Saturday April 16, 2011 by Ryan Fernandez
A good bowl of soup is one that makes for an holistic experience, one where the importance of every ingredient comes into play. We sampled similar noodle dishes at two different Chinese restaurants to see what exactly set each apart.
As a sort of control group I felt I should choose the kind of restaurant that's just your average Chinese noodles type of place, so I wandered in to Liu Xiang Yuan Restaurant in San Gabriel, CA. This area has a high concentration of places like this.. the plaza where it is located houses five of them.
Liu Xiang Yuan Restaurant 704 W. Las Tunas Dr Ste 5 San Gabriel, CA 91776
The Fried pork ribs with noodle soup was nothing special here, with some carrots and bok choy rounding out this average offering. No complaints, it was served piping hot, but it wasn't quite anything to remember.
A look at a similar dish at Xi'an Famous Foods in New York's Chinatown, however, takes us completely to the other side of the pork noodle soup spectrum. A place once documented by Anthony Bourdain, Xi'an Famous Foods actually holds quite a reputation among New York foodies.
Xi'an Famous Foods 81 Saint Marks Place New York, NY 10003
All the noodles here are handmade, but that's not the only thing that makes the pork noodles in soup here excellent.
The tangy, colorful broth was quite the standout in this dish, and the green onions and garnish really put this bowl of soup over the top.
A great dish is not only the sum of its ingredients but the harmony amongst them as well. Liu Xiang Yuan and Xi'an Famous Foods may have both been serving pork noodle soup for quite some length of time, but it is obvious that one of them takes great care in trying to get the mixture of ingredients just right. It's really more than just one aspect of the dish that makes it whole.
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