I never thought this would happen to me...
Coming up with intros to these blog posts is hard when we've written 512 zillion of them. Much like all those letters to lewd magazines that start with "I never thought this would happen to me...", we're tempted to start every blog post with "I've walked past this place a thousand times and never thought to enter". Because it's true.
For years Mr Shawn has walked by Chinatown Noodle King tempted by the kangaroo stir fry in the blacklit picture menus, but Miss Chicken was never keen to participate. So he got her drunk and she consented. Now there's a lesson for the kiddies.
On our first visit we were drunk but still too cheap for the kangaroo stir fry, it was thirty bucks, and we're StreetFood. There's some pricey dishes on the menu but there's plenty of joy in the tightwad sections of the menu as well. The noodles are excellent, they're made by a Noodle King after all, and there's plenty of interesting side dishes as well.
Chinatown Noodle King is pure old school Chinatown. It's chaotic yet relaxed, a bit shabby and rundown in a good way, in a perfect way. We love it to bits. Neil Perry gives it the ponytail up as well. Now to get drunk enough to shell out for the kangaroo stir fry...
Enter via a passageway with an open kitchen down one wall and a few tables on the other. The chefs often wave and smile. One of the main chefs looks like he's about to go off for a spot of ballroom dancing after his shift, his hair is so neat and slicked back and he moves with the grace of a dancer as he negotiates the tight kitchen.
The long corridor opens out into a small casual dining area with a few wooden tables.
And there's a small section of booths upstairs which has casual hangout atmosphere, complete with magazine rack. This is a choice spot to feast with a few friends.
Handmade noodles with twice cooked pork. Thin slices of cooked pork belly mixed with large chunks of capsicum and green garlic shoots. The noodles had the give at the bite you would expect and the difficulty of getting off the plate without wearing them as an unexpected splatter.
Spicy beef burger. We never thought we would find a Chinese burger as magnificent as at Xi'an Cuisine, but here it is. This one is a beef version with an outstanding crispy bun.
Stir fried sliced pancake with pork - about $10.80. Savoury pancakes sliced and stirfried with swine. Magnificent, calorific, insane after a few beers.
Ox tripe brochette with special sesame & peanut butter - $10.80. It may sound weird but the tripe is a textural masterpiece, it is finely cut and served cold so the flavour is fresh clean and subtle. It works perfectly with sesame and peanut butter sauce. Yay.
The cucumber is beautifully sliced and arranged.
Ten pieces of steamed pancake ($5.80) with Stir fried silver fish and egg ($7.80). The pancakes are fresh and light. The fish and egg filling is like salty, fishy scrambled eggs. The balance of the egg and salty fish flavours are spot on. Roll it up in a pancake and enjoy.
Other flavours to fill your pancakes include: shredded pork in Peking sauce, stir fried eggs and chives, stir fried pork mince vermicelli, stir fried hot and sour potato slices and stir fried chives and bean sprouts.
Chinatown Noodle King is the first Chinese restaurant in living history to get the correct pancake to filling ratio, most joints give two pancakes per metric tonne of filling, leaving you with a mound of filling and nothing to wrap it in. But Noodle King's pancake genius doesn't stop there. You can order your pancakes separately to the filling, great for unplanned pancake disasters, and for those who roll racehorses or wrap around everything like pancake floozies.
Braised duck stewed with pumpkin - $19.80. The pumpkin is perfectly cooked with just a little bight to it, though it goes soggy in time as expected. The duck lacked some quack, it was all bony neck bits with little flesh. The sauce had a mild curry flavour. An unusual dish. Miss Chicken loved it. Mr Shawn thought it was so-so.
Beef with handmade noodle soup - $10.90. Noodles have a nice chomp, there's several hunks of stewed beef and the broth is sweet and soothing. In the background we have Spicy dumpling soup - about $10.
Egg & chives. Keeping with our vegetable obsession we try and order the snow pea sprouts but they were all out, so we go for egg and chives. Light, springy, yum.
Cold starch salad - about $9.80. Wonderful thick handmade noodles with a few hunks of glutinous starch, topped with shredded cucumber, dressed with sweet peanut-y sauce. Highly recommended.
Stir fried snow pea sprouts - about $13. Lovely stir fried greens in a light salty sauce. Amazing texture. Awesome.
Four dollar Noobs and Veebees! Five-fiddy Crownies and Tsingies!
Chinatown Noodle King as at 357 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW 2000.
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