Bigger and Better at Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

nan-zhou-noodles

Chef Zeng Feng Zhang has moved his Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House a block west on Race Street but the magic of the noodles remains. What Craig LaBan is most excited by are the new appetizers from the expanded menu.

An expanded menu, though, is the unexpected plus of Nan Zhou’s big expansion. In particular, don’t miss the surprisingly exotic chicken dumplings (fried is better than steamed), whose minced poultry fillings are flared with curry and rich coconut milk.

My biggest surprise, though, was the assortment of appetizers drawn from other regions of China. For vegetable starters, the shredded sea kelp tastes like snappy cold green noodles ignited with fresh garlic heat and sesame oil. Crunchy batons of raw turnip doused in sweet soy and vinegar are piled high with shriveled little fuzzy brown preserved plums that are as flavorful as they are ugly. The shredded potatoes are as addictive as they are a curious find in Chinatown, the cool, white, crunchy spud laces sparked with hot chile oil. Even more unusual, though, was the “gong” vegetable, a pickled green reminiscent of cactus in texture, but with a crunch so resonant, it rang in the back of my head like a bell.

Two Bells – Very Good

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House [Official Site]

Quick Bites: Arrow Swim Club Is Done, Ramen Boy Is Almost Here

We won’t have the Arrow Swim Club to kick around anymore. HughE Dillon reports the Northern Liberties swim club is being taken over Brian Nagele who runs the Philly2Night web site and King’s Oak on the Piazza. The new concept will be more affordable than the $1,000 memberships sold last summer. Chenango, the restaurant will be rebranded Yellow Fin Grill. [Philly Chit Chat]

Ramen Boy by the Yakitori Boy team should be open at 204 N 9th Street before January comes to an end. [Phoodie]

Benny Lai has opened Grill Fish Cafe next to his Vietnam Cafe in West Philadelphia. [Meal Ticket]

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House is moving to bigger digs. The popular Chinatown restaurant is taking over the Pho 75 space at 1022 Race Street. [The Insider]

Interstate Draft House in Fishtown has a new chef. Julio Rivera is out and Adam Scott is in. Scott who has experience at Hawthornes and the Doylestown Country Club will make the menu a bit less Mexican. [Meal Ticket]

Pumpkin on South Street has gotten a facelift. Check out the new seating and wood panelling from reclaimed materials. Check out some photos below.

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Photo via Drawing for Food

Drawing for Food heads to the “Times Square of North Philadelphia” for a cheesesteak from Max’s. They also stop in to the bar next door which has the above neon sign. [Drawing for Food]

Brian takes on three varieties of Korean fried chicken and a Koagie at the new Sammy Chon’s Ktown BBQ in Chinatown. [Bridges, Burgers and Beers]

Phoodie calls the egg and vegetable soup at Nan Zhou Noodle House “the greatest lunch $4.50 can buy.” [Phoodie]

Gil from Philly Market Cafe takes some shots at a.kitchen after a bread-free lunch. [Philly Market Cafe]

Brunch Philly goes to Vedge for brunch of course. They find the meal to be a bit hit-or-miss, but it does make us want to go. [Brunch Philly]

Quick Fixx on South Street has just opened and Gluten Free Philly is there to check out the celiac friendly options. [Gluten Free Philly]

Slurping Through Nan Zhou

Brian Freedman heads to Nan Zhou Hand Dawn Noodle House in Chinatown and happily gnaws his way through his appetizers as he prepares for the real star, the noodle soups.

Hand-drawn noodles of miraculous springiness, chewy strands that absorb the perfect amount of broth while maintaining their own hearty flavor. This is the Platonic ideal of pasta.

Although all soups on the menu are winners if you focus on the noodles, some are better than others. Ox tail noodle soup disappointed with its gray, tough little fists of meat, and one-dimensional fish balls tasted too similar to crab stick. But meatball noodle soup is a must: Tender, two-bite orbs of finely chopped pork and vegetables in a muslin-thin wonton wrapper, its slippery sensation against the tongue setting the meatiness of the balls off with ringing clarity.

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House [Philadelphia Weekly]