The Mein Man: Thin Noodles and Big Pork Pieces at Mike’s Noodle House

mikes_noodle_house_600Dish: Combo Noodle Soup (#21)
Place: Mike’s Noodle House, International District, Seattle
Price: $7.30 (large)

In the bowl: Your choice of noodles, plus liver, kidney, stomach, and other pork pieces in a fish and pork broth with sliced green onions.

Supporting cast: A bowl with soy sauce, black vinegar, and diced jalapenos.

What to do: Per the server’s instructions, you’ll want to eat the noodles as quickly as possible so that they stay firm. “That’s how we do it in Hong Kong,” she explained, adding, “We don’t talk when we eat these noodles.” There’s time for talking post-noodles, when dipping the pork in the bowl of sauce.

Noodling around: Mike’s has an extensive menu of dry noodles, soup noodles, and congee. If you order a noodle dish, you’ll have a choice of thin egg noodles, wide rice noodles, thick rice noodles (spaghetti-like), and lai fun noodles (a thick, short noodle generally made from rice flour).

Those thin egg noodles (“toothpick thin,” said the server) are the specialty, and remind me of morning noodle meals I enjoyed Hong Kong, so I went with those. As the server advised, it’s good to eat them as quickly as possible to appreciate their chewy, almost crisp texture. Go slowly, and they’ll get soft and soggy.

I love the variety of pig parts, especially the liver–so tender and slightly mineral-tasting. The other meat pieces provide a great variety of texture to the experience, but I might consider a bowl of pork liver noodles next time.

If still hungry: The noodle bowls look small, but they’re pretty filling. Still, a vegetable dish makes for a nice side. There’s always Chinese broccoli, lettuce, or bok choy with oyster sauce ($4.70), but if it’s in-season, go for the ung choy with preserved tofu sauce for the same price.

Be aware/beware: This can be a very bustling restaurant, so you’ll probably want to eat fast–not just for the sake of the noodles, but for the sake of those waiting for a table. Still, service is friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything on the menu.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on March 22, 2011.

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