Xi'an Famous Foods

Cheap Eats: Spicy, Delicious Noodles

“Cheap Eats” is my post-series on cheap restaurants and prepared food options in New York. I recommend cooking your own food most of the time, but every once in a while it is nice to indulge and you don’t have to pay through the nose to do so. I plan to review many of the cheap options I find on various websites and will let you know if they are as good and as cheap as advertised. If you have a suggestion for a place to review, feel free to let me know through my contact page.

I am heading back to Chinatown, where it appears some of the best deals are. But good news! This next restaurant has a few different locations for your convenience:

Xi’an Famous Foods

  • Chinatown: 67 Bayard St (map)
  • East Village: 81 St. Mark’s Place (map)
  • Midtown: 24 w 45th St (map)
  • Upper West: 2675 Broadway (map)
Xi'an Famous Foods
The Chinatown storefront

I walked in around 12:30 – prime lunch time and was thrilled to see that it wasn’t too crowded. I even decided then and there that I would actually sit and eat there instead of taking the food back to my office. I went up to the counter and on the recomendation of various websites, I got the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles (I’ll be honest, I was a little turned off by the name).

Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles
The plate was even MORE full, but I started eating before I remembered to take a picture. Sorry.

The Cheap Eats Breakdown

How was the ordering experience? Very easy. There was a huge, wall menu to my left as I walked in with numbers (so I could just say, I’ll have an A1 instead of the full noodle name). The behind the counter, the lady who took my order was friendly and asked if I wanted my noodles spicy. Of course I did!

How unique is the food? Honestly, I have never had a similar dish in my life. Perhaps I am sheltered, but the cold, spicy noodles with spongy gluten were new to me. Also, the blend of sauces seemed pretty unique as well.

How delicious was the food? The first bite caught me by surprise. As I mentioned, these were different flavors than I was used to. But on the second and third bite, I had hit my stride and I LOVED it! The level of spicy-ness was perfect for me as well, but again, you can tell them not to make it spicy if you like.

Did it fill me up for $5 or less? Absolutely! The noodles were $4.75 at my location (I think they are $4.50 at some of their locations). I left feeling quite full. Quick tip, if you get the spicy version of the noodles, grab some napkins. It’s one of those spicy dishes that seems fine at first, but creeps up on you and by the end, you definitely need to blow your nose. Just the way I like it!

Conclusion: Xi’an Famous Foods ticks all the boxes for me! The restaurant had plenty of free seating, even at the height of the lunch rush and the food was different and delicious, all for under $5. I actually ended up getting their “pork burger” on the way out and at that around dinner time. It was also quite good, but definitely wouldn’t have sufficed for a full meal for me. At $3, though, it makes a good snack.

Here's the pork burger I ordered "to go" and ate later that evening. Quite good, but I honestly prefer the noodles.
Here’s the pork burger I ordered “to go” and ate later that evening. Quite good, but I honestly prefer the noodles.

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15 thoughts on “Cheap Eats: Spicy, Delicious Noodles

  1. Kristin Wong March 27, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Drooool. I love Chinatown! And that looks delicious. Taking note of all your NYC recommendations for my next trip.

    • Mr NYBudget March 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Hurry up and visit! You’ll have more options than you can visit before long!

  2. Leslie Beslie March 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Only been to the Chinatown location once, but went to the St. Marks one a lot! Chinatown spot has lots more seating. There’s a small counter with about 10 little stools and two crowded tables at the St Marks location. Sometimes you can get a seat, sometimes you can’t.

    I’m a lighter eater and the $3 lamb burger could easily fill me up for lunch.
    Leslie Beslie recently posted: Weekly Updates: March Madness + Half Marathon Training ModifiedMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Yeah, the Chinatown location was great – plenty of seating.

  3. Claire M March 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Yumm!! I lived in Beijing for a a little over a year and became such a fan of cold noodles. They’re so refreshing in the summer!! And I used to get roujiamo (the pork burger) for breakfast EVERY Sunday before heading out on a bike ride. Definitely a tasty snack!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂
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    • Mr NYBudget March 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Honestly, I saw that cold noodles were the recommended thing to get here, I was skeptical. I am always looking to try new things, but I thought I would be disappointed by this one. Not so! Who knew that cold noodles could be so good!

  4. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich March 28, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Cold Skin Noodles is definitely a rough name… I totally would’ve tried to shove that out of my mind and just ref to it as the A1. 😛
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted: #NYCFail: DrinkingMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget March 28, 2014 at 8:15 am

      Haha – good point! A1 is absolutely a better, if much less descriptive name!

  5. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply March 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Is that a new place…don’t remember seeing it there before. And it looks like the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has a new sign. I’ll have to try noodles out next time…I don’t usually get cold noodles. That red sauce on the bottom makes it look like it was pretty spicy.
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    • Mr NYBudget March 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Not sure how new it is. The Yelp reviews date back to 2011, but I’m not sure if it has moved locations since then.

  6. Phil March 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Been there a few times but it’s not for me as I find their style of noodles just too oily. It is a good deal there though for a cheap meal.
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  7. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life March 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Ok, so this is on my block! The veggie dumplings and the spicy noodles are so FREAKIN’ good! It can get really crowded though.
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    • Mr NYBudget March 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      I’ll definitely have to check out the veggie dumplings next time I go there!

  8. Ball April 30, 2014 at 4:02 am

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