The Best Hand Pulled Chinese Noodles in New York (or Anywhere)

About 10 months back I wrote about some of my favorite food spots in Lower Manhattan.

One of those was Lam Zhou Homemade Noodle.

The link above is to the restaurant’s Yelp page, they don’t have a website. They don’t have metal utensils. Or air conditioning. Or a credit card machine. Or an A rating from the health department, for that matter.

What they do have is the absolute best hand pulled noodles and delicious soup, in expensively. They don’t speak much if any English, you order by number off of the big sign on the wall with pricing and you pay at the end by cash (it seems like they could care less if you tip or not, and the man taking my money recently looked at me funny when I overpaid by about $2.50 — I think he wondered if I wanted more dumplings?).

They don’t ask if you want water, they don’t ask if you want tea, you have to tell them what you want and they will bring it to you. This place isn’t about anticipatory service, it is about soup. And noodles. And dumplings.

A dozen dumplings are $3 (25 cents a dumpling!), the brisket soup is $5.50 but they only charged me $5.

If you’re in New York, go.

And of course while you’re in Manhattan grab macarons at my favorite place (yes, it’s better than Laduree):

What you save at Lam Zhou Homemade Noodle you will spend at Francois Payard Bakery (at $2.25 per cookie but amazing).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “They don’t have metal utensils. Or air conditioning. Or a credit card machine.”

    They do, however, have a loyalty program and a co-branded credit card issued by Lu’s Golden Unicorn Bank around the corner. 10,000 points if you eat 500 dumplings in the first three weeks; 10 points per dumpling thereafter.

    If you earn 100,000 points in a year you qualify for their “Big Noodle” top-level elite status which gets you improved service (upgraded from “awful” to “merely poor”, the highest level offered) and a little piece of cardboard to wedge under the leg of your table so it doesn’t slosh the soup all over your clothing.

  2. As someone who’s Chinese, no, that place is not what it’s hyped up to be. Noodles are fine, but the soup is crap.

  3. Shhhhhh on the Xi’An! I mean, you might as well mention [redacted] and [redacted] while you’re at it. Don’t you get Gary’s ruse? Send everyone to a mediocre, already inexplicably popular noodle joint to draw crowds away from the better options (with better Health Dep’t grades) within walking distance. Nice work, G, very clever.

  4. @Points Surfer, beat me to the punch, was going to recommend the same thing. Now that it’s gotten more publicity since it first started, I feel like the quality has dropped a tiny bit but still excellent.

  5. There’s a great place in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn that does hand pulled noodle, but it’s quite a schlep from Manhattan. There’s a great Italian bakery next door that has the best cannoli in the borough if not the city.

  6. Agree with JW. This “Lan-Zhou” style hand-pulled noodles is everywhere in China. The picture you showed is not attracting at all… As a native “Lan-Zhou” people, I strongly urge you to remove “Or anywhere”.

    Or just fly to Lanzhou for a real good hand-pulled noodle!

  7. Just to add my 2 cents regarding macarons. I know you are talking about macaron in NYV and comparing this place to Laduree but if I am in Paris, Laduree is the last place I would go for macarons. The store became a tourist place and the macarons are “too industrialized” for my taste. You go there and you will see a line of tourists outside just wanting to carry the green bag to show off. Also, they opened stores everywhere in the world so it is a mass production macaron and not a delicacy anymore. If you want real macarons in Paris try Pierre Herme, Gerard Mullot, Arnaud Larher, Pascal Pinaud or Acide Macaron.

  8. “What they do have is the absolute best hand pulled noodles and delicious soup, in expensively.”

    What kind of ridiculous statement is that. Isn’t this a personal preference? Have you been to every hand-pulled noodle shop? Didn’t think so.

    But at least posts like these will steer people towards this place and away from the one I think is best. Thanks!

  9. In DC there’s a similar place (Chinatown Express) at 6th and H NW. They pull the noodles in the front window. May be a branch.

  10. Laduree is below avg in Paris, there are much better. Some even think Paul is better!

  11. The fact that the restaurant offers “dry noodles with miced pork sauce” should raise some mild concern.

  12. Reminds me of Sam Wo in SFO.
    I think the Board of Health shut them down or maybe the SFFD. You walked into and out of the restaurant through the kitchen.
    Edsel Ford Fong was a waiter there.
    — May he rest in peace.

  13. Not sure what all the haterade sippers have against that noodle place. It’s perfectly up to par with the other hand pulled noodle places in NYC. Xi’an is good but a different beast and easily 2x the price, not to mention I think they only recently started offering lamb dumplings where as before I don’t think Xi’an offered any dumplings at all. The more old school hand pulled noodle places in Chinatown mostly all offer some sort of dumplings where it’s super cheap, so there’s still reason to visit one of those over Xi’an.

    As for the macaron discussion, I have to say that NYC doesn’t have great macarons no matter where you go. Laduree is still better than FPB though. The discussion on macarons is purely about how well they’re constructed, flavor intensity, and amount of filling.

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