Despite the restaurant hopping we’ve been doing these days, I’m actually a creature of habit, and extremely loyal to my favorite places. These days, when I’m in the mood for a quick Asian meal, I scoot over to Noodle Bar in the 13th arrondissement to have my fill.
Noodle Bar, as its name suggests specializes in noodles. While there are also rice, vermicelli and other forms of carbohydrates, most dishes feature homemade wheat noodles, thick and toothsome, akin to Japanese udon. I prefer the noodles here to those at another noodle shop, Les Pates Vivante, where the noodles are thinner and not as consistent in size (thus suffering from uneven cooking times). The noodles are served in all fashions: tucked in a bowl of rich, pork-bone stock; tangled in fragrant chili oil and other sauces; or simply wok-fried with a melange of other ingredients. I fancy the drier variants that allow me to slurp my noodles to my heart’s content without worrying about splashing soup all over the table. The mixing sauce for the dry Taiwanese beef noodles is especially delicious, the soy sauce and meat juices providing a lot of umami, while the stewing spices, dried orange peel and dried chili peppers add a complex and fiery punch. The stewed meat is well prepared too, utterly soft whereas the tendons almost melt into a gelatinous mess.
I enjoyed my noodles so much that I brought the husband and our friend D back that evening for dinner. While the boys ordered noodles, I tried one of the two congees on the menu, pleasantly surprised by its thick, velvety consistency. The portion was generous as with all the other dishes, though I found it strange that they added bacon on top of slices of lean meat into the porridge. Perhaps it was to boost its flavors without MSG? I don’t know why, but I do approve of the congee.
If one is in the mood for something more substantial than just a one-plate meal, there are various interesting items on the a la carte menu. Next time, we will order more than just a plate of vegetables, though we were quite pleased with our plate of piping hot fried tofu and fat mushrooms. Next time too, we will order a casserole after spotting so many other diners eating them. As with all habits, eating in Noodle Bar will be one difficult to break.
31 Rue Nationale, 75013, Paris
01 44 23 85 74