Noodles and dumplings Sydney queue for

Noodlies, Sydney food blog samples unpretentious Chinese.

Head to the Prince Centre in Haymarket and you’ll be faced by two similar looking Chinese noodle restaurants, same look, similar menu and almost identical names. Except the eatery on the left, the Chinese Noodle Restaurant is crazily busy, customers loitering haphazardly outside, while the Chinese Noodle House, on the right, does steady but unspectacular business.

Visit Chinese Noodle Restaurant any lunch time and expect to wait. Today, noodlies, Sydney food blog doesn’t have to queue because it’s early, just before 11.30am.

Chinese noodle restaurant plastic grapes

It’s a small dark space, the naturally light impeded by squares of picture menus over the windows and the unnatural light inside absorbed by dark closely stacked furniture, expanses of woven rugs depicting European landscapes on the walls and thick clusters of plastic grapes and grape vines dangling from the ceiling.

Chinese noodle restaurant woven rugs

The menu is cheap-and-cheerful Chinese – dumplings and handmade noodles; steamed, soup or fried. I order handmade noodle lamb soup because I love this simple dish and also to compare it with the their rival neighbour.  When my dish arrives, me thinks I’ve ordered a different version to the Chinese handmade noodles at the other restaurant.  This one has lots more veggies; from standard plain cabbage and tomato to fuller flavoured capsicum and Chinese mushrooms.  They’re lightly cooked, retaining crispiness.  The noodles are lively, playful but it’s the soup which I think attracts the punters; at first sweet then revealing the deep, savoury undercurrent.  It’s not the best I’ve had but very respectable and great value for $8.90 including free tea.

chinese noodle restaurant handmade-noodles

By the time I leave, Chinese Noodle Restaurant is full and a queue is forming.  This place is no hidden secret, search the web and there are countless reviews on Urbanspoon, Eatability, Yelp etc as well as the food blogs, many declaring undying love for this humble eatery.  Except for a table of three middle aged Chinese and me, the other diners are twenty-to-early-thirty somethings – office workers and inner city types. I chuckle as I leave – to be in Chinatown, eating in an authentic Chinese eatery where the Asian diners are in the minority.

Chinese Noodle Restaurant
Prince Centre (on the left hand side if you’re facing the centre)
Thomas Street, Haymarket, Sydney
(02) 9281 9051

Chinese Noodle Restaurant on Urbanspoon