Friday, December 26, 2008

衣冠庙 面馆 - Yi Guan Temple Noodle House

This narrow noodle shop, open to the street, started up earlier this year near the Yi Guan Temple bridge over the first ring road. It attracts enough people at lunch that street vendors usually set up outside and you can get shao bing, dan hong gao, and roasted sweet potatoes outside the door. Table sharing is the norm unless you arrive during a very slow part of the day.

There are respectable 燃面 (combustion noodles) as well as the usual suspects of beef, rib, spicy chicken, or 三鲜 (three flavour). They have wheat noodles, rice noodles, bean threads, and a couple different kinds of chao shou. You can order almost everything by one, two, or three liang; I think it's great that one-liang servings are available since I like to to order one liang of two different kinds of noodle. The ordering procedure is the same as a snack restaurant - you give your order at the counter, then take your till receipt to a server who will bring your food to your seat.

Lately they've added a few new menu items, including an amazing concoction called 干辣鸡面 - dry, spicy chicken noodles. The chicken (bony pieces) has been long simmered with seasonings like cassia, clove, black cardamom, fennel, and tons of hot red pepper. There is not even a hint of numbing from Sichuan peppercorn.

The protocol for eating the bony pieces is to put it all in your mouth, work off the edible parts,and spit the rest onto the table. Some manage to do this gracefully and others eat with an ever widening radius of detritus around their bowls. One liang of 干辣鸡面:

The first time I ate 口蘑面 (mushroom noodles), I thought it was one of the blandest things ever. I ordered it here by mistake (sneaky 蘑 character is not always drawn the same) and was blown away. Now when I approach, the counter lady always guesses I am going to order 口蘑面 and she is usually right. Below, 口蘑面 in front of a bowl of 燃面.


Southeast corner of first ring road and Yong Feng Lu, just near the traffic bridge. Usually closed by dark. Menu all Chinese.

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