Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Follow Me To The Best Noodles In China, Take Two

What America has in pizza, China has in noodles. Different styles, tastes, and, of course, opinions about which are the best. Ask any New Yorker what they think of Chicago deep dish...You get the idea. Square, round, thick, thin, fast food, gourmet...Everyone has his favorite.

It is no different here with noodles. In Taiyuan, we all enjoyed dao shao mian (although a man in the alleyway told us Datong's version is much better). These were neat not only because they tasted good, but also in the way they were prepared...The chef slicing noodles from a block of dough into a boiling pot.

Thin, thick, wheat-based, rice flour-based, even potato flour-based...They're all really delicious. But a few places and types do stand out and "float to the top."

In addition, to our little family owned and operated noodle place in Taiyuan, there's another place not so near but very dear to our hearts (and tummies!) in Xi'an.

Back in September, we came upon a place on Huimin Jie in the Muslim Quarter, and ate there each afternoon...Yes, every day! Once we find a place we like, we tend to make repeat appearances. This time, when we arrived back in Xi'an, this little fandian was one of our first stops. What again seems to be a family business, with mom cooking the noodles, dad preparing the plates by topping them with cubes of lamb, potatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes, doufu, and lajiao if you prefer, grandpa clearing plates and washing dishes, while a few younger employees (not sure if they are related or not...last time we were convinced that the girl and young man who were helping were definitely the kids of the owners, but they weren't here this time) served the hungry customers.

While it isn't easy to choose a favorite noodle, or a favorite noodle house for that matter, I know that all four of us are willing to keep up the "hard work" of trying to decide!

We'll get back to you...

~Desi

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