HOME > Chowhound > Austin >


Knife-cut Noodles in Austin?

  • a

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:


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.

                  1. We tried the mysterious "noodles with black bean sauce" and it came out as a bit of a surprise--it looked all the world like spaghetti with meat sauce. It was merely ok. I like the combo soup the best so far with a side dish of leek pie.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Carter B.

                      I tried Chen's Noodle House last night and I really recommend the food & experience to anyone who enjoys Asian culture. First of all, this is NOT a fancy restaurant - this is a Noodle House You order at the counter and they bring you the food. There's maybe 10 small tables in the restaurant and about 10 items on the menu - that's it (the only beverages are the free water and hot tea).
                      My favorite dish so far has been the wonton soup. The wontons are tender, light and full of flavor - not the doughy things you get at most chinese restaurants these days. The broth is much lighter than any of the other soups and as one of the other posters mentioned there's some tasty seaweed in the broth.
                      I really enjoyed the Green Onion Pancakes - these are light and delicate pancakes, similar to a an Indian Paratha (sp). Very nice appetizer.
                      The Combination soup is a real highlight and this is a very hearty meal - the broth has a slightly gelatinous consistency; there's a generous serving of noodles, diced veggies and meat. Very nice flavor, but I wish it was just a little spicier. This is a hearty meal - you will not leave hungry.
                      The stir fried noodles were very good as well - great ginger flavor. This is another hearty meal.

                      I watched the cook cut the noodles - that was really cool. The noodle dough looks like a gray brick and it's on a piece of wood. The cook takes a knife (or some sharp implement) and quickly shaves off the noodles into a boiling pot of water. It almost looks like he was whittling a stick. Just looking back into the kitchen (you can see the entire kitchen when you order your food) was cool - you know this is authentic food, There were huge broiled legs of lamb laying on the table waiting to be cutup. One of the prep cooks (probably the owner's brother) was peeling/slicing massive quantities of raw ginger.
                      I strongly recommend this place to all hounds - the prices are cheap (most items were below $7). Enjoy

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        My wife and I tried this place for lunch last weekend and greatly enjoyed it. The green onion pie was crisp, flavorful and not greasy. The beef noodle soup was a huge bowl stuffed with noodles and topped with thin slices of tender beef. The flavorful broth was speckled with chili oil. The combo noodles were tremendous. The folks back in the kitchen were very nice and efficient, and kept the place clean. A very enjoyable experience. I'm still thinking about their food and a week has past already.

                        1. re: ridgeback

                          I tried Chen's last night for the first time last night. I had the lamb noodle soup, and I echo your sentiments exactly.
                          Great place. Check it out.

                      2. Does anyone know if they do take-out or is it only dine-in?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: cbrownin

                          I ate there last Sunday and enjoyed it a lot. It is quite far north for me, or I'm sure I would visit fairly regularly. I did notice that they had packed a large serving of soup for someone to-go.

                          I had the lamb noodle soup (the "special lamb" soup was erased from the menu board--and I mean that quite literally--it was just wiped off of the dry erase board, leaving an empty space between other items). I loved the noodles, both flavor and texture. The lamb soup had a deep, well-developed flavor. The cook is in the back, but you can watch him cutting the noodles if you want. I think I'll try the noodle stir-fry next time. For the sides, I preferred the onion pancake, but my friend like the leek pie better. Both were quite simple, but well-made.

                          1. re: cbrownin

                            Their dining room is fairly small (4 or 5 tables), but comfortable. I've gotten to-go from them twice and it travels well.

                            1. re: jwynne2000

                              There were actually 8 tables there on the day I went (I counted)--still quite small. It's a bare-bones operation. They offer water or (free) hot tea to drink (serve yourself).