No Pasta Machine Needed

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PFF frequents Chinatown to horde pastries and buns from KC Pastries, try new restaurants, and eat dimsum. There are only three food establishments in Chinatown, however, that continue receive our patronage on a regular basis: KC (already mentioned), TeaDo (for another day), and Nan Zhou Hand-Drawn Noodle House. Needless to say, if the noodle house is our “default” restaurant for Chinatown, they must be doing something right. Following is a no-frills review for a no-frills restaurant.

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The environment itself is nothing fancy—just bright lighting, potted plants, and a window that allows customers to see the process of making the noodles. Service is quick and efficient (even so, there may be a line forming outside the restaurant during busy weekend lunch hours), and prices are more than decent for the sheer amount of food. The appetizers are tasty (spicy pig’s ears!), and no, you do not get a fortune cookie at the end of the meal. But the noodles. So good.

If you’ve never had hand drawn noodles, do yourself a favor and give this place a try. The texture of the noodles is on a different level compared to dried noodles or machine cut ones. Perhaps it has something to do with the stretching of the flour—my opinion is that the texture of the noodles that are created through such an organic method creates greater surface area for the noodles to absorb the soup. Regardless, the noodles are tasty. The actual noodle bowls consist of the more or less broth (which is well-seasoned, by the way) with some vegetables and additional ingredients (beef brisket, beef tendon, eggs, duck, etc.). The broth really works well with the noodles, and all together you get a great and satisfying meal. The bowls do come with cilantro, and if you are heavily averse to the coriander taste, ask for the removal of cilantro.

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As if that was not enough, they also offer additional options for the noodles. There are thick hand-drawn noodles, thin hand-drawn noodles, and knife-cut (or shaved) noodles—which, as the name suggests, are noodles cut from the dough. Be sure to try them all and find your own favorite!

Nicole writes:
“Watching someone make hand-drawn noodles is a magical experience. The chef in the kitchen takes a simple ball of flour and water and effortlessly exercises his talents: he pulls the dough in the air to span as wide as his arms, loops the edible ropes together, and thwacks the dough against the floured counter surface. In moments, he has transformed the mound into fine, delicate noodle strands ready for cooking and slurping.

The base broth–flavored with whole chicken pieces, beef bones, star anise, and ginger–is livened up by crunchy pickled cabbage and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Nestled in the bowl of hearty brew are those long, pleasantly springy noodles hand-pulled just moments before. I am quick to order my bowl of noodles with tender beef brisket or crisp roast duck.”

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Speaking of personal recommendations, we each have our own favorites.

Edward: Beef Tendon Noodles
Qingxin: Duck Noodles
Nicole: Beef Brisket or Duck Noodles

As for ratings,

Edward: ★★★★1/2
Qingxin: ★★★★1/2
Nicole: ★★★★1/4

Nan Zhou Hand-Drawn Noodle House ★★★★1/2
1022 Race St

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