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Chinatown Restaurants with the Fried Noodles

I figure that this would be the best place to put out this question... I'll be taking my dad and his wife out to dinner in a few weeks before a show at Union Transfer and am thinking that Chinatown is the best bet to suit all of our tastes. I used to work in the area and have many favorite spots, however none none of them fit this one particular requirement. My dad absolutely loves the fried noodles with duck sauce and mustard that are sometimes given at the beginning of a meal. Unfortunately, most of my favorite spots (Vietnam, Lee How Fook, Banana Leaf) dont offer this. I've tried them with him anyway, in the past, hoping that the good food would be enough. This did not go over well. The man loves his free fried noodles and he doesn't mind eating crappy Chinese to get it.

Sooooo that being said, I would love some suggestions of restaurants with great food that serve the noodles! Any thoughts? I never get to Chinatown anymore and don't want to waste an experience on a subpar place. On the other hand, he's my dad and I want him to be happy. Help me, Chowhound!!

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  1. i've gone to david's mai lah wah in the past and have gotten them, though, not every time. maybe you could ask for them if you don't get them? and while you are there, you can get the salt and pepper squid!

    14 Replies
    1. re: purplesachi

      +1 for everything purplesachi said. they have the noodles and one of the best S&P Squid (or S&P anything) in Chinatown.

      1. re: purplesachi

        david's mai lah wah definitetly has them.

        1. re: purplesachi

          Mai Lai Wah also has their spicy shredded pork and turnip soup, which was one of my favorite things to get anywhere in Chinatown before I moved away. And the fried noodles.

          Mai Lai Wah used to be generally terrific. Is it still? They weren't fancy, but their quality level was consistent and high.

          1. re: StrandedYankee

            Yes, I'd like to know if it's any good as well. What else would you order when you went? My visit in December was very disappointing.

            1. re: mookleknuck

              Well, back in the day, they were one of the places that had smoked ducks and slabs of pork hanging in the window. I always considered this to be an excellent sign. I started going there in 1990. Mai Lai Wah was one of the places in Philly that started offering more "Chinese" Chinese food, but they were still treating classic Chinatown dishes with respect. So, they were a true best of both worlds kind of place.

              The Hong Kong wonton soup was always delicious, as were their fried dumplings. My ex wouldn't eat anything at Chinese restaurants except for spare ribs and fried rice. They excelled at both. Of the classic Chinatown dishes, my favorite was their Moo Shu, I usually got either moo shu beef or moo shu vegetable. My introduction to both Chow Fun and Mei Fun was at Mai Lai Wah. I remember that their General Tso's chicken was unusually delicate, but still very crispy and satisfyingly sweet and spicy.

              They kept me as a regular because they were open every night of the week until the middle of the night, so we would all go there after whatever we'd been doing. Since we were in the habit of going there late at night, it often got nominated at a place to meet up and start the evening. I discovered that she who finishes the night with a huge bowl of spicy shredded pork and turnip soup will never have a hangover come daylight. And it was delicious.

              1. re: StrandedYankee

                Thanks, StrandedYankee. I'll keep those dishes in mind should I bring myself back to David's.

              2. re: mookleknuck

                i often agree with you on the disappointing...the egg rolls are great as are the soups. every time i went i would always see other asians eating the clams so one day i finally ordered them as well - delicious! the one thing gets me though is most of the stuff does not come with rice so it needs to be ordered separately.

                1. re: pie22

                  One of the things that I thought was disappointing WAS the egg roll. It was clear that they were premade and served cold-lukewarm with a lot of cheap underseasoned cabbage as a filler.

                  Thank you for recommending the clams though!

                  1. re: mookleknuck

                    oh that is disappointing, i have always had good, hot egg rolls there (unsure if they were pre-rolled but they were not frozen variety).

                    1. re: pie22

                      I don't know if they made their egg rolls or if they were bought, but I don't really care since it was bad!

                      1. re: mookleknuck

                        Well, if they did make them by hand fresh in the restaurant, and they were still crappy...that just seems somehow sadder than if they brought them in frozen.

                          1. re: mookleknuck

                            It's the difference between someone trying really hard and failing and someone just not trying. If someone doesn't try, then whatever. On the other hand, when they work and slave, trying their best and still fail...that's pitiable. It makes the observer feel sad.