Dish: Assorted Goodies Over Crunchy Noodle
Place: Rocking Wok, Wallingford
On the plate: I ordered this dish because the name gives away little about its contents. Turns out the noodles are sitting in a brown sauce, covered with a variety of vegetables and meats.
Supporting cast: Nothing comes with the dish. But you might want to add something to spike it up.
What to do: Admire the “goodies,” then start eating.
Noodling around: Even more fun than seeing the name of this dish on the menu is trying to say it out loud to the server without laughing. I failed. “I’ll have the assorted goodies (chuckle) over crunchy noodles (guffaw)” got me a polite smile.
The dish is made with fresh thin egg noodles that are pan-fried, crisping up in oil. That gives nice texture, but take advantage of that quickly, as the noodles are designed to sop up the sauce in which they sit. The sauce, I’ll add, is that generic Chinese brown sauce which I find a bit flavorless; I was reaching for the chile sauce on the shelf above my table, but my companion suggested we ask for vinegar. She expected white vinegar, served in Japan with dishes like this, but we got black. Either will enhance the flavor.
The goodies included shreds of chicken and pork of so-so quality, along with some shrimp, as well as some vegetables. The broccoli, baby bok choy, and carrots appeared to be fresh, but the mushrooms, water chestnuts, and baby corn were clearly of the canned variety.
Overall, this was an interesting dish to try, but not one I’d order again, given some of the bolder items on the menu.
If you want more: Rocking Wok has a wide variety of dumplings and dim sum items that would make for good side dishes. The stinky tofu smelled tempting, at least to me, and I’m always game for good xiao long bao–but I’ve heard that’s not the case here. Instead, I’d recommend stewed baby bamboo shoots ($2.95) for something a little spicy.
Be aware/beware: I’m always intrigued by Rocking Wok’s location on a residential corner in Wallingford. And I’m further intrigued by the walk to the bathroom, which takes you between kitchen areas for a peek (some may prefer to pass on this) at the food preparation. One more item of intrigue: the single-serving hot pots posted on the wall, including one of chicken with marinated pineapple and bitter melon that I’m now pining to try.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on April 12, 2011.