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Aug 6, 2001 10:18 AM

Question re: Grand Sichuan's Dan Dan Noodles

  • s

A friend and I went for lunch at the Midtown location the other day. We shared the pork and crabmeat soup dumplings, and on the reccomendation of many people on this site, ordered the Dan Dan Noodles and the Tea Smoked Duck. The dumplings were good, but not even close to Joe's Shanghai, and the duck was excellent. We eagerly awaited the noodles but were very dissappointed. We expected them to be spicy, but they were much hotter than we expected. We didn't mind so much, except that the dish didn't have much flavor. When it arrived, with the small bits of meat or whatever it is, we expected a great taste. However, to us, it just seemed like an oily noodle dish that was very hot. Was it not prepared well this time or does this sound right to all of you?

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  1. The Dan Dan Noodles seem to be one of the more variable items on the menu. I can't really address the spiciness issue as I don't know your STI (Spice Tolerance Index) Usually it does have a fair bite to it, though. Wontons in Red Oil are a more reliable pick. As for the soup dumplings - as you mentioned, they're good, but not the best, after all soup dumplings are a Shanghai not Sichuan speciality.

    1. It all depends on what you look for in Dan Dan Noodles.
      Most other restaurants that offer Dan Dan Noodles serves them with gooey brown meat sauce. Some are rediculously overbearing, with huge wads of hamburger meat over limp overcooked noodles....It's always a risk ordering Dan Dan noodles in restaurants since everyone seem to have a different idea of what Dan Dan Noodles should be.

      It took me too long to find a Dan Dan Noodle that's like GSI's, where less is more. They have very good hot oil and perfectly cooked noodles. You do have to stir the noodles thoroughly to get the bits of preserved veggies, the meat, and the oil all integrated. It's interesting how when you eat it, you think it's no big deal, but then you eat something else and then come back to it, and suddenly it has an unique place on your palate. I've only had Dan Dan Noodles like this in one other restaurant in Manhattan(it was in Chinatown, also a Sichuan restaurant)
      Hope you give it another try!

      5 Replies
      1. re: HLing

        I will continue a substring on general topics.

        1. re: HLing

          HLing, thanks for the comments. I will go back since I really liked the food. I had no prior experience with Dan Dan Noodles, so all I expected was something good based on all the posts. Compared to the other ways you talk about, I would prefer GSI's much more. My question for you is, is it the "uniqueness" of the dish that makes it good. To me, no matter how hot a dish, a good one lets you taste its flavor while providing a lot of heat. I just felt that the heat overpowered any taste. I didn't mind the heat, just wish I could have enjoyed more flavor. Anyway, I will try it again.

          1. re: Scott K

            Dan Dan Noodles for me works as an appetizer that will satisfy the immediate hunger, and yet will not interfere with the other main dishes you order. The noodles needs to have good texture, the specks of preserved veggies are kind of like pickles that actually open up your appetite. Other than the smoky hot oil and the micro bits of scallions/preserved veggies, there's not much other flavor added to the noodles. The hot oil is very important in a simple dish like this. Each restaurant has their own distinct hot oil flavor. I wouldn't be surprised if GSI make their own. Maybe next you try it you can look along that line and see/taste if something strikes you as being different from just any hot oil..

            By the way, speaking of simple side dishes, I had their string beans with ginger sauce the other day, as well as the scallion asparagues, both small(perfect) portions, both very tasty and balanced out an otherwise meat dominated meal without costing the full $8. $9 dollars per dish.

            Happy eating!

            1. re: HLing

              Thanks for the reccomendations. Any other good choices for entrees?

              1. re: Scott K

                I love the sautee Lufah there. If you've never had lufah you may or may not like it.

                The preserved turnip adds a nice crunch and spiciness to your meal. It's peasant food, not served in most Chinese restaurants.

                The string beans(chopped to small bits) with minced pork under the section called Mao's Favorites is yet another peasant food that encourages you to eat lots of steamed rice(wish their rice were short grains...)

                One of many chowhound's favorite is the Au Zhou Chicken, sauteed with bamboo shoots.
                Their squab is supposed to be good. (I've been meaning to try) I haven't been to the restaurant in person for a while(order by phone mostly) so I haven't seen the specialty dishes. Vaguely remember that there was a steamed beef dish where the beef slices were coated with bread-crumb/corn meal-type batter, and then steamed. Might be worth a try if you can find it on the special menu.

                If you do a search on Grand Sichuan International you'll probably find a lot more info as to what to order. Happy eating!