After getting city-dwellers addicted to Shaanxi cuisine, the Biang Biang team have taken their chewy, hand-stretched noodles to Burwood’s main restaurant strip.
Opening just last month, the Burwood Road outlet has the same bright orange roof décor as the Haymarket hole-in-the-wall. In the doorway, a food cart menuboard pays homage to the Shaanxi street food origins of the dish. The Shaanxi province is in northwestern China, a place where wheat fields vie with rice fields, and, as a result, the locals have been living on wheat flour dishes for centuries.
This explains the strong noodle culture in places like Xi’an, the province’s capital city, where biangbiang noodles are considered one of the “eight wonders of Shaanxi”. The wonders are basically a collection of habits that set the people of Shaanxi apart, and one of them is these ribbon-like, hand-stretched noodles.
Ordering is done at the counter where staff speak limited English, and volunteer no advice or answers to those not already inducted into eating Xi'an food. Luckily the dishes are inexpensive, so it doesn't matter as much if you make a mistake and order something that isn't to your personal taste.
Wanting to really taste the noodles, which look a bit similar to Italian pappardelle, we opted for Biang Biang Noodle with Chilli ($10.50). For this you get a big bowl of wide, firm noodles that are served dry with chilli oil, chilli powder, shallots, bean sprouts and baby bok choy.
You give them a stir and then can enjoy slurping up the three-finger wide, never-ending strands into your gob. We sat on their outside tables to limit the humiliation, and this time remembered not to wear white.
The spice level is lively, without being too extreme, and can be calmed with cans of Calpis ($3.50).
Round out your noodle dinner with a small plate of Braised Beef and Tripe ($4.50). The thin slices are served cold, and are tasty and numbing, with a round and roasty flavour - perfect for punctuating dives in to your noodle bowl.
I’m even more enamoured with a bowl of Silk Tofu with Soy Sauce ($6) that’s round and earthy. With raw skinned peanuts, coriander and shallots for interest, the hero of this dish is the textural sensation of these silky pieces of soy-lubricated tofu, sliding down your chilli-ravaged throat.
124 Burwood Road, Burwood
Ph: (02) 9745 6703