Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Xian, Kanda (西安刀削麺 酒楼)

Well, if you can read those kanji you'll know that I had toushoumen for lunch today. I was pretty happy about it too - I thought this place was good.

Toushoumen are a sort of performance-art food, a little like the picci that were on the menu at Il Pacioccone last Friday night. By this I mean they're made fresh - really fresh. In fact, the chef stands in front of a pot and slices the noodles off one by one, sending them flying into the boiling water. (Picci are cut and briefly hand-rolled on a floured board, which gives them an even springier texture, but you get the idea.)

At Shu Rou you can then choose what you want your noodles mixed with; I was confused by the overall Chineesity of the setting and just ordered the Ninki #1!!! which turned out to be a sort of soupy tantanmen. By this I mean - boiled noodles in a thin pork soup, with chunks of cooked ground pork, and half an inch of chili oil on top. I kid, but not by much - it was seriously oiled. Obviously you're not meant to drink this, but it coats the noodles when you drag them through it. Bibs are helpfully provided. The noodles are as fresh as you'd like, being sliced off the loaf of dough half a second before hitting the water; the only criticism I can level is that they get a bit samey tasting by the end of the bowl, and that the spiciness quickly overpowers any flavor that the noodles might have.

Perfectly fresh noodles, spicy soup, pork, and a heaping helping of god's favorite herb, cilantro, and I was more than happy. This goes on the list for places I'd like to visit again, sometime in the blissful future when I'm allowed to revisit lunch restaurants.

Coincidentally, another outlet of the chain is on my cycling route home from work, and dinners don't violate the no-repeats rule...

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