I was excited to hear about a new hand-pulled noodle place that opened recently in Fremont. I wanted to try it out to see if there can be a truly good Northern Chinese style noodle shop in bay area.
We went on a Saturday and it turned out that it was the busiest day of their brief existence (as told by the friendly waitress). Shortly after placing the order for three different noodle dishes, one of the chef came out of the kitchen to let everyone in the restaurant know that they have ran out of noodles! And also that there could be up to an hour wait for new, fresh batch of noodles to be pulled. We decided to bite the bullet and wait for it. The waitress mentions that the owner is from Shaanxi (陜西) province, which is a neighboring province of Shanxi (山西) famous of knife-cut noodles and Shandong (山東) famous for hand-pulled noodles and dumplings.
Luckily the noodles started coming out only after 30 minutes or so. First up was the Gan Zha Jiang Mian ( 乾炸醬麵 / Dry Soy Bean Paste Sauce Noodles) The brown sauce color seemed lighter than the typical Shandong style found commonly in Korean-Chinese restaurants. There was a layer of oil on top. It tasted pretty salty and oily. It lacked the fragrant black bean sauce flavor that I was expecting from the original Shandong version.
After mixing about half of the sauce into the noodle I noticed that the noodle was very very Q (or al dente, chewy). Now, we all know that noodles should be cooked “Q” and firm, but this was way too chewy and stringy. It seems that they probably added some tapioca flour or something that makes them extra Q. I would compare it at just one level less chewy than the Korean naeng myeon (cold soba noodle), which is made to and supposed to be the most Q noodle around.
The result is a hard to chew noodle with which the flavor fails to meld together completely. (They even supplied a pair of scissors to cut the noodles with). I cannot argue with the technique of the hand-pulled noodles. Most of them were super long (maybe up to 1 foot) and were not broken little pieces. But the chewiness is just too much. I’m not sure if this is how they are normally or due to the fact that they were rushing out a new batch. (B-)
Next up was the Hong Shao Niu Ro Mian ( 紅燒牛肉麵 / Braised Beef Noodle Soup). This is more of a mainland Chinese version instead of the authentic Taiwanese version of the “Sichuan” style Hong Shao (soy-braised) beef noodle soup. The soup was pretty bland and did not have much strong flavor. The best part was the surprisingly tender beef. Along with the extra chewy noodle which didn’t soak up much flavor, I would not recommend this. (C)
Last but not least, the Chao Mian ( 豬肉炒麵 / Shredded Pork Chow Mein) came stir fried with pork strips, bean sprouts, and other veggies. This was clearly the best noodle of the day. Because of the wok-frying which infused the flavor, this became our favorite. The chewiness of the noodle did not distract as much as the other noodles as you’re actually able to taste something other than the noodle itself. (A-)
So overall I think this place is worth visiting for maybe a few of their stir-fried noodle (Chao Mian) items, but not really worth the drive if you’re not in the neighborhood. There are better versions of each of dish at other restaurants in bay area. However, they do hold potential as they only focus on noodles and nothing else, and having all the different noodle dishes at one place is a positive draw. They also have one of the best menus – each noodle dish is shown in big, glorious pictures on each page. This gives you a good idea of what you’ll be getting ahead of time if you’re not sure what the dish is like.
QQ Noodle3655 Thornton Ave
Fremont, CA 94536
- Mon-Thu, Sun: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
- Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.