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China Magic Noodle House

d
dombey Dec 11, 2010 11:37 AM

The wife and I have been meaning to try the China Magic Noodle House for months after reading that they make their own noodles fresh to order. The only thing keeping us from trying it is the 30 minute drive from Central Phoenix (it's on Dobson & Warner in Chandler).

I spent 8 months living in China and it wasn't an american tour. I lived with Chinese roommates and ate in local street markets the majority of the time I was there...it has been 10 years since I left. I'm not going to say I haven't found good chinese food in the US since returning, but I have to say that what we ate today at China Magic was the first place that actually reminded me of dishes we actually had in China in terms of texture and taste. (ie I've had great food especially in NY and SF, but never saw or ate those dishes while in china)

We didn't get to sample much of the menu, as I had already eaten and we just stopped to get my wife something to eat. We started with the steamed dumplings. Depending on what you're used to, you might not dig them...but they have incredibly thick, chewy skins that were obviously made by the same noodle guy (who I'll talk about in a minute) minutes before stuffing w/ filling and steaming them. The difference between these and most dumplings you get in the US is substantial; it's a texture thing as much as it is taste. No see-through skins here. Probably the thickest, chewiest skins I've had in the US and it brought me back to China...and I loved it!!! Some of the best meals I had in China (and there were many great ones) consisted of dumplings, and I haven't really had anything like it again until today.
Best part was you get 8 large dumplings for like 5 bucks.

For our entrees we both got noodle soups. I had the beef soup, the wife had a seafood soup. Like $6 each. HUGE portions compared to most places; there is a large grapefruit-sized ball of noodles in the bowl. The noodles are the star...there is this guy behind a display window (with a tip jar, lol) that you can watch make your noodles to order. He does it the traditional way, spinning and slapping them around. You just don't see that kind of stuff in the southwest very often, and I'm very happy to see it!! The texture is completely different from most noodle soups you get for the same reason the dumplings were so great - chewy texture and great flavor. The soup base was flavorful and the beef tender - not the best soup I've ever had but it was pretty dang good.
The wife scarfed her entire bowl, and she claims we're making the 30 minute drive again in the near future.

They have a lot of different types of noodles and dishes on the menu; I'm planning on ordering the dumplings and something new next time we go...

Anyways, as you can probably tell, I'm a fan and we're exicited to have this place in town.

  1. ipsedixit Dec 11, 2010 12:17 PM

    The noodles here are very good, but everything else on the menu just falls short a bit. I actually think their knife-cut noodles are better than their hand-pulled ones.

    1. Jen76 Dec 11, 2010 02:18 PM

      I like the beef soup a lot, especially the bits of pickled cabbage they usually put in. Last time we went, I didn't get any cabbage and I was disappointed. Love the "dumpings" (look closely at the menu, they forgot the 'L' and it cracks us up every time) but we usually get them fried. Yum. The man tou donut things are good, too. Hot, fluffy goodness.

      I've had the stirfried beef noodles. While the noodles themselves are indeed good, the dish as a whole just seemed to be missing something. The noodles with oyster sauce were nasty. I don't know what that pale gravy stuff we got was, but it was awful and didn't look anything like the picture or taste anything like oyster sauce.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jen76
        m
        modthyrth Jan 11, 2011 10:38 AM

        Those dumplings are absolutely delicious! They taste a lot like the ones I make at home, from a snack food recipe book (printed in both Chinese and English) that my parents bought in Hong Kong when we lived in the PI. My wrappers always end up thicker and kind of chewy (just like the ones at China Magic Noodle!) and I always wondered if I just had bad technique. Maybe not, after all!

      2. z
        ziggylu Dec 11, 2010 08:18 PM

        We've only been here once. We live very nearby. Like others we were disappointed and underwhelmed by our choices...one was beef with lemon or lemon garlic sauce and the other I don't even remember. The noodles themselves weren't and but everything else on the plate was unimpressive:sauces, ingredients, seasonings...

        Maybe we need to go back and try the soup?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ziggylu
          Jen76 Dec 12, 2010 07:08 AM

          Do try the soup, dumplings and mantou. I think of all the things we've tried there, those are the ones that shine.

        2. t
          tivon Dec 16, 2010 09:07 AM

          I've been twice, try the hand pulled, with ground pork noodles. Also check out the board for specials, which is where you might find the vegetables...

          1. jkgourmet Dec 20, 2010 12:28 PM

            Two separate visits, outrageously good fresh hand-pulled noodles (especially the shaved and thick noodles) and amazingly low prices.

            Pot-stickers are very, very good. Pan fried - for once they are not too crispy or dried out, like most valley restaurant prepare them. The dipping sauce that accompanies them is good, but add a bit of red chile oil to your plate, a splash of black vinegar. Now you've got the real Chinatown pot sticker good stuff.

            5 different kinds of noodles -ask the waiter which one goes best with your choices. The beef with shaved noodles was terrific - beef just melted in your mouth. How do they do that with beef? We also ordered the shrimp curry with thin pulled noodles. The shrimp were large, sweet and perfectly cooked. The curry sauce was not all that great, and I wouldn't order it again - but I'd order another dish with those shrimp without hesitation.

            Chicken fried rice, not usually one of my favorites, was a shining star in this place. Again, the meat was tender, moist - and all white meat chicken. Vegetables in the friend rice remained just a bit crunchy to give it some character.

            Beef soup with noodles. Again, that superb tender beef. Broth was deep flavored, with a distinct tinge of anise. Just wonderful.

