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“Sometimes the food is so good, I cry a little,” says chef Simone Tong, thinking back to the research trip she took through China’s Yunnan province before opening Little Tong Noodle Shop , a sunny corner restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village devoted the rice noodles of the region. In Lijiang’s Old Town, a village of canal-lined alleyways lit by red lanterns and a trading post since the 12th century, Tong discovered a tiny restaurant where a fourth-generation Bai cook prepared just one dish: chicken mixian (rice noodles; pronounced, more or less, mee-shee-en) topped with fermented chili and pickled vegetables. “Big, black, turkey-sized chickens—I think they only have them in Yunnan,... Full story

2 April