Among the legacies of the Qin dynasty: popularizing mi fen, or rice noodles. Jacob Ding, owner of Yuan, a new East Village mi-fen restaurant, explains: The story goes that Qin soldiers, accustomed to abundant wheat in northern China, were dismayed to find that the South had little of the grain — but lots of rice, so they used that to make noodles instead. And when they fell ill as they adjusted to new terrain, they used medicinal spices in a sauce for the noodles. Ding grew up around Guilin, in the Guangxi region, where the combo is still popular. His dish, one suspects, will probably be used more by New Yorkers for hangover cures than for healing soldiers. But it’s satisfying and sharp all the same, with 15 spices; the exact blend is secret — “like Coke,” Ding says.
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On the menu at Yuan; $10. 157 Second Ave., nr. 10th St.; 917-262-0978.
*This article appears in the August 7, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.