★★ 牛王庙 (Niu-Wang Temple) - Chengdu
Niu-Wang Temple is a noodle chain store in Chengdu that has a noodle dish called 怪味面 pronounced "guai-wei-men". Guai-wei-men's literal translation is "strange flavored noodles" or funky noodles as I like to call them. Here I try the funky noodles for the first time ever.
The Soup - tastes funky. True to its name this noodle's soup is quite strange. First of all it has a smell that reminds me of the tonkotsu ramen in Japan, but the funkiness doesn't stop there. The soup also has some fishy smell from dried squid/fish/shell fish and a lot of mysterious Sichuan spices. The soup is not very spicy though it has a trace of Sichuan peppers that numb you just slightly.
The Noodles - are medium thickness straight noodles cooked on the softer side. The noodles themselves aren't that delicious in flavor or texture and slightly dissapointing. Though I later find out that this is the preferred type of noodles for this area.
The Toppings - are slices of pork, shiitake mushrooms, bits and pieces of squid and shell fish, and some peanuts. Most of these toppings have been cooking in the soup for a very long time and are hardly discernable. They are all soft and soggy and you hardly notice them when eating the noodles.
Overall - A strange noodle that isn't for everybody. If you tried the heavy Hakata style ramen of Japan and liked it, or if you tried the stinky fermented tofu or thousand year egg and liked it, then these funky noodles might be for you. I actually liked it quite a bit but have since found others places in Chengdu that serve better funky noodles which I hope to write about in the future.
The store that I went to was right behind the Sheraton Hotel in Chengdu, but I've seen the chain stores all around Chengdu. Just look for the red sign with Chinese writings on it as in the photo.