So seasonal allergies have really caught me off guard – it is, after all, only February! I ended up taking the day off of work to pick up more medication (hopefully non-drowsy, unlike the Benadryl which made me almost sleep through the Men’s Free Skate Figure Skating on tv last night!) and run a few errands.
I wanted to grab some lunch on the go, and thought it would be a good time to try out Szechuan food. I’ve been really interested in trying out Dan Dan (or Tan Tan) Noodles every since I read this book earlier this year, and the bright yellow awning at Mr. Zhang’s on Victoria Drive has been calling out to me for quite some time!
They opened at 11:00 AM, and given that I was there only about 20 minutes after opening, it did not surprise me that I was the only customer. It’s very yellow inside too, and while it’s cheerfully painted and definitely clean, it wasn’t the kind of place where I would eat on my own without something to read.
I looked through the take out menu and couldn’t find Tan Tan Noodles, but after consulting with Mr. Zhang himself, I was able to see it’s listed clearly on the main menu (about $5.50). I also ordered Rolled Bean Curd Skin (small: $2.98) to balance out my meal. I asked for my meal “to go”, partially because I didn’t bring a book, but also because I’m still a bit shy about taking pictures in small restaurants!
When I got home, I opened the containers and:
I was disappointed to find so much celery, cooked al-dente, in the bean curd! Oh no! I’ve got a strange allergy that makes it so I can’t eat some raw or undercooked fruits & veggies! I picked around the celery, and found the bean curd skin to be quite soft, lacking some of that “chewy” texture I am used to. The dish was clearly made with some skill as the light chicken broth flavour penetrated the tofu nicely. There’s a bit of sauce there too, but it’s mostly sucked into the celery (Hershey the dog, got to enjoy the celery in this dish tremendously). I know I wouldn’t order this again due to my allergies, but it’s also not something I’d recommend to others.
On to the main course!
Yum! Now, this is my first experience with this dish, but I knew what to look for. The ground beef was nicely cooked – not tough, and quite generous. The chili sauce had fallen through the noodles into the bottom of the dish, so I mixed it up a bit.
Whoa! Now, this wasn’t very spicy – but it did have some kick. The noodles were quite soft, again, not chewy like I was expecting. The beef was mixed with green onion, peppercorns (probably Szechuan/Sichuan Peppercorns) and some peanut bits. It’s a great combination – very rich and filling, but complex enough that it makes you want to keep eating! I really enjoyed this, and I would be totally game to try something even hotter!