Dish: 'Tan Zai' rice noodles
It's almost impossible to avoid letting everyone in the room know that you're having a bowl of 'Tan Zai' rice noodles (譚仔米線). The aroma is so rich and strong, that people around you would literally start drooling the moment you open the lid of the take away bowl. Depending on how generous your friend is, they might share with you or you could end up just getting a spoonful of soup. Best way to avoid that situation? Get everyone a bowl.
|'Tan Zai' rice noodles|
But then, ordering for more than just yourself would be a difficult task in itself. With the option to add over twenty types of ingredients (you can opt to have anything from one to all twenty!), several flavors of soup base, and an almost infinite increment of "spiciness levels" (a scale that runs from 1/10 to 10), there are just too many ways to customize! Unless you're a professional waitress or shorthander, errors are abound.
Why not have it at the shop? Because then you'd risk having a second and then a third bowl. And, to be perfectly honest, the food is great, the ambiance is not.
The selection for today is beef with 竹笙 (pronounced: zhu2 sheng1), a type of stinkhorn mushroom, in "fragrant spicy" soup, and 1/3 spiciness. The noodles here are the special Yunnan (雲南) type, made from rice which typically is thicker and more chewy.
|Today's selection: Beef with 竹笙|
|The Yunnan rice noodle|
The real gem is the soup. Don't be deceived by the innocent colour, this stuff is reeeeeaaaaally hot. To this day, the recipe remains a top secret. Common descriptions people give include that it is "unique" and "addictive". Instead of being salty and oily, as is common the case for Ramen soup, this one is more like a broth. It tastes as good as it smells, with hints of a variety of spices and mushrooms. Mind you, the 1/3 spiciness I'm having is referring to 0.3333333 on a scale of 1 to 10, instead of being 1/3 of maximum. Level 10 is reserved for those who dare to risk their tongues, throats and stomachs.
|The deceptively lethal soup|
The whole thing is downed within three minutes. After that I'm usually looking at the bowl of the one sitting next to me with equal parts envy and greed!
Best consumed ... anytime!
The Tuesday Juxtapose Chart