DanDan Noodles in Toronto
DanDan Noodles -- silky hand-pulled wheat noodles bathed in a spicy peanut sauce, garnished with scallions and sometimes minced pork, tiny shreds of preserved vegetables adding crunch and balance. This is what I'm craving right now. I blame my father -- on a recent visit to Vancouver he took me to Golden Great Wall Restaurant on Broadway and they have without question the best dan dan noodles I've ever had in my life.
Now I'm craving them something fierce.
So, help me out here, Chowhounds! Where in Toronto can I get really great dan dan noodles? I've tried Jing Peking and was really disappointed: stringy meat clearly intended for a stir-fry, spicy-yet-flavourless sauce, huge lumps of vegetables and a tendency to congeal unappealingly upon cooling. I guess it was kind of like fast food dan dan noodles, which is not what I'm jonesing for.
If I lived in Vancouver, I would be at Golden Great Wall once a week for a bowl of dan dan noodles and a serving of steamed pork dumplings. Basic, traditional Szechuan food, but the best specimens of both dishes that I've had -- even compared to places in Hong Kong!
OF COURSE!! I'd forgotten that Traditional Chinese Buns has so much more than buns! Thank you, I'll drag the boyfriend out there after work and report back!
Hmm. The visit to Chinese Tradtional Buns was a success, but the dan dan noodles were not quite what I was looking for. Tasty, but a dryer variety. What I'm hoping for is a great big bowl of noodles swimming in tasty peanut sauce. I think I will have to check out some of the other Szechuan places in Chinatown, or trek out to the burbs. :(
Then you might want to try Ding Tai Fung. I recently had the Spicy Peanut Noodles there, and while they weren't all that spicy, they were wading around in a whole lotta peanut sauce. It was kinda like the intriguing offspring of a mating between peanut butter and chicken noodle soup.
If you go, try the number 13 dumplings -- those alone will make it worth the drive. Lucky number 13 fer sher...
I read this thread also in hopes of finding the dan dan noodles you're talking about, and I agree: the recommendation for Traditional Buns was for a dryer version of what I was seeking.
There was an amazing place in the food court of First Markham place on Hwy 7 that was closed the last time I went, though am uncertain if it was for renovations or permanent closure. Just the same, Ding Tai Fung IS probably the next best thing.
There's another little shop in a food court in the Chartwell Centre (Sheppard Ave E, between Brimley & McCowan, in the plaza OPPOSITE the Dragon Centre. When you enter the main building, it's the first shop when you enter the food court, likely with the most customers) that has a great noodle soup with that peanutty/spicy flavor but has served with a pork chop cutlet. Ask for the vermicelli noodles instead. This also might satisfy the craving (at least, for the moment...)
Sadly, most of the places in the GTA are all adaquate, nothing truly great. I remember Golden Great Wall, that place was really good in Vancouver. I don't remember any places in Toronto that compare. Mmmm, giving me the urge for some good DanDan noodles!
Try Beef Noodle House on Sheppard, between Brimley and Midland. Its in a little plaza thats on the other side of the little road that goes into Dragon Centre. Same plaza as BMO.
Very nice noodles. Texture just right, very al dente. Sauces and soup bases are rich and flavourful, and toppings, OH MAN, the toppings alone can fill you. Prices are not bad at all, it ranges from $5.95-$7.95 (dont quote me on that!) and there are little side dishes to order too. They also serve other northern China dishes and hot pots.
Please report back!