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Xi'an Famous Foods, Local Chinese Noodle Chain with Numerous Locations in Several Boroughs

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I was on a trip to NYC with 100+ high schoolers this past weekend. Since we had a huge group and were spending our trip money on Lincoln Center and Broadway shows, this was not a trip for dining experiences. However, we were on our own for an hour for a meal in the Times Square vicinity pre-show, and I looked up quick eats and found Xi'an Famous Foods, where I went with several other of the adults on the trip (menu). There are multiple other locations besides the one we went to.

It's a tiny place with very little seating, but they strongly suggest eating in because the noodles won't keep well: "Food tastes best when fresh from the kitchen. When hot noodles cool down, they get bloated, mushy, and oily. If you must take your noodles to go, please at least try the noodles in the store or right out of the to-go containers when it's handed to you, so you can get the best possible Xi'an Famous Foods experience." We got there right at noon and were able to get a few seats. I wasn't sure what to order, so I pulled up this list of recommendations from thrilllist.

The hand-pulled noodles were terrific. I had Pork "Zha-Jiang" Hand-Pulled Noodles, and the man behind the counter asked if I wanted them spicy or not (maybe because I'm white, as a nonwhite companion was not asked that, but maybe because he heard me saying that I wasn't going to order the noodles that were specifically listed as spicy, which this wasn't.) I said not too spicy, and that's how he seasoned it - hotter than I usually order, as I stick to mild normally, but not fiery. The noodles were a great texture, and the sauce was absolutely delicious, with bits of ground pork throughout, and slivers of cucumber (which were a nice cooling contrast), chives, and celery. One of the other folks in our party had the Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped Noodles, and said it was one of the top 10 noodle dishes he's had. Another person had rice cake with honey and loved it - sticky rice with dates and (I think) sweet beans, wrapped in bamboo (or lotus?) leaves, drizzled with honey, but not outrageously sweet, he said.

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