Each time I walk into the small and cozy confines of Noodle Feast restaurant, I instantaneously feel a wave of nostalgia. This feeling doesn’t stem from own yearning of home, but rather, for the Northern Chinese who have come to settle in Canada. Within the restaurant there is chatter in fast paced mandarin, the lighting is dim and dark, the furniture dated and old, and there is the subtle sound of newspapers flipping by the single diner in the corner, but none of that will matter once you get a taste of what glorious noodles you will experience. Prior to entering the restaurant, you will mentally prepare yourself to eliminate any and all expectations pertaining to service and atmosphere. Do not expect a certain level of service, or service at all for that matter, and I don’t believe the owner has made an ounce of renovation effort since its previous occupant. What you can have high expectations for, is the food. You will notice the clientele is primarily Northern Chinese, you will notice there is very minimal conversation at each table, but what you will experience, is a gastronomic journey like no other, and you will know you have arrived at the right place.
Noodle Feast, as the name suggests, is the hub of authentic hand-made Northern Chinese noodles. The menu is simplistic and requires self-ordering from of a paper checklist. At first glance, the menu may seem overwhelming, but after careful review of the different items, you will find it is merely a permutation of pairings between noodle and sauce. The restaurant offers 3 basic types of noodles: rolling, sliced, and hand-pulled. The difference between them, aside from the obvious method of preparation, is the very specific level of density, texture, and size.
The rolling variety is the lightest and thinnest noodle. The shape and wave is similar to ramen, with a lighter density. Sliced is a heavier style of noodle with irregular widths and most similar in size to that of linguine. The lack of uniformity gives that reassuring aspect of being hand-made, and the increased density requires a little more chewing power. Last comes the pride and joy of the restaurant, the hand-pulled noodles. These flat, wide, and dense noodles are the first to sell out, so late diners beware. These heavy, endlessly long tagliatelle-style noodle will fill any empty stomach in an instant. No noodle is more superior than the other, rather it merely comes down to preference. The one similarity, is that you should prepare for a carb coma.
Sauces range from minimalist chili oil and green onion, to minced pork, to egg and tomato. The majority of noodles come tossed, while only a handful are offered with a soup base. No matter what accompaniment you choose, you will not be disappointed. To maximize your sampling options, I recommend going with some friends and sharing the noodles family style. The portions are big, so unless you’re feeling heroic, one bowl of noodles is more than enough for the average person. The dumplings are also made well, in that the cooked pork juices are retained in the dumpling wrapper so long as delicate chopsticks skills are administered. Do not be foolish and try to bite the dumpling in half. While you may have strong urge to see what lies underneath the thin wrapper, doing so may cause scalding hot cooking liquid to spray everywhere. Remember to eat with caution! If you can take some heat, order the dumplings in the sour and spicy soup. Although the menu may say chive dumplings, carnivorians rejoice as there is actually pork inside.
I believe the simplest things in life are the best. When the bowl of hand-pulled chili oil and green onion noodles arrive at your table, your first impression of it will be that it appears plain. Although the presentation may seem ordinary, once the noodles and sauce are mixed in, and the aromas start to fill your nostrils, as you slurp up your first chopstick full of sauce glazed noodles, you will be pleasantly, and oddly comforted. The flavors are strong and stimulating, the noodles produce a satisfying bite, and as you continue to explore the remains of what seems like a bottomless bowl, you will too feel this sense of nostalgia.
Oh, and do not forget to order a glass of soy milk to wash it all down. After it’s all said and done, and even if you’re lucky enough to take leftovers home, the only thing left to do is sit back and start thinking of what to order the next time you visit this amazing noodle house.Noodle Feast 3440 99 St NW Edmonton, AB 780-439-8088 Like what you just read? Subscribe now.