits.
At Noodle Village, my usual (I’ve been going quite frequently since last month) is The Duet Noodle Soup ($5.75; pictured at top), noodle soup with a choice of two toppings. My choice of toppings is always shrimp wontons and fried fish skin, but the day I took photos, the manager recommended the housemade fish cake so I got that, shrimp wontons, and fried fish skin on the side. The fish cake was good, but nothing compared to the extraordinarily good wontons. The wonton skins are thin, and each wonton is filled with ground pork and, most importantly, one whole bouncy shrimp. I’m amazed each time I bite into a wonton. Seriously, if you can find better shrimp wontons, let me know.
As for noodles, I prefer ho fun over the classic thin egg noodles — although the wonton noodles at Noodle Village are solid; chewy, never gummy — but I notice when you order the ho fun instead of the egg noodles, the soup is a little bland. Noodle Village claims to not use any MSG, so in general the soup is always on the lighter side. I think the less salted ho fun throws off the balance. So if you like ho fun, be forewarned.
As I mentioned, I always go for shrimp wontons and fried fish skin in the Duet Noodle Soup. I highly recommend the Deep Fried Fish Skin, either in your noodle soup or on the side ($4.75 for a side order). (If you order fried fish skin on the side, they’ll also bring you a bowl of soup so you can dip the skin in the soup.) For those who’ve never had fried fish skin, it may sound odd, but it’s the fish version of chicharrón or fried pork rinds. Crunchy, dry to the touch, and salty with a mild fish taste; it’s completely scrumptious and completely snackable. Why fried fish skin never made the leap into the snack arena is beyond me.
Trust me, order the fried fish skin. Do it, you’ll thank me. If you don’t like them, more for me. I’ll be sitting at the next table with a bowl of wonton noodle soup waiting to scoop them off your plate.
13 Mott Street (b/n Mosco St & Chatham Square; map)
New York, NY 10013-5025
Why fried fish skins didn’t make the leap into snacking stardom? Probably the same reason why shrimp crackers will never be accepted in Western culture. It smells like a fish farted in your face when you open the bag/put it on the table. Now… I like that sensation, but different strokes for different people I guess 😉
@Nicholas – Ahhhh!!!!! Face fish farts! OMG, you are too much!
I never tried their food. I will definitely now! I see some people rave their soup dumplings too. Have you tried it?
@someguy – Their xiaolongbao are OK, a little too sweet for my liking, but not bad.
I can’t wait to go back for more!! Next time, I’m going to try the thin noodles with fried fish skins, and of course shrimp wontons.
@Hannah – Let’s go!!!
Found your site via Kathryn today (she connected us when I Foodspotted the fried fish skins). Had the congee today – we specifically went there to warm up over congee before our egg tart tasting adventure. Had the fish skins and thought they were good but they’re definitely a once in a while treat for me – deep fried anything gets out of hand.
Enjoyed your post and I’m looking forward to going back and trying more things on the menu!
@Emily – Kathryn is such a doll. The congee at Noodle Village is great too. And how did the egg tart tasting go? I love egg tarts! Portuguese egg tarts are my favorite, especially hot out of the oven. Egg Custard King on Grand used to make awesome ones, but they closed. 🙁
wow, fried fish skin. this is why i love catching up on food blog reading. i’ve only been to this place once a loooong time ago. time to go back!