A hundred or so years ago in southwest China's Yunnan Province, one particular woman crossed a bridge every day to bring her husband lunch. A kind gesture, sure, but by the time she walked all the way there, the soup was cold—and the noodles, soggy. This was a huge bummer for all involved. And so, she figured out that if she put a layer of chicken fat on top of the broth, the oil would seal in the heat—and if she kept the noodles and other fixings separate until she arrived, the whole thing would come out better.
And so, "Crossing the Bridge noodles" were born: one of the best-known staples of Yunnan cuisine, and a main menu player at the new mixian shop South of the Clouds, which is now open in Greenwich Village.
Good stuff. Now, let's discuss when to go and what to order there...
The owner's father is behind Yun Nan Flavour Garden, a Sunset Park restaurant that was one of the first to bring the cuisine to the city. In more recent times, we've been seeing a rise in mixian the city (see: Little Tong Noodle Shop), but this particularly authentic player is a welcome addition to the scene.
What we'd suggest: come for lunch sometime and slide into a two-top under the walls lined with back-lit mountains. Start with a Yunnan rose tea. Now, they've got five renditions of mixian noodles, so see what sounds good to you: could be a tofu pudding noodle with minced pork; a chicken and pork version with chives, scallion and tomato; or the aforementioned specialty which is a DIY bowl with silkie chicken, beef, pork, fish, bok choy and more. (A highly photographable noodle bowl, if you're trying to photograph your noodle bowl).
We photographed that noodle bowl. You can see it, and other edible things of interest, right here.
South of the Clouds, now open, 16 W 8th St (between 5th and 6th), 212-888-9653, see the menu and the slideshow