Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Xi'an, Kanda (西安)

Well, Ricky and I are in the same boat despite working for different companies now, and it's nice to get together and rehash the situation. It's even better when he throws out a great idea for a place to eat; thinking back, it seems like his good ideas are mostly Chinese. Crazy stuff though - we walked up Sotobori Dori, which is midway between our offices since he moved, and he was pointing out places right and left that he recommended - none of which I've been to. You'd think hitting 300 places would make a dent in the neighborhood offerings, wouldn'cha?

Xi'an is a chain of toushoumen places. Amusingly, it's a different chain from the other chain of Chinese noodles places that's also called Xi'an, but in kanji - 四安. That's not so nutty if you consider that Xi'an is where the style of noodles come from, but it kept me confused for a few minutes.

Let me run you through toushoumen in case you don't know. Start with a longish mound of noodle dough stretched out on a small board. Hold the board in one hand and a small knife in the other (more like a big flat cutter, like a pastry scraper), and slice thick, rough noodles off the mound. This sends them flying through the air, and directly into a big pot of boiling water. Cook, drain, sauce. Toushoumen.

But man, these noodles blew me away today. I guess we were both in the mood for something spicy, because he got the sanramen (chili and vinegar soup) while I got jajamen (no soup, but a topping of dark miso mixed with ground meat). The noodles are really thick and chewy, but also irregularly-shaped and more dense than springy. For me, this is better than udon of a similar size, which I find to be oddly bouncy (and certainly many people like that). Meat and miso is a winning combination, as is the decent topping of sauteed cabbage that they put on most of the dishes. With a healthy topping of chili sauce, this was a real winner.

Oddly, the mini-side of gyoza was also deserving of mention, but I know you're having a hard time believing that chain Chinese noodles could be this good. Me too, so I'll just say that I really liked it today, I recommend you go, and if it lets you down, let me know and the next lunch is on me.  If you go for dinner to have something like their two-sided spicy hotpot, count me in for that too.

And now I'll go back and fix the name since I got it wrong when I went to the other chain on the other side of Kanda last year...

1 comment:

  1. The noodles were really good. The jajamen sounded good, so I went last week. I guess the menu changes because they said it wasn't available, but would be next week. I'll be back.