By Kingsley Tan
Sampling the biggest food craze on WeChat requires luck and patience. Shanxi Mun Noodles has scored high marks with Chinese international students since its April launch. Its signature dish, Shanxi green bean noodles ($8), draws rave reviews for capturing authentic flavors of northern China. Run by a couple from Shanxi province, they take 12 orders a day through WeChat. Delivery orders are only for dinner and are first come first served, frequently selling out by 4 p.m.
Shanxi noodles are made four ways: Stretched, pulled, peeled and cut. You can find all four in New York City’s Chinatown in Flushing, which has a flourishing northern Chinese community. Mun noodles are handmade but not boiled. Instead, pork and green beans are first stir-fried in a wok, then fresh noodles are laid over the pork and beans before the beans are done. The noodles absorb the pork and bean essence, with liquid added to steam (or “mun”) the noodles over the stir-fry ingredients. Once the noodles soak up the liquid, they are tossed with the pork and beans, along with vinegar and garlic to taste. This is homey comfort food, rarely served in restaurants.
The best Shanxi green bean noodles should not be sticky (underdone), goopy (still undercooked) or soupy (overcooked). Beans should be tender and the pork should have flavor, without overwhelming the noodles and greens with salt. Shanxi Mun Noodles’ version is just right for flavor, with the chewy handmade noodles letting the green beans shine. The in-house brewed Shanxi vinegar is an exclusive recipe, making these noodles the closest thing to Mom’s cooking for homesick expatriates.
Appetizers from the Shanxi duo are well executed.
The handmade beef meatballs ($5) melt in your mouth.
Roast beef ($6) is sliced thin with the right ratio of meat to tendon.
The steamed shrimp bun ($2) is stuffed with diced shrimp, scallions and carrots in a fluffy bao.
The proprietors deliver to Malden, Chelsea, Everett and Revere for minimum orders of $20, or a $2 delivery fee. They also deliver to Allston and Boston residents for a $3 delivery fee, or free for orders over $30. As the menu is authentic, it’s entirely in Chinese, so do find someone who can help translate before placing your order on WeChat.
Shanxi green bean noodles are humble one-pot meals. For someone an ocean away from home, Shanxi Mun Noodles fill the belly and warm the heart.
This post is also available in: Chinese