I am so upset that I spent four years in America and never knew that An Choi on the Lower East Side existed. Wandering in off the street with weird hunger jetlag mid afternoon, I ordered what I promptly re-named the Greedy Special: a small bowl of boiling hot pho chay, (thin rice noodles with fried tofu, mushroom and bok choy in a really well-flavoured vegetable broth), and a half banh mi – a fresh-as-a-daisy Vietnamese baguette filled with sticky fried Portobello mushrooms, aioli, pickled carrots & daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro and a f**k off belt of chili, which gave my jet lag its marching orders in no uncertain terms.
God it was good. So good I nearly ordered everything again. But that would have been excessive. I was *this* close tho.
It is practically a hole in the wall restaurant but it was the best thing I ate over three weeks in America. If you are anywhere in the vicinity you MUST GO. It’s five mins from the nearest subway, and you can always combine your trip with a visit to the Tenement Museum (really fascinating on immigrant life in NY on the 19th/early 20thCenturies) and go have some cake afterwards at the Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery just around the corner.
(I cannot recommend Babycakes gluten-free bakery a block over. Very expensive, and practically inedible. Well, edible only if you are chock full of allergies and this is your only chance to eat cake, in which case I get it. Otherwise, run screaming in horror towards the sugar and white flour purveyors at the SSSB.)
An Choi, 85 Orchard Street, New York, N.Y. 10002, Tel: 212-226-3700