Asian Penicillin


I have a stripper cold. I caught the cold from a friend who caught it from her boyfriend who caught it from a stripper. In addition to the night sweats and post-nasal drip, the pole-dancing is exhausting and if Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” plays one more time I’m going to scream. At least the tips are good.

In the past, when I caught a cold, I headed straight to the East Village for my favorite cold remedy at the Second Avenue Deli. You can read about my last visit here. That last visit was truly a last visit: the 2nd Avenue Deli is no more. Their soup–the best chicken soup in the city, as far as I was concerned–was fragrant, potent, and completely curative: one sip and I’d automatically feel better. When it closed down, I grew deeply concerned about what I’d do if I caught a cold. Where would I go? What would I do?

The answer, surprisingly, was only one avenue away. There on 1st avenue is a soup just as potent, just as curative, and way more exotic. That soup belongs to David Chang, its served at Momofuku, and its listed on the menu as “Chicken Ramen.” The ramen, of course, refers to the noodles; but I’m here to praise the soup. Having made my own chicken stock before, I marvel at how miraculous Chang’s chicken broth is: it’s a deep golden color, it’s incredibly rich and it’s truly well-salted. One spoonful, and suddenly I started to question my allegiance to my own culture’s form of penicillin: do the Asians have the Jews beat? I’m not sure. But immediately I started to feel better, and now I know where to head the next time I get a stripper cold.

I’d say more, but Elizabeth Berkeley’s giving me the evil eye….

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