Food & Drink

The 5 Best Cold Noodle Dishes in NYC

Bang Bang Soba Noodles cocoron
Bang Bang Soba Noodles at Cocoron | Junki Ikeda
Bang Bang Soba Noodles at Cocoron | Junki Ikeda

New York is finally (supposed to be!) heating up, and Mr. Softee for dinner every night really won’t cut it. Cooking in your unairconditioned is a no-go, and do you really want to spend time at home anyways? It’s summer! Chill out with cold noodles across the city:

Hong Man: Sesame Cold Noodles

Chinatown
This Chinatown basement eatery (formerly known as Sheng Weng) hits all the marks for a perfect New York restaurant: fast, cheap, delicious. The ambiance may not win awards, but nearly everything off the flimsy paper menu impresses. In summer, a $4 styrofoam plate of long, spaghetti-esque hand-pulled noodles, swirled with sesame and chili oils and topped with a healthy amount of steamed bok choy, hits the spot. May we suggest a second order to go?

Xian famous foods cold noodles
Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles | Evan Sung

Xi’an Famous Foods: Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles

Multiple Locations
Look no further than A1 on the menu at Xi’an if you visit and the temperature’s above, say sixty-five degrees. One of the primary dishes that made Xi’an famous is available year-round, but perfect in summer, especially if you’re eager to sweat out some spice. Flat wheat noodles are mixed with bean sprouts, shards of cucumber and gluten wedges, sprinkled with cilantro and a proprietary sauce blend that includes soy sauce, black vinegar, garlic and chili oil, as spicy as you’d like it.

Cold Sesame Noodles shorty tang
Cold Sesame Noodles | Shorty Tang Noodle Shop

Shorty Tang: Cold Sesame Noodles

Chelsea
Claiming to be New York’s original cold sesame noodles, that is, the sticky peanut butter version ubiquitous to nearly every Chinese takeout menu across the five boroughs, and also claiming to serve the city’s best, Shorty Tang lives up to the hype. Named for the Taiwanese chef who says he invented the dish in Chinatown in the 1960s, this spot continues the legacy with a sumptuous blend of peanut butter and sesame paste, plus chili oil and black vinegar, coating the long noodles, topped with scallions and cucumber, if you’re in the mood for something green.

Cold Lemon Ramen
Cold Lemon Ramen | Takayuki Watanabe

Mr. Taka: Cold Lemon Ramen

Dumbo
$17 for a bowl of ramen at a Brooklyn food hall may seem steep, but this new dish that debuted at Time Out Market just in time for lemonade season will have you splurging for some chilly carbs at the DUMBO outpost of this Lower East Side ramen shop. Flat noodles are doused in a delightfully salty yet tangy sour broth, which is almost like a citrus kombucha, topped with meat and green veggies.

Chilled Mentaiko Soba Noodles cocoron
Chilled Mentaiko Soba Noodles | Junki Ikeda

Cocoron: Chilled soba noodle

Lower East Side
The cold menu goes deep at this restaurant committed to homemade Japanese buckwheat noodles. The so-called best depends on your palate, but each bowl of cold soba comes composed with toppings, like grilled salmon and shredded nori or kimchi and a poached egg, with a side of dipping sauce or cold soup to amp up every chopstick-full.

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Melissa Kravitz is a writer based in NYC.