Philly Chinese Noodle Shop
- Gabriel Solis
I ate at a Noodle shop in Philly's chinatown for the second time last night, and was very pleased with the meal. I believe the place is named Chinese Noodle House, of all things. It's a few doors west of 10th st. on the south side of Race st.
The first time I ate there was on a Saturday around lunch time, and it was not busy, perhaps four other tables besides us while we were there. The menu includes three noodle options: steamed, pan fried, and soup. We got the pan fried with chicken and a soup with roast duck. I thought the roast duck was particularly tasty, my wife prefered the pan fried with chicken. THe noodles tasted like they were fresh made. I don't know if they make them are get them from a local maker--the staff speak essentially no English, so finding out is not possible for me.
I tried it again because I really liked the people who own it. I think they care deeply about what they're doing, and want most of all to serve a good meal. Last night bore out this impression. I went for take out, and I just let the server tell me what was best. I was particcularly taken with the "pin noodles" I've never had this before, and thought it was quite a treat. The server said, as though reciting an ESL lesson, "Some people say they are very good." I, as it turns out, am one of those people. The noodle is like a really long grub. I'm sure they're hand made, because they are very irregular. They range from one to three inches long, taper at both ends, and are a little thinner than my pinky at the widest. They serve the pin noodles pan fried with veggies, chicken, and bay shrimp. The preparation is sort of pedestrian, but the noodles are really delicious--springy and tender without a hint of pastyness. This is really very simple food, which is exactly what it should be. To me it's some of the most comforting eating around. It ranks up there with refried beans and corn tortillas, my single favorite meal.
The menu is limited outside of noodles. They have fried rice, a lengthy list of appetizers, of which the pan fried dumplings are good, but the others I've tried are nothing to scream about (but I haven't tried most of them, due to squeamish co-eaters who won't eat, for instance, pig skin and radish, or even grilled octopus). They will also cook non-menu items, if you know how to ask. I got a sauteed bok choy with garlic in a nice broth, for instance. It was delicious.
Everything was extremely cheap. Five of us plus a child ate for $17 plus $3.50 of bbq pork from a cantonese style duck joint down the street. Sadly, the place was pretty empty when I went in at 6:30. Of course it did mean I got my food in virtually no time.