Crispy Pork Over Rice

8 Bowery Street below Canal Street

My parents used to order a whole roast suckling pig for special occasions, so crispy roast pork has always been on a pedestal for me.  Oh, how I go weak for moist, unctuous chunks of roast pork with its crackled, crunchy, lacquered top, and hints of aromatic Chinese five spice powder seasoning. I can only find this in Chinatown and, contrary to what you may think, it's not offered at every BBQ restaurant. At Yummy Noodle, it's served over a big bed of jasmine rice, with a bit steamed cabbage and a small bowl of brothy seaweed & egg soup. There's also a side of hoisin sauce and ginger scallion oil for dipping. All of this for $4.95. You can also choose to add a fried egg on top for $1.50.

Shio Ramen and Gyoza

90 University Place bet. East 11th & East 12th Streets

I found a neighborhood ramen winner in the shio ramen (salt-based broth) at Ramen Takumi, which happens to be the bestselling item on their menu. The broth is light yet satisfying, and, while the noodles might be missing an extra spring in its step, there's still has a nice chew to it. The real indicator of the care that goes into each bowl is found in the accoutrements. If you'll notice, the egg in the bowl above is not a hard-boiled egg, but rather a soft boiled egg with a yolky center. And the pork belly slices are perfectly smoky and juicy, not dry and tough like you'd find in other nondescript ramen joints. The ever-popular Ippudo is just a short walking distance away, but who wants to wait 45 minutes for a bowl of ramen on a regular night? While you're here, also try an order of the gyoza. Together, they make a wonderful #singlegirldinner meal.