CHINA (GUILIN PROVINCE)
Taste of Guilin shares the same building as the Fei Long Market and food court, but thankfully has its own entrance and is a welcome respite from all the hubbub of that building. Walking through the door here is not quite like being along the peaceful Li River as the city of Guilin is, but it does feel quite tranquil nonetheless.
Order at the counter right inside the door, pay and sit down. The cashier will scream over to you when your order is ready.
The refrigerated case near the counter is filled with refreshing drinks, and I could not keep myself from impulse purchasing a cup of plum tea ($1, below) to quench my thirst.
The way to begin here is definitely trying menu item #1, the Guilin-style rice noodles ($4.99, below), which comes with a small bowl of extra broth so that you can determine the soupiness of your dish. The rice noodles are topped with two types of meat, toasted soy beans, and pickled peppers of some sort. The beef tongue is smooth and mild, while the crispy pork skin really shines in taste and provides the necessary crunch to counter all the other textures here.
The pride of Guilin is the soft and chewy rice noodles, thicker than most you see and most closely resembling spaghetti of any Chinese noodle. These are cooked a while longer than you would find in an Italian restaurant to give them this quality.
Plenty of hunks of the crispy pork skin (below) are desired, and you will be fishing those out for your most enjoyable bites.
The restaurant's menu claims to be the only authentic taste of Guilin in New York City, and to my knowledge it is an accurate statement. They have a fairly large menu and it might be worth asking what other specialties this southern city is churning out.