Mr. Man loves noodles! He loves them like I love cupcakes and nutella. Whether you put in a bowl of soup or pan fry it with eggs and veggies, he digs them! And in this sweater weather (yeay, finally some chills in Texan air!!), he wants nothing more than a bowl of good noodle soup. So we went online in search for the best noodle place in Dallas-Fort Worth area, to where we found various reviews of this Deep Ellum joint popping on yelp, Dallas Observer, and D Magazine. And last Friday night, we decided to give Monkey King Noodle Company a try.
The place is open for dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11 a.m. - 2 p.m. for lunch), so we got there at about 5.55 p.m. Just in time, because we later figured out that if we came a little later, more people were going to show up and make a long line. So, yeay.
Anyways, First impression, wow. Cool place. Unlike the typical Asian restaurants (with nearly no decoration, white walls, and often wrong spelling of English words on site), this place had 'hip' and 'young' written all over it.
Their concept is simple : providing a good Northern Chinese street food experience. Since it offers noodle as a street food, you will find no indoor seating area and no waiters running around trying to take your order. You come, you get in the line in front the "order here" window, you pay, and you wait for your food to be served on disposable containers, and you can either eat them at the patio upstairs, or on the 3 street-side tables provided downstairs.
And the price of the menu ranges only from $7 to $9.
Hey, you can even order some Pocky! too! hahaa...to those of you who are not familiar with it, it's a Japanese chocolate-covered stick snack. I used to eat lots of them when I was a kid (a fat one haha). What also brought back the memory of home was this 1,000 Indonesian Rupiah bill we found inside of the tip jar on the cashier window.
Who did this? Must be a visiting Indonesian :) Anyways, another awesome stuff that reminded us of home is this "noodle hand-pulling show" you get to see here when you wait for your food.
The noodle is called LaMian (hand-pulled) or in Indonesia, they call it Mie Tarik. It's quite thick and chewy. Now the only thing that would go well with it is some yummy soup!
I ordered the Dan Dan Pork Noodle (on the left) and Mr. Man got the Hot Spicy Beef Noodle (on the right). He asked for 'extra spicy' (of course, like he always does). But his expectation was a little too high, and he ended up getting disappointed. "This is not spicy at all," he said. Well, for a man who adds up to 2 tablespoons of hot sauce into his meal on daily basis, and who's used to having chicken noodles made by Chinese-Indonesian back home, I can see why he was disappointed. But then I think no one cooks noodles the way Chinese-Indonesians do. Even when we went to Hong Kong last year, we couldn't find any noodles that tasted nearly as 'good' (or maybe as familiar) as the ones we find at Indonesia's Chinatown a.k.a Kota & Mangga Besar.
It was a different story with my Dan Dan Pork Noodle, though. It was delicious! The wontons in chili sauce were also good. For the location, the price, and the taste, I think Monkey King is a fairly good place to have some noodle in downtown Dallas, especially in this kind of weather. If you expect a more 'authentic' taste, you might need to go to a more Asian-populated areas like Richardson, Carrollton, or Plano. But then again, those restaurants won't have the cool patio & the hip crowd hanging around it. Ha!