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Apr 17, 2010 09:38 AM

Wonton Noodle House, Edmonds

This restaurant opened about a month ago across the street from Ranch Market 99.
I am a huge fan of Asian noodle soups, but I've never had what might be considered an authentic Wonton Noodle Soup.
Three other tables in the restaurant were filled with Asian customers.
Based on recommendation from the waitress, I had the dumpling noodle soup.
The dumplings were pork and shrimp mixture and quite tasty. The noodles and the broth had a shrimpy flavor that didn't do anything for me. What should I look for in a wonton noodle soup? What should I have expected? What should I have ordered?

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  1. Things to look for in wonton noodle soup:
    - Wontons should feature fresh, almost tender, slightly crispy shrimp with thin wrap
    - Soup should be fairly low-profile and not heavy; should not detract from the taste of the wonton, usually just a few scattered pieces of scallions or green onions, with maybe one or two pieces of bok choy.

    Mike's Noodle House in ID is about as good as it gets. It's actually better than, save 2 or 3 places, most places even in Vancouver. Bamboo Garden also makes a good one (albeit pork-only) with hot sauce (Sichuan style, not Cantonese)

    Bamboo Garden
    202 106th Pl NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

    Mike's Noodle House
    418 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

    10 Replies
    1. re: HungWeiLo

      I am baffled by the love for Mike's. The wonton soup we had (two kinds) tasted like dirty dishwater (if you asked my husband) or musty and awful (my description). It would have been inedible except for the large amounts of soy sauce we dumped in it, and then we could stomach about half our bowls. But all around us customers were happily slurping away.

      1. re: christy319

        If you felt inclined to add large amounts of soy sauce into your soup, then wonton noodle soups are probably not your thing.

        1. re: HungWeiLo

          I agree with christy319. I went to Mike's yesterday and had the wonton soup. The dumplings were okay--plump with shrimp and (slightly gristly) pork--but the broth did come across much as christy319 described it. I thought it was too salty, so adding soy sauce was out of the question. I tried adding chili sauce, but it was stale tasting. The final insult was what appeared to be slices of yellowing, old green onion floating on top. Is this the way it's supposed to be served? Is the "mustiness" an acquired taste? I'm afraid I don't get it.

          Next time, I'll head one block over to Pho Bac for a phenomenally fresh tasting bowl of pho . . .

          1. re: LemonyRoux

            It's probably an acquired taste for you too, then. I've known people other than you and Christy who don't like it. The consistency of the broth is somewhere between water and chicken stock, so that alone turns off some people.

            But rest assured that Mike's is the most authentic and high quality wonton noodles that one can find in Seattle by a long shot (along with places like Hong Kong bistro, which is no slouch either). They compare pretty favorably even to places up in Vancouver - which makes them pretty much the only component of Cantonese cuisine that even comes close to being acceptable in Seattle.

      2. re: HungWeiLo

        I am also not clear why the great love of Mike’s I think Canton Wonton House a few blocks away has a much more flavorful broth and better tasting dumplings.

        Canton Wonton House
        608 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104

        1. re: Charles

          I find the broth between the two to be similar (but again, the broth is never the main emphasis anyways), but the wontons themselves are night and day. Canton Wonton House uses very cheap ingredients. It's not even in the same ball park. Their only business advantage is that they accept credit cards.

          I know Chinese people who actually drive down from Vancouver to eat at Mike's, when they already have literally close to a hundred places to choose from. Likewise with people from Portland, until the 2nd branch of Mike's opened down there.

          At my work, I often have to take Asian clients out for lunch. These people have eaten at the best of the best throughout Asia (on company expense account, of course) and they have nothing but good things to say about Mike's.

          Mike's is an oasis of authenticity and quality in a desert of otherwise average to mediocre Asian food in Seattle.

          Canton Wonton House
          608 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104

        2. re: HungWeiLo

          HongWeiLo, the wonton soup I had last night in a distant land met your criteria (including the taste and texture of the giant shrimp) plus added lacquered duck pieces. Does anyone in Seattle do a soup with this addition? We all really liked it.

          1. re: RandyB

            In the ID, 663 would offer BBQ duck in a noodle soup. Probably also with wontons if you order it.

          2. re: HungWeiLo

            Good recs.
            Have you tried the Canton Wonton House a few blocks from Mikes? One guy, one gal, 1 bowl. Delicious. I remember the old guy and his wife, (retired or passed on ow) in the former location (just down the block from Mike's) that collapsed in a big storm many years ago. He had a green birthmark (or tatoo?) covering half his face diagonally. You could see him through the steamy window. Scary for a white guy to wander in. But I did and was rewarded.
            What do you like in Van. as I am headed there next week?

            1. re: HungWeiLo

              "Things to look for in wonton noodle soup:"

              3) The noodles. To me, the noodles make-or-break the soup more than the wontons or the broth. The best ones should be fresh, slightly chewy with a good taste, and you need to eat right away before they become too mushy.

            2. I finally tried the Edmonds Wonton Noodle House tonight. It's like Mike's Noodle House in style (and a similar menu), but with a bit more peasant approach to the food - a little more rough around the edges and with a bit less finesse in the ingredients and wonton makeup. Overall very good, especially not having to find parking in Chinatown.

