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Jul 27, 2008 10:49 PM

Knife-cut Noodles in Austin?

I just got back from China, and they have these delicious noodles there called "dao xiao mian" or knife-cut noodles (刀削面). I've been craving them like mad, and I was wondering if anyone knew of a restaurant in Austin that served these. They are often served in soup.

Here are some photos of what I'm talking about:


And here is a pretty cool video of a guy making the noodles:


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  1. I've never seen those served in Austin, but if you're ever in Los Angeles, there is a place called "Heavy Noodling" in Monterey Park that makes them that way.

    1. I can't think of anyplace that makes hand-anything noodles in austin, but I bet there is someone hiding somewhere who does. Ask at Pao's, Asia Cafe does not. Houston or Dallas might have a place, I seem to think there is one place, and maybe it's in Dallas, that does.

      I've been to NY a few times in the past year and have made the trek out to the most vibrant new Chinatown in Flushing, just past Shea Stadium, where the best Chinese food seems to be these days. Amazing hand-pulled and knife cut and other hand made noodles, and many other delights.
      Just today the NYTimes did a profile of the neighborhood....so, if you wanna save some airfare, head NE:

      2 Replies
      1. re: sambamaster

        I think European Bistro in Pflugerville makes spätzle, which are noodles or tiny dumplings.

        Mmmm, Spätzle!

        (nostalgia) Many years ago, a little place called Acorn Cafe near UT used to make them!

        1. re: budgethound

          I remember Acorn Cafe very well. I still make a soup that I learned from her.

      2. I understand that this level of hand-crafted noodle (both Chinese and Italian) is becoming a thing of the past, sadly. Not just knife-cut, but made by hand. Though it is fairly easy to learn to make at home. If anyone knows of an Italian place that makes pasta fresh, rolled out on wooden boards, please post here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: taliesin15

          There is a place called Pasta & Co just north of W. 35th on Kerbey Lane that claims to be Austin's only fresh pasta producer on their website (austinpasta.com). The site doesn't detail the process they use to make the pasta and I haven't tried it yet, but they do give you a list of links to places that use their pasta or sauces.

          1. re: toripowell

            It's doubtful anyone makes Italian pasta the "old way" with a rolling pin...even in Bologna, where this stuff is king, or queen, it's becoming harder to find, though it still exists. Most places, even in Italy, at least that I know about, use a crank machine, like the Atlas, though usually larger, to do the actual rolling. It's still pretty darn good that way. On the other hand, the Chinese methods almost seem to be spreading. I was in Seattle two weeks ago to check out a Xi'an place and the guy was pulling each batch of noodles to order. There's a guy here in Portland from Shandong who likewise does his own hand pulled. In NYC, they are all over the place, at one Flushing food court, I saw 2-3 guys pulling and knife cutting noodles, all to order....
            I've tried Pasta & Co and was not impressed, but i bought tortellini for 200 and didn't like them that much. Maybe their simple cut pastas are ok?

        2. there's a new restaurant that opened up in the same shopping center as Asia Cafe. name of the place is Chen's Noodle House. they've got knife-cut noodles there, but doesn't look nearly as appetizing as those pictures you posted. they've got a limited menu, including a beef noodle soup, a lamb noodle soup, a stir fried noodle dish and noodles in black bean sauce.

          9 Replies
          1. re: abidonfood

            I tried Chen's Noodle House right after it opened. Abosolutely love it. Very authentic Northern Chinese style. Tasty soup, not oily at all, no MSG. Since then, I went back almost every day for about one week. :-) Highly recommend the lamb noodle soup,combination noodle soup and stir fried noodle. The owner said he would expand the menu gradually and add lamb kabob --"kao yang rou chuan" very soon. Imagine eating authentic "Kao Chuan" in Austin!!!! I am thrilled.....

            1. re: jacquizhou

              Just tried Chen's Noodle House. Lamb noodle soup ($7.50) with knife-cut noodles was tasty and hearty. Plenty of small chunks of lean meat shared the bowl with fresh, thick noodles, spinach, tomatoes, and cilantro in a savory broth. Wonton soup ($6.50), a generous bowl of plump pork-filled boiled dumplings in rich seaweed soup with some wonderfully funky, salty preserved mustard root, was slightly lighter but still quite filling. Comfort food! The leek pie was crispy and golden brown on the outside, chock-full of tender, pungent Chinese chives on the inside. This is hearty (not spicy) Northern cuisine, a nice alternative to the excellently piquant Sichuan fare available a few doors down at Asia Cafe.

              1. re: budgethound

                Thanks to the above reports, we tried Chen's for lunch recently. We had stir fry noodles and the combo soup. Both were good and mostly tasty--just a tad un-tasty like it needs a bit of salt. Still, watching them cut the noodles was fun and the place feels like it will do well. I've felt that Asia Cafe has declined some of late, and am glad to have another option in that area.

                1. re: Carter B.

                  Just had noodles in lamb broth at Chen's and found it delicious. The broth was muttony with a richness from the fat in the broth (we tend to dislike that in the west, but when I was in China, fat was a good thing.) The noodles are really nice. I want to try some of the other dishes--the leek pies, the stir fried noodles, the wonton soup and the noodles with black bean paste.

                  Whoever said it was northern-style comfort food was right on the mark. This is the kind of food that sticks to your ribs. As soul-satisfying in it's cultural context as mashed potatoes and gravy.

                  1. re: maureenmcq

                    Glad you liked the lamb broth!

                    Here are some appetite-inspiring photos I found on someone else's blog...

              2. re: jacquizhou

                I went today and they were making the kabobs in the back even though it wasn't on the menu yet. So I asked if I could order, and they said yes. They were soooo good. I love that place! Everything I've had there has been authentic and delicious.

              3. re: abidonfood

                Better than my dad's, and he's from Shandong. I hope Chen expands the menu a little, though - I'm jonesing for some true, authentic Da Lu Mian (打滷麵)and Zha Jiang Mian (炸醬麵), now that my dad's moved to California.

                1. re: abidonfood

                  I'm curious whether the noodles w/ black bean sauce has any meat in it. My wife and I are vegetarian, but would really like to try this place. From reading the reviews, it looks like we could get the stir fried noodles without pork and the pancake.

                  1. re: ebloom

                    Yes the noodles with black bean sauce has meat in it. The noodles in that dish are more spaghetti like then the knife cut noodles as well.

                2. Went there for lunch today and thought it was terrific. The broth is very rich with the slightest hint of spiciness. The little chunks of lamb are almost extraneous, the broth is so meaty on its own. And the fresh noodles have this great chewy texture. The leek pie was tasty, too, and was an especially big hit with my 2-year-old. It's filled with not just Chinese chives, but also egg. Those ingredients are wrapped in a scallion-pancake-like dough and fried.

                  For anyone else who is curious, I asked the woman behind the counter, and she said they were from Lanzhou in Northwestern China.