Noodling Around

Tired of ramen and soba? Pull for these Chinese specialties instead.

The city might be in a full-blown ramen and soba craze, but other Asian noodles demand our attention, especially the hand-pulled and "peel" varieties found swimming in rich, ambrosial soups in Chinatown and beyond.

Both of these Chinese specialties are performance-art pasta: Upon ordering the hand-pulled variety (la mian), a ropy-muscled magician pounds and stretches pliant wheat dough into long, thin strands, which are flash-boiled until al dente. By contrast, peel noodles (dao xiao mian) are shaved into rough ribbons and cooked until chewy, slippery and nearly translucent.

Soups made with both versions contain a variety of meats and vegetables, and they rarely cost more than $6. In Brooklyn, Sunset Park's bustling Wong Wong specializes in rabbit and mutton, while Chinatown's new Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodle offers short ribs and roasted duck soups heaped with mustard greens and spinach.

Our favorite slurping spot is the Chinatown cubbyhole Sheng Wang. The subterranean restaurant (pictured) loads its soups with fat, vellum-thin pork dumplings or spongy fish balls with succulent pork centers, each accompanied by tender baby bok choy.

Wong Wong Noodle Shop, 5410 Eighth Ave. (at 54th St.), Brooklyn; 718-633-5633

Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodle, 1 Doyers St. (between the Bowery and Pell St.); 212-791-1817

Sheng Wang, 27 Eldridge St. (between Canal and Division sts.); 212-925-0805