★★ Szechuan Noodle Bowl - Seattle
Szechuan Noodle Bowl (川味牛肉麺大王）is located in the International District of downtown Seattle, a hole-in-the-wall type of store that has been around for a long time. They have a simple menu that consists of a few varieties of the authentic Szechuan style beef noodle soup , 紅焼牛肉麺 (red braised beef noodle), 清燉牛肉麺 (clear stew), and 川味牛肉麺 (Szechuan style spicy). They also have a handful of appetizers the best of which are the pot stickers and green onion pancakes, I highly recommend getting the crispy, chewy pancakes with your noodles. But back to the ramen, on this day I ordered the 川味牛筋麺 (Szechuan style spicy beef tendon noodle).
The Soup - is a rich, dark brown soup, with a few floating drops of red chile oil. The soup is cooked everyday by stewing for over six hours a combination of beef, tendon, green onions, soy sauce, vegetables and a whole bunch of spices. The soup has a thick and salty flavor that is balanced out by the sourness of what I believe is rice vinegar and the spiciness of red chile.
The Noodle - is very thick, almost the thickness of udon noodles. The texture is surprisingly soft, too soft for my taste though I have found that Chinese prefer their noodles to be on the softer side.
The Toppings - consists of may pieces of beef tendon, bok-choy and green onions. The beef tendon were very tender and had all the rich flavors of the soup. The bright green bok-choy adds a beautiful contrast to the dark brown broth.
Overall - the soup and toppings were great, the noodle was not much to my liking, but if you want to try what authentic Chinese 面 or ramen tastes like then give Szechuan Noodle Bowl a try. I must say that I have never actually been to Szechuan yet, so I don't know how authentic this place is. The owner says that it is authentic, but I can't tell how different it is from Taiwanese style beef noodle sooup. Hopefully in the near future I will get a chance to go further inland on Mainland China and report on the ramen scene from there.