Dish: Thin Noodle Soup with Pork Intestines and Oysters
In the Bowl: True-to-the-word thin noodles floating in what looks like brown gravy. Some fried onions and garlic below the surface, my requested pork intestines and oysters piled in the center and rising above the surface.
Supporting cast: It’s all in the bowl.
What to do: Dive in with the chopsticks, and just start eating. Although these noodles are truly thin, they hold their texture well. You can easily guide them to your mouth, slurping in some soup (get more soup with your spoon), and then using the chopsticks or spoon to grab pork intestines and oysters.
Noodling around: While I keep tabs on Chinese restaurants in the area, 101Yess was a new discovery for me. (For that reason alone, I was eager to make the trip to Bellevue.) This is a Taiwanese joint, with 101 standing for Taipei 101, and “Yes” the start of the Mandarin word that means “night market.” (In fact, I did eat these thin noodles at a night market in Taipei after friends urged me to try them.) 101Yes was apparently already taken (in Los Angeles, I’m told), so the extra “s” completed the name.
Much of the menu is night-market fare, but there are a couple of noodle dishes, including 101Yess’ version of beef noodle soup. The owner brought me a small bowl of broth to sample. I often like the use of Chinese herbs, but this was far too medicinal for me, as if spiked with Western cough and cold remedies.
So I settled on the thin noodles, imported from Taiwan and supposedly available locally only at 101Yess. They are made with just flour, water, and a little salt, and the manufacturer vacuum-seals them fresh for longevity. (A sample package is displayed prominently by the register.) The noodle releases starch to help thicken the broth, resulting in a rather bland but ultimately satisfying comfort food.
If still hungry: How can you resist a menu item called “Tasty ‘Canned’ Sticky Rice”? It’s sauteed sticky rice with pork and black mushrooms that’s steamed in a can mold and then topped with “special house sauce.” $3.75 to sample this strange concoction.
Be aware/beware: 101Yess is also a bakery, with breads made daily. The baked goods go fast, so if you’re in for lunch, pick up what you want for home before eating, not after. (Also, while my dining companion and I put down credit cards and asked to split the lunch bill, days later I discovered that the server ran my credit card twice. We each signed our slips, and she unknowingly got the colloquial free lunch. Will she pick up lunch next time? Yes. But should the restaurant, later informed of the issue, have offered to refund one of those charges as a customer service gesture? Yess!)
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on January 4, 2011.
(Bonus: Here’s a photo of that Tasty Canned Sticky Rice. Tasty? Maybe more for the mouth than the eyes. Maybe.)