I am determined to get the top ten of the list done by the end of the month – it’s the least I could do, right? Actually, by eating at numbers three and six on the list (A&A Bake and Doubles and Ko Hang Soft Tofu, respectively), I can claim to have noshed at numbers one through seventeen.
So I set out to Flushing directly after work on Friday, braving a crowd of Mets fans and a slow-to-depart 7 train to arrive at Main Street a little before 7 pm. Wandering around Flushing, I was continually amazed by how ludicrously loud the jets taking off from LaGuardia are – since the airport is so small, many of the planes used are of the older and noisier variety, and, on that basis, I can’t say that living there would appeal to me much.
The food would be a pretty significant bribe to endure the roaring turbofans, though. Unfortunately, I seem to have missed Ko Hang. If it truly was located at 137-40 Northern Boulevard, I’m reasonably certain that it is no longer. Perhaps it moved, or the address was incorrectly notated?
In any case, I ended up at A-Ri-Rang, located at 137-38 of the same street. If you haven’t been, Northern Boulevard is kind of wild – A-Ri-Rang is located quite near an ancient Quaker meeting house (which looks like it belongs on Cape Cod) and across the street from a town hall that looks plucked straight from an upstate township. Given the multitude of modern buildings elsewhere on the strip and on the main drags, as well as the fact that Northern Boulevard is fed on the west side by the connector highway between the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck/Whitestone Expressways (with the associated freeway-levels of traffic), it’s enough to make you scratch your head and wonder what happened.
I had quite a bit of time to ponder Flushing’s evolution at A-Ri-Rang – the noodles are cooked to order and, as it was a busy night, this took about ten or fifteen minutes. There are two kinds of noodles on the menu – the more typical hand-thrown variety, and something which the menu named “SuJeabe.” Or, at least, I think it did. (Picture, if you will, my tortured mental process: scan the wall-mounted menu on the way out. Decide that I’m going to forget it while I’m walking along the street. Text it to myself and wonder if I already forgot the proper spelling. Get home and find that Google thinks I have, as there are zero results that match this.)
In any case, the “SuJeabe” noodles are squarish flat noodles that have several different thicknesses – they must also be handmade, given how much the texture can vary. They’re also extremely difficult to pick up with chopsticks, as they’re slippery as hell. I made a mess, of course, but the noodles forced me to refine my chopstick technique significantly. Yes, it was a learning experience.
Also, a delicious experience. The noodles may not be available in near-infinite variety, as the name of the restaurant might suggest to an ethnomusicologist, but the noodles were really good, the kimchee soup that I had with them was both spicy and delicious, and the bowl was friggin’ enormous. For eight bucks, I’m pretty sure you could feed two, particularly when you factor in the various kimchee dishes that come out first, as well as drinking the soup.
Anyone know if Ko Hang is still around? Or of another place to sample this soft tofu that I’ve lately been hearing about? Either way, I’m considering the sixth item on the list as having been done.