Very Fresh Noodles: Embracing Shaanxi Traditions
Game-changing noodles are in the works among the bustling food stalls of the madhouse we like to call "Chelsea Market". Very Fresh Noodles specializes in hand-pulled, high-protein noodles that features noodle-crafting styles from Shaanxi in northwestern China. Here, you'll find that the noodles have a unique flavor and elasticity.
Owners Peter Tondreau and Victor Huang have recently expanded out of their original cramped corner to a more spacious area within the market. And, it's about time. The previous spot barely had any space to eat! If you were lucky, you could get a spot by one of two windowsills. Go early to avoid the crazy lunch crowds. But, if you can't, I think it's still worthwhile to brave that long queue. Steph and I got the Very Spicy Dan Dan Mian and the La Mei Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. Both dishes surpassed my expectations.
Personally, I liked the La Mei Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup the most. I could enjoy that all day. The noodles were nicely chewy. The beef shanks were tender and meaty. But, the soup was unreal. It was aromatic thanks to flavors of orange peel, tomatoes, and doubanjiang (fermented broad bean paste). The flavor was earthy, spicy, and slightly nutty.
For my next visit, I'm going to try the Tingly Cumin Lamb Noodles! I can't wait. Looking forward to my next visit.
To start, Steph and I got the Very Spicy Dan Dan Mian. Steph loves getting dan dan noodles wherever we go. Obviously, we had to get these when we saw it on the menu at Very Fresh Noodles. Given that they explicitly described these noods as "Very Spicy", Steph felt obliged to challenge that.
Check out that epic noodle pull below...
Very Fresh Noodles' dan dan comes with tingly ma la spices, scallions, fried broad beans, and cucumber. These ma la spices are the ones that induce that fiery, numbing feeling. Before consuming, they suggest mixing up all the different ingredients for an optimal experience.
For these noodles, you can choose between the traditional pork version or a vegan version with soy protein.
The noodles were pretty good. Nicely done. Not al dente but it's just the way it's supposed to be. The flavor was unforgettable. I enjoyed this dish a lot. In terms of heat, the spice levels on this one are not to be messed with. Pair with some chrysanthemum tea to cool off. [$11.94 USD]
We also shared the La Mei Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. Wow. This was seriously good. It came with Slow-Braised Beef Shanks, Hand-pulled Noodles, Pickled Mustard Greens, Bok Choy, Scallion, Cilantro, and Chili Oil in a Hot Beef Soup.
The beef shanks? Absurdly tender meat. The soup? I just wanted to swim in that. The noodles? VERY FRESH (nicely al dente too).
This was my favorite noodle dish. [$12.86 USD]