It is not what they put in it. It is how they pull it.

19 10 2010

Mey Lin's Hot & Sour (Hand-Pulled) Noodle Soup

IT HAS been a while since I last wrote a chef a glowing thank you note.  The first one was for the chef at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel when they surprisingly – and quite happily – obliged me by fulfilling my request for Hainanese Chicken Rice.  Complete with all the sauces.  Eventhough it’s not on the coffee shop menu.  At.  Twelve.  Midnight.

Last weekend, I wrote a long one for the chef at Mey Lin at SM Mall of Asia (MOA).  I had to check myself if I was just overwhelmed by the fact that I was spending a day in MOA, a non-event for just everybody else, yet a major one for me.  I’ve always felt it to be so out of the way.  So making it there – a good half hour before the stores actually opened – may be a cause for celebration.  But watching sales associates squeegeeing glass panels doesn’t a celebratory mood make.  So it was really the food that made me happy.

I’ve never been to Mey Lin.  It took a comment made to my post “Canoodling noodle thoughts” for me to seek it out.  But that too wasn’t the reason I found myself on the restaurant strip at MOA that day.  I was there for Peanut Butter Company.  I’ve been wanting to find out how my own Sesame Peanut Noodles fare vis-à-vis their Cold Sesame Noodles with Oriental Dressing.

But my peripheral vision caught the words Mey Lin.  And Mey Lin surreptitiously beckoned.

The menu was huge.  But I was there for the hand-pulled noodles!

“What are your bestsellers?”

“Noodles?”

“Yes, the hand-pulled noodles.”

“Sir, this…” (points to something like Anisio Beef Noodle Soup)

“…and this.”  (points to Seafood Noodle Soup)

“Okay, I’ll have the Hot & Sour Noodle Soup!  Meal…  NOT snack.”  (Looking back, I felt rude not taking him up on his recommendations!  Asking for the bestsellers yet not considering them.  The height of rudeness!)

“Is that like the Chinese Hot & Sour Soup but with noodles?”

All I got was a blank stare.

“Is your lemonade fresh?”

“Yes.”

“Then one of that please.”

“Do you have something called “kutchay” dumplings?”  (I attempted to describe kutchay, which is actually chive blossoms)

“Yes, Sir.  Pero mas marami po yung pork.”  (Yes, Sir.  But it has a lot more pork than kutchay.)

“Oh, nevermind.  Just the soup and lemonade then.”

Breathless in anticipation of the huge bowl that will soon land on my table, I diverted my restlessness to the seeming show that is the hand-pulling of the noodles.  Wary of whipping out my digital camera after a less-than-pleasant experience with the security personnel of Calvin Klein Jeans (“Bawal po dito yan.”  …  and I was still outside their store!  It’s never the message that’s my problem.  It’s how it is said.  I scrapped my plan to buy a couple of shirts, and in my own words told him: “Big mistake!  Huge!”  Hahaha!)…  Where was I?  Oh, whipping out my camera!

I looked the chef in the eye, and without speaking a word, pursed my lips to the direction of the camera in my right hand.  He let out a wide smile and nodded.  I rose from my seat and watched how these amazing noodles are pulled to perfection.

The dough is made of just the basics – pastry flour, enriched all-purpose flour, water, and salt.  Probably a little oil too.  But it is not the recipe that is crucial here.  It is the skill in pulling them into fine, perfect noodles.  Chinese chefs are known to spend years perfecting this craft.

It was hard to keep up with the speed and dexterity with which Mr. Chef hand-pulls the dough into noodles.  And I was at the mercy of the limitations of my compact digital camera.  But I think I got the steps down pat:  Knead the dough.  Roll the dough into a long cylinder.  Rub a little oil onto it.  As needed, dust the work table with a little flour.  Or, dust the dough itself.  Grab both ends of the dough, and bring them together.  Twist the dough, and then pull it out, stretching your arms as far as you can go.    Fold the dough in half, dusting with flour as necessary.  Continue this process until fine noodles are formed.  Cook the noodles briefly in briskly boiling water.  They should be ready for any final cooking required for the dishes they’ll be used in.

Mr. Chef pulls the noodles to perfection! I couldn't wait!

For something made out of very few basic ingredients, I was amazed at how yummy the noodles tasted and how nicely chewy their texture was.  Right there and then, I declared that it has got to be the best noodles I’ve ever had.  Well, maybe not the absolute best but definitely on a part with my all-time fave, Kim Hiong.  Without question, I’d choose Mey Lin over North Park anytime.  Anytime.

The amazing noodle soup bowl has landed!

 

Aren't those noodles drool- and slurp-worthy?!

 

100 grams of perfection. Nothing "plain" about these noodles!

It didn’t hurt too that the hot & sour soup the noodles came in really tasted authentic, comparable to the best I’ve had here and abroad – and up in the air at 30,000 feet.  I slurped the noodles with all the finesse I could muster and before I knew it, I had to ask for an extra plain noodle order worth 100 grams, quite a steal at 30 pesos!

Just writing this now is making my mouth water.  I’ve got to go back to Mey Lin!  And quick!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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One response

8 02 2011
u8mypinkcookies

I must agree, their hand-pulled noodles are the best! I soooo love the Adobo Egg & Tokwa noodles and Chicken Mushroom noodles 😀 of course, it aint complete w/o the chili sauce 😀

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