Neighborhood Guides

Must-See East Village

by staff, 03/03/2015

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  • Asian Dining
    An Asian restaurant scene began to simmer in the East Village in the 1980s, thanks to a young, global community and low rents. Real-estate prices have risen, but home-style Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Asian fusion spots have kept finding footholds. Area restaurants profit from nearby New York University's hungry student body, 20 percent of which is Asian. David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar and the two-Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko are among the most famous destinations. Ramen king Ippudo is always boiling over with lines out the door. Maharlika has helped put Filipino specialties like balut (fertilized duck egg), pancit (noodles) and sisig (sizzling pig parts) on the front burner. Not familiar with Isan Thai food either? Go exploring at Zabb Elee. More adventure awaits at BaoHaus from Eddie Huang, whose memoir Fresh Off the Boat inspired the new ABC TV series of the same name. Huang's graffiti-plastered shop features cheeky takes on Taiwanese-style buns, like the Chairman Bao (pork belly and house-made relish). A Japanese entrepreneur named Bon Yagi is behind a collection of authentic sushi, sake, noodle and street food joints, such as Hasaki, Decibel, Soba-ya and Otafuku x Medetai. Further burnishing the East Village's status as a veritable Japantown are the excellent Kyo Ya, Sushi Dojo, Takahachi and Shuko, which recently won three stars from the New York Times. The Asian food options aren't limited to restaurants; alternative grocers like Sunrise Mart, M2M and Dual Specialty Store are reliable sources of exotic ingredients. —Julie Besonen

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