I tried to peer into the kitchen at Dun Huang, a Chinese restaurant that opened about a month ago in Syosset. When the doors swung open, I was indeed able to see a chef hand-pulling wheat noodles, a specialty of the Gansu province in Northwest China. I couldn't see the whole process, but he would have started with a salami-thick rope of dough which he folded, twisted and stretched until it developed a sinewy, elastic texture. Then he would have used his fingers to divide and then stretch it into ever-thinner filaments, hundreds of them, all as regular as factory-made spaghetti.
Dun Huang is the name of a small city in Gansu. The signature dish at Dun Huang in Syosset, Lanzhou beef noodles, is named for the province’s capital. The noodles float in a beef broth slicked with a layer of chili oil, along with slices of beef tendon and radish.Noodles are also available extra-thin, wide and extra wide. There are seven more traditional noodle dishes in various combinations of hot, cold, in broth, stir-fried, spicy and mild. You can also order Cantonese lo mein, as well as Shanghai soup dumplings and Sichuan specialties like eggplant in garlic sauce.
Dun Huang (the city) was an important site on the Silk Road, the ancient overland trading route that connected Europe with Asia, and much of the menu at Dun Huang (the restaurant) features dishes that were born of centuries of East meeting West: wheat rolls stuffed with spicy meat, lamb pilaf, fried potatoes and lamb shashlik. Almost everything is less than $12 except for a few entrees including braised beef with potato, braised lamb shoulder and mutton on the bone.
The Syosset store is the ninth link in a growing Dun Huang chain with three stores in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, one in Queens, one in New Jersey and one in Los Angeles.
Dun Huang is at 8 Cold Spring Rd., Syosset, 516-921-7060, dunhuangfood.com.