I’ve been craving Northern Chinese food for ages. So I thought I’d pay a visit to my go-to Northern Chinese: Chinese Noodle Bar on George Street (near Railway Square) formerly Kung Fu Ramen and before that Lanzhou Noodle House.
So what is the difference between Northern Chinese food and the food you get at your Mr Ko’s or your Chan’s Lucky Happy Happy Chinese Palaces, you might ask?
According to wiki, Northern Chinese dishes are more hearty because of the harsh climate consisting of blistering hot summers and cold dry winters. This means the flavours are strong, bold and salty. Given that most of the dishes consist of 10000% meat (sorry vegos); it’s pretty great and makes geographical sense that Northern Chinese food is influenced by Islamic culture (loads of lamb and beef) and that this restaurant is Halal.
Personally, I crave Northern Chinese food everytime it’s raining, freezing and I feel like I’ve been through a typhoon. Not only is it the ultimate comfort food, it’s also hearty in the sense of the bloody huge portions. That night, two Caucasian blokes ordered some dumplings and a plate of beef and potato stew, emphasing they only wanted a small portion. The stew required the strength of two (normal sized) waitresses to carry it out. You could hear the guys say "strewth, this is the small?!?! WTF!!"
We made the same mistake of over-ordering and ordered the following between two people;
All of the food struggled to fit onto the table (and into our stomachs!): Shallot pancake, beef noodle soup, noodle with beef/chicken/lamb and garlic shoots. (Also unpictured: lamb skewers).
We went for the handpulled noodles with lamb here and there was seriously a lot of garlic shoot action happening. The noodles were super tender and the sauce was extra spicy. Although these noodles were tasty, they could never match my favourite - the beef noodle soup!
Beef noodle soup.
The beef noodle soup never fails to satisfy. Always get this WITH chilli, even if you are chilli-intolerant like myself; otherwise the clear soup will have no flavour and will taste hella bland. The handpulled noodles are so tender and the beef is a nice complement to the dish. To spice up the dish, I usually get a few lamb skewers ($2.50) - which are spicy and are stacked with cumin to knock your socks off. These skewers take me back to the street markets in Beijing, which had the locals and tourists alike queuing for them.
Lamb skewers $2.50 each or 5 for $10. Again, one of the must orders.
Cong you bing! (aka. shallot pancakes). This is another one of my favourites (yes, pretty much everything in this post was a favourite). Not sure how the simplest of ingredients of flour + shallots + olive oil can equal some much awesomeness, but it does. There’s the softness of the inside combined with the crunch of the outside - it’s pretty much like a thicker gozleme!
Not only did the food knock my socks off, the waitress was exceptionally proactive and service orientated. That’s another major tick in my book.
I tried to fit in as much food into my body as humanly possible, but ended up getting two containers of food takeaway. Chinese Noodle Bar has ruined “ordinary” Chinese food for me, because sweet and sour pork will never live up to this Northern Chinese awesomeness.
Chinese Noodle Bar
800 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000