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While all of Asia’s major noodle families are represented in Perth, it’d be remiss to
ignore the growing number of esoteric, regional offerings available through the city.
Who, for instance, could have predicted that Perth might one day boast its very own
hand-made Kudai mian restaurant in Mr Bun (148 Murray Street, Perth)? Even more
pleasing than Mr Bun’s broad, ‘belt’ noodles is that there’s also a second restaurant
– An’s Kitchen (1/305 William Street, Northbridge) – serving these girthy specimens
from China’s Shaanxi province.
The state’s dandan noodle population, meanwhile, continues to grow. Hailing from
the Sichuan region in central China, this addictive jumble of chilli, spring onion and
noodles can be found at restaurants like Kung Fu Kitchen (3/145 Newcastle Street,
Northbridge) and Red Chilli Szechuan (865 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park).
Outside of China, intrepid eaters might like to try the mie ayam at Indonesian
eatery Bintang Cafe (Unit 11, 910 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park). The eggy
noodles are made in-house; the ladle-yourself soup packs flavour, and juicy hunks
of chicken meat bulk things out rather deliciously.
On the topic of handmade noodles, both Sarawak Hawker Cuisine (see p39)
and Kitchen Inn (19/17-23 South Street, Kardinya) do a steady trade in kolo mee,
wavy noodles from eastern Malaysia recognisable for their pork mince, spring onion
and lard trappings. Then there’s the quirky new Lucky Chan’s Laundry + Noodlebar
(311 William Street, Northbridge) whose $30,000 Japanese noodle machine and
very own scientifically blended wheat flour results in some pretty kick-arse noodles.
Noodle Forum (Equus Retail Arcade, 580 Hay Street, Perth) also cranks out some
fab homemade noodles. Not in the mood to brave the queues? Then at least drop
by for a gander at chef Ian Chin as he kneads the noodle dough by bouncing up and
down on his giant bamboo stick.
While noodles mightn’t be the first foodstuff one associates with Korea (that’d
probably be kimchi), the country also boasts its own noodle-y traditions. Bbox
Restaurant (607 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley), for example, is one of the local
Korean restaurants that offers japchae, stir-fried noodles made with beef, vegetables
and dangmyeon (noodles made from sweet-potato starch).
Soba mightn’t have the same profile as ramen, but it holds a special place in Japanese hearts
(and stomachs). Made primarily out of buckwheat flour, these thin, pale-coloured noodles sport
a firmer bite and nuttier taste than egg noodles, and are served both cold and warm. Whereas
specialist soba restaurants in Japan make their own noodles each day, the position of handmade-soba
restaurant in Perth, sadly, remains unfilled (the handmade green tea soba served on occasion at
Senoji remains a rare, treasured memory). Nonetheless, dried soba still has much to offer Japanophiles,
not least when entrusted to veteran Japanese chefs like Kozo Shigeyoshi. As one might expect from
a cook with a kaiseki background, Shige-san keeps things elegant and traditional via his zaru soba: boiled
and chilled noodles presented on a bamboo draining mat – the zaru – and crowned with julienned
nori. Accompanying the noodles is a small bowl of tsuyu, a savoury, magic-making dipping sauce that
combines dashi (soup stock), katsuobushi (smoked and dried fish flakes) and kombu (edible kelp) to
winning effect. Wasabi, finely sliced spring onion and a raw quail’s egg offer additional seasoning options.
1/18 Plain Street, East Perth.
Hu Tieu Thanh Liem
Technically, pho belongs to the noodle family, but most of the discussion surrounding
Vietnam’s famed noodle dish tends to centre on its broth, an aromatic beef bouillon
cooked carefully and slowly for hours till rich and deeply flavoured. And so it is with
the heaped bowls served at Hu Tieu Thanh Liem, a simple, not-especially glamorous
eating house in the state’s Vietnamese heartland. Whereas many local phos rely
a little too heavily on cinnamon, star anise and the rest of the kitchen’s spice rack,
time and time again this restaurant’s broth hits that sweet spot between spicy,
aromatic interest and meaty savour. Prefer your soup with a little more pep in its
step? No dramas. A well-stocked condiment aisle (bowls are served with Thai basil,
mint, bean sprouts, lemon and chilli) enables guests to tinker with their order as
much or as little as they like. Briefly blanched rice noodles lend suppleness to
the dish while the beefy all-sorts in the pho dac biet – frilly pieces of tripe! Bouncy
beef balls! Gelatinous scraps of tendon! – tick the boxes for texture. Mirrabooka
Village, 73 Honeywell Boulevard, Mirrabooka.
Noodle Forum. INSET The
restaurant’s signature wonton
noodle, crispy chicken fillet
noodle, and BBQ pork noodle.
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