Rice Noodles at Yun Nan Flavour Snack – NYC
Many people in New York, myself included, didn’t know much about Yunnan food — a cuisine from the southwestern province of China heavily influenced by Sichuan, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos — until last year when two hip Yunnan-influenced restaurants (Yunnan Kitchen and Lotus Blue) opened in Manhattan. (I’ve been to Yunnan Kitchen and enjoyed it immensely.) It’s a shame, because the food is quite good, and there’s a small shop in Sunset Park called Yun Nan Flavour Snack run by a couple from Kunming (the capital of Yunnan) that has been churning out slippery rice noodle dishes from the region since 2007.
On a recent visit, I ordered Rice Noodle with Crispy Meat Sauce ($4.75; pictured at top) which is a bowl of their housemade rice noodles in a light broth with chili oil (added at the end according to your preference), cilantro, pork cracklings, and thin slices of pork and pork intestines. The rice noodles were soft yet bouncy, but the best part were the cracklings. Yes, because it was crunchy, fried pork skin, which is always tasty no denying, but also because it added some contrasting texture. As for those who may be offal-adverse, the intestines weren’t extremely funky. So if you must, you could potentially pick out the intestines, but really, a little porky chewiness won’t kill you.
For David, I ordered the Cold Rice Noodle ($4.75) thinking it was a non-pork dish (for new readers, my BF is a recovering vegan), but alas, it was their rice noodles with ground pork, vinegar, chili oil, cilantro, and peanuts. He ended up eating it anyway and said it was fine because the ground pork didn’t taste “too porky.” That probably had to do with the sauce which was very assertive in flavor; really bright, spicy, and slightly cooling because of a smattering of Sichuan peppercorns throughout. It also had a nice sweetness that balanced out the heat. But be sure to mix the noodles well before eating so the sugar evenly distributes and melts down into the sauce. I had one crunchy, sugary bite after a quick but not so thorough mix by David, and was thinking it might be too sweet for me, when all of a sudden, the proprietress ran over and screamed at David, “YOU, COLD NOODLES! STIR LOT!” Which he then did, and guess what? It tasted much better. So remember, STIR LOT! The lady at Yun Nan Flavour knows what she’s talking about.
Yun Nan Flavour Snack may not have the ambiance of the newer, fancier Yunnan-inspired restaurants in Manhattan, but it has character. And more importantly, a LOT of delicious noodles.
Yun Nan Flavour Snack
775 49th Street (b/n 7th and 8th Ave; map)
Brooklyn, NY 11220