Visiting Beijing and fancy a truly local noodle bar experience that will leave your belly in a state of utter bliss? Well, look no further! Tucked away in 1949 The Hidden City is a tiny room, behind an unmarked door, with 12 stools around a bar that will have you slurping for joy!
WHAT TO EAT
Now don’t let the wee menu fool you. Yes, Noodle Bar offers up only one main dish of – yep, you guessed it – noodles, but there are so many ways to have them that it’ll take you a while to decide. They offer a nice selection of starters that include things like deep fried tofu or healthy fresh seasonal vegetables. Then for your main, you’ll choose from either thick or thin noodles made-to-order with options like lamb, beef tendon, beef tripe, mushrooms and much more.
You can mix and match and have your noodles exactly as you’d like because they are going to make your bowl fresh and just for you. Simply tick the options on the bilingual menu that you want and away they go!
The coolest thing about Noodle Bar is that you can watch your actual noodles being made from start to finish. Each big hot bowl is prepared to order with hunks of the raw wheat dough pulled, twisted, and stretched magically into long individual noodles before disappearing into boiling broth. Check out my noodles being thrown about below >>
It felt really exotic to me to order and eat tendons so that’s what I did and it was absolutely yummy. I actually had their 3-beef combo (brisket + tendons + tripe) and am proud to report that I indeed tried them all! Although in the spirit of full disclosure…because mentally I’m not a fan of tripe I didn’t have more than a bite of that (but I did try it, Mom!). Much to my surprise, in the end it turned out that my favourite part of that trio was the tendons. Who’da guessed? They have about the same texture as jellyfish if you’ve tried that before, yet with more flavour. It was perfect.
THE VENUE ALONE IS WORTH THE TRIP
Noodle Bar is located downtown in a complex that it made up of single-story buildings built in the traditional Beijing hutong architecture style with tiled roofs, surrounding a picturesque interior courtyard. The entrance is guarded over by immense stone warriors and a narrow brick walkway will lead you through an art gallery of all things and then out into the courtyard, where you’ll spot even more avant-garde statues and other installations. If you’ve never been before then tell the staff in the gallery you’re looking for Noodle Bar and they’ll lead you to the entrance, otherwise it’s tough to find that unmarked door at the end of the courtyard your first time.
TIP! If you go in spring or summer plan to arrive early (or stay after) and enjoy the garden bar in the courtyard. I went around dusk, just in time to watch the blue night fall onto the sculptures. It’s a beautiful setting to sip a few cocktails and unwind.
A FEW MORE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
I highly recommend Noodle Bar. The food is amazing and it really is a quirky spot that is quite memorable. Now, with that said, a quirk or two might throw you for a loop so take note of these little tidbits:
- Noodle Bar doesn’t take reservations but the turnover is quite snappy so even if there is a bit of a wait it shouldn’t take long to be seated at the horseshoe shaped bar for the noodle slappin’ show
- Oddly there is no music
- They don’t serve dessert
- 2 kinds of local beer is offered but no wine or spirits
Their signature bowls cost 38 RMB and include a monthly special featuring either chicken, beef, lamb or pork + mushrooms and/or other vegetarian options + beef brisket, beef tripe, or beef tendons. Again, I suggest the tendons and brisket together. It was delicious.
Hours >> Open from 11am to 10pm daily
Location >> Gong Ti Bei Lu, Chao Yang District, Beijing (behind pacific century place) 100027
Show your taxi driver this >> 北京朝阳区工体北路, 太平洋百货南门对面, 邮编 100027
Telephone >> 86 10 6501 1949
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