Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adventures in Eating: Hand-pulled Noodles

Daniel's idea of comfort food is a steaming bowl of noodles. He treks all over the city for new and authentic styles of ja-ja mein (thin, long noodles covered in ground pork gravy), ramen, soba, and his favorite: dry noodles garnished with meatballs, scallions, and a soupy dipping sauce. 

Daniel is far braver than I am when it comes to these Chinatown adventures. Where I get overwhelmed by the crowds and the underwhelming, slapstick decor, he revels in its "authenticity." He will practically eat anywhere that serves noodles. Period. If he's heard that there's a great bowl in the neighborhood, you better believe that we'll be eating there in the near future.

Even while visiting Seattle, we walked a little over a mile down a sketchy, dimly lit street. There were vacant houses, no other pedestrians, and a used car lot with a fierce guard dog. It was a scene out of a bad horror movie. Our destination was a tiny Vietnamese restaurant. He heard from a local that this family-owned place served great dry noodles covered with cilantro, deep-fried egg rolls, and raw bean sprouts. Instead of topping the noodles with broth, a clear chicken soup was served on the side. The idea is that you dip the noodles into the broth before each bite. Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as we'd hoped. But it was still an adventure.

While I can appreciate the bouncy, slightly chewy texture of a perfectly cooked noodle. It's definitely not my favorite food. But, when we stumbled into Lam Zhou in Chinatown I was pleased to see that they pull each bowl of noodles to order. Which means, it cooks in seconds. Order the ja-ja mein – the soupy versions just don't do the noodles justice – and garlicky hand-made dumplings.
Although these aren't the most amazing noodles in the city, it's still fun to watch the noodle master in action! Check out our video below! (Special thanks to Tae for helping us find the background music.)

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