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What’s a Restaurant for a Visitor Who Hates Big Chains?

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In this Ask Eater, a tourist wants a true taste of New York eats

A big metal bowl with stewed chicken and noodles, topped with a pile of cilantro
Spicy Village’s big tray chicken
Photo via Eater Video

Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.


Hey Eater,

I’m from Las Vegas and we have a LOT of the big name/popular restaurants (Momofuku, Halal Guys, Shake Shack) or restaurants that are owned by the same chefs/hospitality groups. I’d like to visit places that are non-chains or that we don’t have here in Las Vegas, but I can’t find a good solid list. Any recommendations? Details are: Party of one, New York locations only, not busy, Asian is my favorite.

Thanks,

Mom-and-Pop Enthusiast

Hi MPE,

Have I got the perfect place for you. Let me introduce you to Spicy Village, an Eater staff favorite in Manhattan’s Chinatown that is charmingly family-owned, wildly flavorful, and incredibly affordable to boot.

From wife-husband team Wendy Lian and Ren Fu Li, Spicy Village specializes in food from China’s Henan region, which incorporates a lot of pork, big flavors, and hand-pulled wheat noodles. The tiny restaurant’s main attraction — the spicy big-tray chicken — is a teeming stew of chicken braised with potatoes, chiles, chile oil, Sichuan peppercorns, and cilantro. Be sure to add in the chewy and tender hand-pulled noodles.

Because you are, as you say, a party of one, I’d say you only need one other dish to round out a meal here. Go for the pork pancake, a flat griddled bun filled with savory pork and cilantro. My last tips: Bring cash, bring alcohol if you want some, and head a few blocks away for some dessert after at another family-owned Manhattan original: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Enjoy,

Stefanie

Spicy Village

68 Forsyth Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 625-8299 Visit Website

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