Saturday, July 29, 2017

Xiang Xiang Noodle in El Sobrante

Lamb Soup with Shaved Noodle, Quail Egg, Lamb, Cilantro, Tofu, Seaweed, Scallion, Bok Choy. (1/28/18). Deep umami flavor in the lamb broth. Superb.

Once again, we got Minced Pork & Eggplant Noodles, shaved noodles, lightly sauced. The abundance of garlic & pork, with red bells, eggplant, scallion and chile made it taste a bit like pizza. Best thing on the menu we've tried. Great on a cold day.

Traffic home was typically slow for Friday afternoon (8/25/17). I suggested we stop here again, so we did. Below, you can see the chef working the shaved noodle station for our order.

Mixed Mushroom.

Seafood Shaved Noodle. Shrimp, scallops, & calamari.

Shaved noodles have a wonderful hearty texture, with rough edges that soak in the broth. Any shaved noodle dish at Xiang Xiang is good. Generous portions and inexpensive. We could only eat half.

Above: the mushroom shaved noodle dish, which has a few types of seaweed too. The flavor is at once very inviting, wholesome, like a home-cooked meal, but then the mix of mushrooms and seaweed is sort of exotic. Both dishes had plenty of ginger, and a broth that tasted like it is made in-house. I'm sure it is, you can see the big pots on the stove back in the back.

Shaanxi cuisine is one of the lesser known of Chinese regional cuisines around the Bay Area, but we've had great examples of it from Seattle to Los Angeles, even in the Contra Costa County town of Pittsburg. As Bay Area Gourmand & Chronicler Luke Tsai writes, "Shaanxi cooking is famous for its wide variety of noodles, generous amounts of lamb and pork, and bold sour and spicy elements." A few months ago, after eating at the nearby Sue's Kitchen, we saw a sign in an empty storefront that Xiang Xiang Noodle was coming. At last, they have opened.

Minced Pork & Eggplant Noodles, a Sauced Noodles dish using Shaved Noodles. Soft and luxurious, with a deep umami meat-based sauce (pork based, judging from the flavor), and served with cilantro garnish. Sublime.

Beef Fried Noodle, again using Shaved Noodle, with onions, scallions and cabbage.

Chile Oil was the perfect condiment for this dish.

The man we presume is the head chef (the oldest person there), is stirring shaved noodles boiling in a wok. To his right is the slicer that portions out the shaved noodles directly into the boiling water.

The rest of the open kitchen: in the foreground and near the woks are condiments, vegetables and ingredients for making sauces. Over to the far left are large pots of stock, slowly simmering.

My guess, judging from the excellence of the two dishes we tried today, is that the chef (and possibly others) is an immigrant with many years of experience cooking and serving Shaanxi cuisine. 

Xiang Xiang Noodle
454D Appian Way
El Sobrante, CA
(510) 275-3474
(510) 275-9245

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