The Chinese Noodle Bar name conjures up an image of some trendy establishment with chinoiserie chic decor, down lights and high prices. In fact, it’s a traditional honest restaurant that serves food from the north west (xi bei) of China. Here, the lights are turn up and the prices are down.
Being such a large country, Chinese food vary from region to region – Cantonese; where the spices and flavouring are subtle allowing the main ingredient take centre stage, Szechuan; bold flaming flavours. Chinese Noodle Bar owner, Alex comes from Xian in the north west of China.
For me, north western Chinese food is marked with large servings of beef and lamb, strong flavours of cumin and pepper. This is evident in the fiery BBQ Lamb Skewers. This is pure meat spiced with cumin and chilli powder. It’s a sort of dish that would wash down very well with some cold, low strength Chinese beer.
And north west to me is also about hand-made noodles, in the video below the process of making noodles look so easy, I’m amazed how a white sausage dough is quickly turned into strands of even noodles.
And those noodles are used in the stunningly three coloured beef noodle soup. I’m told, to be authentic, the soup needs to be clear allowing the bright red chilli oil and fresh green coriander colours to shine through.
I’m lucky to be dining with some friends who come from this region and one of them explains more about this beef soup in the video below. The stock is cooked for over 12 hours apparently! His explanation is fascinating.
The small serving of chicken potato stew below is a huge! And at $18 is a steal. Both the lamb skewers and this dish is so reminiscent of similar dishes which we normally order from Uygur restaurants. This isn’t surprising as both are from the north west region of China. The noodle here is from the dough as the soup dish, but here, the noodles are flat and thick with a firm almost crunchy texture. Again curry, cumin flavours abound.
The lamb pancake looks stunning. It’s milder than I’m expecting, but there’s a nice lamb gamey flavour which works with strong spices and flavours from onion and capsicum. Roll the meat in the thin pancakes and the dish is a hearty meal in itself. Hint: this dish isn’t on the menu, but they’ll make it if you ask… go on, give it a go!
The Chinese Noodle Bar in Chinatown has been opened for only three weeks. Get in early before word spreads and make sure you order the lamb pancake.
Chinese Noodle Bar
800 George St, Haymarket
Other Chinese Noodle Bar branches
- 38 George St, Parramatta
- 508 Princes Hwy, Rockdale
noodlies, Sydney food blog dined as a guest of Chinese Noodle Bar