Recently gracing New York Magazine’s Cheap Eat list, A-Wah is located deep in Chinatown, nestled among dim sum joints and dry foods stores. Last week, I paid a visit to this hole-in-the-wall; I started with an old favorite – dan dan mein (noodles).
Originating from Sichuan cuisine, dan dan mein features chewy egg noodles and minced pork in a spicy/sweet chili oil broth. Every restaurant has a slightly different take on the dish, so I love trying it whenever I see it on the menu. A Wah’s version was a good mix of textures (the springy noodles with the crisp vegetables) and flavors (sweet, savory and slightly oily). At $4.50 for a bowl, I’d recommend.
My eating buddy ordered from the section of the menu titled “World Famous Rice in Casserole.” World famous, huh. Quite a tall order. Also known as bo zai fan (clay pot rice), rice and meats of your choice are cooked in a clay pot over an open flame. Eating buddy ordered the chicken and mushroom casserole. When it arrived, we added the requisite sauce:
Mixed everything together:
…and dug right in. I’m actually not the biggest fan of bo zai fan, but eating buddy enjoyed it – for $6.25 for a large bowl, it’s a pretty good deal.
The ambience at A Wah doesn’t get much fancier than the green-and-white checkered vinyl tablecloth, and a few flat screen tv’s showing Asian pop stars. However, for the price, it can’t be beat. If you’re in the area, give it a try.
Good and cheap for dan dan mein and clay pot rice.
5 Catherine St. (btw. Division and Broadway)