Monday, April 12, 2010

Pillow Status: Dining On the Slept On

I suppose it's ramen's and pho's fault that Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House in Philly's Chinatown has reached pillow status, but it's a boon for the likes of us who have limited time for lunching.  Shoehorned into a row of storefronts slanging shrinkwrapped rubber products and dehydrated foodstuffs of questionable USDA status, you might miss it if you blink.  Once inside, you're not greeted by much--a few restaurant depot tables and chairs, but looking back into the open kitchen is a sight to behold.  Just beyond the cash register, you'll see a Chinese dude tossing about an enormous blob of dough that will eventually become your noodles.  Served with your choice of protein in a bowl of broth that tastes like has been simmering since before I was born, the noodles have a just-made-this-second gummy texture (a very good thing).  You can also get them on a plate topped with either peanut sauce or "pork soy sauce," a gingery and salty meat sauce that might just be the Chinese version of bolognese.  It was exactly what I wanted to eat and I had no idea until the first bite.  All in all, a stellar find.  Before comfort food season gives way to lighter fare, it would be in your best interest to forgo the pho and the ramen to give Nan Zhou a whirl.  And if you're not in the mood for soup, just order the noodles straight up.  You won't regret it.  Buen provecho.

Nan Zhou is located at 927 Race St in Philly's Chinatown. It's a tiny hole in the wall, so be careful not to stumble into what might be an opium den behind the wrong door (or try your luck). I got a huge plate of noodles for $6 including tip.

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