Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nanzhou Hand-drawn Noodle House : Philadelphia

I feel bad that I don't do a thorough review of Nanzhou Hand-drawn Noodle House (see here for my last "review.") It truly is one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia and the first restaurant I stopped at, when I came back from summer break.

Yet here I am describing a dining experience from over 5 months ago and with blurry pics to match. Lovely.

Anyways, if you've never been here or never been to a Chinese noodle shop where they hand-draw their own noodles, you really owe it to yourself to try it out.

Yes, the clientele is mostly Chinese. As the always insightful Philadining mentions in his old review, there is probably a lot lost in the English translation of the menu. But it is such a simple and delightful eating experience.

First the food. I usually go for the noodle soups with meat.

The meat is generally juicy and slow-cooked, giving the broth a decently umami taste. But for me, it's the noodles that get me every single time: some fat, some thin, all with their delicious and definitively home-made texture.

It's funny - as a kid, when I was getting full, my parents always trained me to eat the remaining parts of the dish in order of what was most expensive: first seafood, second meats, third vegetables and lastly staples like rice, noodles. But as I get full at Nanzhou HDNH, my trained instincts always conflict with my desires to finish off the noodles, not the meat. (Yes, I'm aware that either way, it's a completely madhouse irrational thought-process, particularly since the dishes are so cheap: ~$7.)

Anyhow, moving onward, I of course need to note the experience of watching the sifu's in the back, work their magic, doubling and redoubling the strands of noodles. Alton Brown covered this in a segment, but I think it's a heck of lot more fun, watching it in the smaller and anti-glamorous environment of Nanzhou HDNH.

And of course, if you get bored with noodle watching, there's always people-watching and the tv, playing karaoke, Chinese news or random drama series.

I'm sorry Nanzhou Hand-Drawn Noodle House. One of these days, I'll do you a proper review with photos to match. You deserve it.

Nanzhou Hand-Drawn Noodle House
927 Race St, Philadelphia, PA‎ (Map)
(215) 923-1550‎
($Chinese, $Philadelphia, $Recommended)

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