You know, not every noodle can make the cut for Thin Wheat Line , Voracious's weekly exploration of noodles in Seattle. Some are so mediocre


Noodles Not Worth Loving: A Roundup


You know, not every noodle can make the cut for Thin Wheat Line, Voracious's weekly exploration of noodles in Seattle. Some are so mediocre that, when I look at the photo I've taken, the memory depresses me as much as the noodles did when I ate them. I've been storing some of these rejects for weeks:

Unloved noodle no 1: Barleygreen noodles in soup with pork and preserved cabbage

Source: Shanghai Garden, 524 Sixth Ave. S., 625-1689.

Shanghai Garden is a popular place both noon (when it's heavily subsidized by Amazon staff) and night. The food I've eaten there has been, by and large, pleasant Chinese American fare with the occasional Shanghainese dish. One of the restaurant's cult items are its barleygreen noodles, hand-cut, wide noodles tinted emerald with barleygreen powder for extra, well, something, and it's purported to be something healthy. I suppose I should have had these noodles stir-fried, because when I ordered them in a typical Shanghainese/Taiwanese preparation, a soup with preserved cabbage and pork, they sucked. Clumped-together, mostly raw pasta that still tasted floury, they were served with flavorless milky chicken stock and flavorless pork. I picked out all the salted cabbage in the bowl and donated the rest to the work refrigerator, where I suspect it remains to this day, making our HR director seethe. (Swear I'll dump it out today, Dan-E!)

More unloved noodles after the jump:

Unloved noodle no. 2: Curry udon

Source: Tsukushinbo, 515 S. Main St.,467-4004.

Tsukushinbo's famous for its shio ramen Fridays, which cause people to line up outside in anticipation of the 11:45 a.m. opening. I, too, have eaten some lovely homestyle Japanese food at the tiny place. But these udon came in a thick, glossy broth whose recipe I automatically detected: One part Golden Curry cubes to three parts hot stock -- the soup was so strongly flavored, and so thick with cornstarch, that I put my spoon down after a few bites and spent the rest of the meal making doe-eyes across the table at my tablemate's perfect katsu donburi. She was intently mulling over how to reproduce the texture of the eggs in her bowl and didn't notice I was emanating guilt-type vibrations toward her until there was very little left to share with me. Props to her.

Unloved noodle no 3: Dan dan mien

Source: Szechuan 99, 6125 200th Ave. S.W., Lynnwood, 425-774-9622.

I've eaten at Szechuan 99 a couple of times over the past few years. While I like the scope of the menu -- it includes quite a few cold dishes and a long list of Szechuan classics -- I've never felt like the food has had the polish of Bamboo Garden in Bellevue. Maybe I'm just resentful because I can sense all my favorite Korean restaurants around me, tantalizing me with all the panchan I'm not eating. Maybe it's because the house-made tofu, which is apparently The Thing the chef excels in, has never been in house when I've tried to order it. These noodles were typical of my meals, though: The cabbage and pork had a nice ma la heat, tingling and numbing at the same time, but the topping was too scarce to power up all the flimsy, bland noodles underneath.

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