Chinatown! Fresh noodles, dried noodles, weird twirly vegetables, cheap tofu, fresh made soy milk, green tea, spices, and straight up old school New York as it ought to be.
I went with my friend Jon on a recent day off:
Then we stopped at a large grocery store:
Jon ate some soft tofu with honey drizzled all over it:
I had a fair amount of groceries at home already but I really wanted some fresh noodles. I also bought a Chinese eggplant.
And made this:
The eggplant was sliced and cooked in a pan with a little coconut oil, garlic, soy sauce, and a splash of water until it was pretty soft and I tossed in some mushrooms at the end for about 3 minutes. I sprinkled the vegetables with red pepper flakes and ume plum vinegar.
Spinach in a bowl, noodles on top, then vegetables and some cubed, uncooked tofu. I added some scallions on top and sesame seeds. After I took a couple bites, I wished I'd remembered to cook some ginger but whatever; I sprinkled powdered ginger on top and added sriracha.
So, yeah, Chinatown rules for special Asian ingredients and cheap vegetables. I did not take photos of any of the PLETHORA of dead animals in the windows or sad, live sea creatures crammed into tanks, but you've got to know they're there so be prepared for that if you visit.
Take the J to Bowery or Canal and wander.