            Service is friendly, helpful and anxious to please. Excellent service from Charles, and nice guy to chat with.

            If you like authentic Chinese noodles, don't miss out on this place. I'm anxious to go back and try the noodles with XO sauce and more of the soups, but I suspect that we'll stick with the thick or shaved noodles unless we get soup.

            jkgourmet
            www.AnythingGoesGourmet.com

            1. Veggie Liv Dec 23, 2010 09:20 AM

              Do they have anything vegetarian, or is it all meat based?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Veggie Liv
                hohokam Dec 23, 2010 11:31 AM

                The online menu on China Magic Noodle House's website indicates that they do have some potentially vegetarian options. If you are concerned about non-vegetarian ingredients (e.g., oyster sauce, chicken stock) being included in otherwise vegetarian dishes, you might want to check with the restaurant staff before ordering or before venturing over.

                -----
                China Magic Noodle House
                2015 N Dobson Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

                1. re: Veggie Liv
                  ipsedixit Dec 23, 2010 07:12 PM

                  They have several vegetarian noodle options (both stir-fried and soup based). And, really, noodles are the only thing worth getting there.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    jkgourmet Dec 28, 2010 08:20 AM

                    Ipsedixit - the potstickers are very, very good. And the beef was terrific, in all preparations. Noodle based dishes are 95% of the menu, so noodles are indeed the reason to go.

                    Several options for vegetarians, but hohokam makes a good point about the sauces.

                    Jeanette
                    www.AnythingGoesGourmet.com

                    1. re: jkgourmet
                      ipsedixit Dec 28, 2010 09:19 AM

                      Really, everything other than the hand-made noodles on the menu (save for maybe some of the preserved pig offal items) are really to entice the American clientele who neither can appreciate nor care for hand-pulled noodles.

                2. w
                  weepiggy Jul 4, 2011 12:48 PM

                  This is my favorite Chinese place, and really the only place in East Valley serving anything authentic. However, recently, they have a gal server who is very incompetent. She can't get any orders right and then tries to cover it up. She is not attentive to the customer. We hope the owner finds out and gets rid of her.

                  1. b
                    BkkGuy Oct 22, 2011 08:38 AM

                    I agree with the original poster. We moved here from Asia and this is about as authentic as it gets locally. It's pretty much exactly like being in the same type of restaurant in China. We've eaten almost everything on the menu and we've never had anything we didn't like. And it's a superb value. They don't cater to the American taste in any way though, so if you've never had this kind of northern Chinese food before you may find it heavy and/or oily. I love it personally.

                    -----
                    China Magic Noodle House
                    2015 N Dobson Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

                    1. Dapuma Oct 14, 2012 07:10 PM

                      Here is my review of vist 1 and visit 2

                      Visit 1:

                      Went there yesterday for the first time

                      It was pretty good, as soon as I sat down I got some brown round things with what looked like daikon...fired them down...pretty good, I believe they are boiled peanuts and either daikon or pickled radish, they were nice to crunch on

                      Went with the Spicy Beef with XO Sauce and thick noodles, as I love the thick Udon noodles in the soup at Hiro Sushi and I was happy to find that the chewiness and texture was very similar, so I was quite happy with them

                      I wish there was a bit more beef and heat, however a couple teaspoons of chile paste and a dash or two of vinegar and I got the heat and tang in the right direction, probably takes a few tries to perfect it, kind of like Pho

                      I would really like to try some soup there, because for some reason i had a spoon ready even though I knew I didn't order soup, oxtail is calling my name

                      I did not try any of their boba drinks, mainly because being that close to Lee's Sandwiches (across the street) and not getting and iced coffee after noodles would have been wrong

                      Visit 2

                      went here for a 2nd time, as i was craving some soup, and had the Ox tail Soup with the hand pull noodles and also the salt and pepper shrimp

                      They have moved the specials board onto the menu itself, if you are looking at it on Yelp, the specials are not on those pictures and the prices are about 30-50 cents higher on average

                      Turns out I like oxtail when someone takes it off the bone for me, versus me doing all the work, the oxtail had a few good bites in it and a few a bit more grisley bits to it - the broth still had good flavor (it is like Pho, you have to add stuff to it, white pepper / soy sauce / vinegar / siracha / chili paste) then you get it to the right flavor profile you want, i had it with the hand pulled noodles letter C - which is what he recommended, i think i prefer everything with the thick udon like noodles...however quite good and satisfied the craving for spicy beef broth based soup

                      The star was salt and pepper shrimp for $8 they gave me a dinner sized plate stacked with two levels of shrimp, it must have been over a pound of shrimp there, no idea how they are making any money on that, but I am not complaining

                      They were cooked perfectly (read as not overdone and rubbery) and had a great crispiness on the outside (salt and pepper have the shell on if you have never had them, perhaps strange the first time you eat them, but then you start to crave them that way), and good flavoring served on a bed of lettuce with some jalepeno's diced throughout and some dashed on it, i couldnt say exactly what it was my guy says fish sauce but i doubt it in a chinese restaurant - regardless this provided the meatiness i was craving and i got the beef broth flavor from the soup with noodles, and still had over 10+ shrimp to take home

                      20 bucks including tip - good stuff

                      I forgot to look at what the other Chef's Specials were, but nothing was that expensive so it is certainly worth going there and picking that sounds good and giving it a shot - will probably stop back in a week or two and try something else new and report back, but def get the salt and pepper shrimp if you have not had it there yet

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