Yanzi Noodle House, Fairfax - report

5 Hungry eaters got together to try out the cuisine of the Guangxi province of China via this noodle house from the city of Luizhou.

Ordering was a bit complicated as everyone’s menu had different items crossed off, so it was hard to figure out what they really had in stock. After several attempts of clarification, we could not order the soup noodle version with snails in a spicy stock, the dish that makes them famous. Still not sure which part of the soup they didn’t have.

All was redeemed, though, when we got the food we ordered. It was an excellent meal worth a couple of exclamation points.

We got one soup version and one dry version of the Luosifen noodles. The “original” soup version, ordered medium spicy, still had plenty of kick to it and the broth had a gorgeous, warming flavor. The noodles are not special, but the sour bamboo, peanuts, crispy bean thread, dried radish, and sliced wood ear mushroom are a marvel of textures and flavors.

The dry version, with chinese sausage, was very nice though if you eot only one version, make sure you get the soup version. That’s where the gold is.

We also got ‘plain rice crepe with tomato sauce’ which is a terrible description of a brilliant dish. The tomato sauce is a chili sauce that you mix in your self. The rice crepe is served in rolls, swimming in a complex sauce.

The beef burrito is a deep fried beef roll with a faintly sweet sauce inside. Really nice texture though I could have done without the sweetening. This was a big hit at the table.

There is a whole other side to the menu, and we finally landed on boiled fish with sour mustard and chilis. This turned out to be a Guangxi version of shwei ju yu (water cooked fish), the famous Sichuan fish in a ma la soup. The flavors, though, were substantially different even if the broth still packs a serious wallop. Powerful stuff.

This is a place I could return to again and again.

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Great report, Steve - I have nothing to add. As I mentioned yesterday, the boiled fish was my favorite, but I would happily eat any of those dishes again.

Hi Steve – I think I have fallen off your invitation list. Can you post upcoming meals here?

Argh, not sure how you disappeared from my contact list. Very frustrating. This is the first time in a long while I sent something out. I will send you an email to see if it’s still valid. You can always message me directly on HO if your contact info has changed.

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Steve, is this the place that used to be a stall in NY Mart in Rockville, and recently got their own storefront?

It definitely started in Rockville, though I am not sure where exactly. They had the Tim Carman article blown up at the front counter.