              Which brings up another point - I know Wonton City in Bellevue has its share of fans around here. I've had the opportunity to try it twice in the last several weeks (initial visit being from several years back), and have found it so poor in quality that I'm wondering if it's actually a front for money laundering. All kidding aside, they'll probably close their doors for good after Din Tai Fung moves into Bellevue, along with whoever decides to open an actually good wonton shop on the east side.

              Mike's Noodle House
              418 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

              8 Replies
              1. re: HungWeiLo

                What did you have?
                I liked their dumplings and the filling. The noodles and the broth had a funny taste to me.
                Any recommendations?

                1. re: ritabwh

                  I had their namesake shrimp+pork wonton, and also tried one of their congees (it was OK). I did not try their dumplings (which I assume would be pretty good).

                  The soup is probably made from some hint of shrimp or fish stock. If you don't like it, these types of shops usually also serve them soup-less on a plate. Likewise with the egg noodles - there may be alternatives to choose from such as wide rice noodles which I opt for on some occasions.

                  Another good place to try is Hong Kong Bistro in the ID, plus there's a lot of other types of food to get besides wonton and noodles.

                2. re: HungWeiLo

                  I tried Mike's Noodle House the other day and felt a bit disappointed. I had the sui kau noodle soup and while I appreciated the large shrimp and black fungus, the broth was a bit too shrimpy for my taste. Perhaps the pork wonton noodle soup is less shrimpy? I noticed that it didn't have any sort of green vegetable, although I think there was some chopped up scallion, unfortunately mine was was yellow, not green. Ergh.

                  I haven't been to Wonton City in a year or two, but I remember their broth having much more depth, more meaty than fishy, and included baby bok choy or gai lan. I also thought their red vinegar was much better than the stuff they serve at Mike's. I did notice that Mike's has a much more extensive menu, but when I hit up a noodle house, all I need is bowl of noodle soup, some chinese donuts, hot chili oil and vinegar. I think I ought to try Wonton City again to see if my recollection is still correct or if something has changed since then.

                  Mike's Noodle House
                  418 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                  1. re: soypower

                    I think Mike's uses dried shrimp in the broth so thats probably what you tasted.

                    We like Mikes. It tastes just like what we had in China and is perfect comfort food for cranky chowpups. Mike's also makes an awesome pumpkin congee with 2 different types of pumpkin.

                    For green veg, we go for the stirfried lettuce and the chinese brocelli---If I were a head of iceberg Lettuce, i would come to mikes to "die." Who knew iceberg could be so yummy?

                    1. re: soypower

                      If you don't like the shrimpy flavor, then Wonton Noodle House in Edmonds is even worse in that regard. It's a bit too overbearing. Although I've noticed them toning it down after not having gone back in a few months - probably due to customer feedback.

                      And re: the shrimpy flavor in general - it is a clear broth with scallions cooking raw shrimp in it, so the flavor is generally unavoidable even if they don't toss it some dried shrimp like jenn says. I know some people use hot sauce to "help" with that.

                      1. re: HungWeiLo

                        Responding to the general comments about broths served at Mike's, Wonton Noodle House etc. Today I went to Canton Noodle House for the first time, and I liked the siu kau quite a bit. The noodles and broth had a very pungent, quasi-chemical smell, almost like mild ammonia--not inedible by any means, but also not exactly pleasant to my taste.

                        Sense-memory immediatley took me back to my most recent visit to Mike's, when one of the dishes that I took out--which I think was beef sauteed with ginger--had the same taste.

                        Some have referenced the use of dried shrimp in the broth, and maybe that is what provides this flavor. Is this is what is intended with this style? Is this an aberration, or possible overdose of MSG?

                        1. re: equinoise

                          Equinoise, when you mentioned chemically smell taste in a stir-fried beef dish, I was thinking it may be baking soda? Chinese cooks often use baking soda and cornstarch to tenderize/silken meat. They sometimes use this mixture on shrimp to make the texture bouncy. I tried a stir fried beef recipe once that used both and the results taste chemically to me. So now, I used the baking soda sparingly first and then rinse the meat or shrimp before proceeding with the recipes.

                          1. re: equinoise

                            I think you might be smelling sodium bisulphite. It is a sulphite solution that is (unfortunately) used sometimes on cut vegetables, and even sometimes on chopped meats, to keep them from turning brown and oxidized. Winemakers sometimes use it too, and you can occasionally pick up that smell in cheap wine, especially reds.

                    2. Tried Hue Ky Mi Gia last night and now think it will be my go-to for Cantonese won ton, noodle, sui kau etc. Everything seemed remarkably fresh and the broth had none of the odd aromas that had been discussed below. One might miss some of the specials and side dishes available at Mike's and Canton Wonton, but the butter fried chicken wings at Hue Ky Mi Gia make for delicious compensation.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: equinoise

                        not to mention it is rare to get great service at a noodle house. but HKMG definitely has it. I once got a service survey to fill out there. Unheard of!!