China Magic Noodle House
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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...
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.