Stick By for What’s CookingColumns Pupu Picks
June 23, 2013
Story By: Steve Murray | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
The joys of Northern Chinese food are many. Bold, clean flavors are simply prepared and wonderfully presented to look as good as they taste. Such flavors are what earned the Asian nation’s cuisine the honorary title of “America’s ethnic food,” at least according to some barely remembered Food Network program.
It does makes sense. Chinese food has always been popular because it can be nearly anything you want. It is both unique and familiar — much like the food at Little Village Noodle House in Chinatown.
The Smith Street eatery has been satisfying customers for more than 12 years because it holds to the earlier described ethos, and makes food that is simple, satisfying and tasty.
A good example is the humble Pot Sticker. Priced at $7.95 for eight pieces and $4.95 for four, the tender and juicy combination of protein and herbs is delicious. Available in four configurations — chicken and chives, tender pork, and tofu and chives — the appetizer pockets are stuffed, steamed, pan-fried crispy and served hot, sweet, tangy and crunchy. A simple recipe that’s simply tasty.
Another favorite is Lettuce Wrap ($8.95). The savory combination of minced chicken breast, chives, shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts and chestnuts are stir-fried, topped with candied walnuts and served with crisp iceberg lettuce and hoisin sauce. Again, simple. The fresh ingredients give the dish its substance while the chestnuts provide crunch, and the walnuts are a sweet addition that is a nice, unexpected flavor enhancer.
One appetizer that breaks away from the usual is Green Onion Pancakes ($4.25). Familiar in content, but unique in design, the crunchy half moon-style pockets are rolled out, coiled pastry style and cut. Before being pan-fried, the light appetizer is given a twist to create the familiar shape and then finally fried a golden brown. Now, I’m not a guy who likes onions — I pretty much eliminate it from all of my cooking — but this is an onion dish I enjoy. The green onions are superb in taste and texture, and their natural moisture keeps the interior soft, as the exterior is turned into a flaky, crunchy outer layer. Very good. Check it out.
Little Village Noodle House
1113 Smith Street
Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-midnight