25 March 2015
Like Noodle ~ Shanghai Chinese - Hurstville
There's a flush of new stores open at the top of Forest Road in Hurstville. There's been some considerable construction work going on in the suburb, which has changed the feel of the area from a smaller shopping strip surrounding the Westfield Gulag to dense mid rise apartments with empty new shop spaces underneath. The train station has undergone a renovation with a self contained shopping centre over the tracks (more on that later) which may have added to the change in the shopping strip as well.
Up towards the bus interchange, Like Noodle is one of the newer style of noodle houses that seem to be popping up in the traditional CBD Chinatown and out here in Sydney's modern day one, where the Chinese population is the largest in Sydney. These new stores are shiny and bright and seem to have a design aesthetic which incorporates some old style images of Chinese culture with new pale wood furnishings, exposed brick and happy decorations. They're franchise ready, with a logo and a look that is easy to replicate.
We've almost been deceived into thinking of these places as probably higher priced because of the clean decor, but there are good value noodle soups here and a daily special that offers a chance to try out popular dishes at a cheaper price.
There's space inside for larger groups and the service is keen and fast. The main menu offers a basic soup that can be tailored to taste, adding one or two toppings of choice. There are cold side dishes and a number of 'with rice' dishes offered, dumplings both steamed and pan fried and a range of prices for most budgets. Chinese tea is served free.
#101 Shanghai style deep fried fish - $8.80. Served cold as per tradition in a 'secret' sauce. It's a fishy tasting fish in a sweet sauce, good to nibble on while waiting for the noodle mains.
#411 Shanghai style noodle soup - fish-flavoured shredded pork in hot sauce $9.50. 'Fish flavour' is a classic taste of Sichuan cooking which doesn't actually contain any fish, its about using the same seasoning as you would for a fishy dish and substituting meat. The strips of pork are tender and float on top of a bright red pool of hot sauce. Keeping the sauce to one side didn't overpower the soup and allowed you to dip slowly through the cleaner broth, just adding a little bit of the sauce, until the broth was gone and the noodles copped the whole spicy lot at the end.
#419 13 Spicies prawn mixed with dry noodle - $13.80. The noodles here are only just coated in a sauce, so you really get to bite in and get all the joy of a good noodle fix unadulterated by lots of liquid. We love the style of noodles here, they're wheat based and don't seem to go overly gluggy or soft. Two generous prawns are cooked in a gently spiced broth with onions and top the pile of noodles, just coating them.
Sunday's daily special is pan fried dumplings (about $8, $6.90 on Sunday) and almost everybody orders them. They are a breadish dumpling with mince meaty filling. The dumplings are a little crunchy on the bottom and coated with sesame seeds adding a light nutty sweetness.
#407 Braised meat ball in brown sauce noodle soup - $9.50. Shawn continues his 'rissoles of the world' exploration with these deep brown on the outside, lightly porky pink on the inside meatballs. The sauce flavours the broth with a heartier meaty taste. This is rissole-mad Shawn's favourite soup here.
#416 Grandma's secret little yellow croaker noodle soup - $13.80. We just had to order one from the 'signature noodle soup' section of the menu. Although you can't see them, there are two other fishies hiding under the noodles. They're cooked until a little crisp then floated up stream in a cloudy broth and covered in a generous mess of pickled green mustard leaves.
Like Noodle is at 251 Forest Road, Hurstville. Phone 8068 6618. At the time of writing Like Noodle opening hours are 7 days 11am - 9.30pm.