Umami Mart Barware
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I woke up to an email this morning with the subject line: "You're so ahead of your time!" Bryan's good friend Rob was informing me that March is National Noodle Month, and forwarded me this article about the celebrations in LA. So what the hell, let's extend noodle month through March! April! FOREVER!

Today, I share with you one of my favorite noodle joints in the Bay Area. Yoko and Washi introduced me to China Village last year, a Chinese restaurant on the busy Solano Avenue strip in Albany, just north of Berkeley. They specialize in all things Szechwan and spicy as hell. And what else? Hand-pulled noodles!

If Chinese food was my religion, the menu here would be my bible. The thing is heavy with many many pages, encompassing an array of cold appetizers, hot appetizers, dim sum, beef, lamb, seafood, pork, soup, "Delightful Vegetables", and most importantly, "Rice and Noodle". There are so many dishes I want to try at China Village, but no matter how many times I go with the intention of trying something new, I just always end up ordering a bowl of hot, piping noodle soup. What can I say, I am a sucker for hand-pulled noodles. And predictable.

Fortunately, there are so many different noodle dishes to try, I will never get bored of these noodles. Here is a photo gallery of what I have had so far at China Village.

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My current favorite, #199: Village Special Noodle Soup. In parenthesis, the menu says "Seafood. Spicy. All good!". Hilarious. But they're not kidding. Look at those peppers!

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#191 Szechwan pickled cabbage and pork noodle soup. A classic.

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#191 Szechwan beef stew noodle soup. I want to bathe in this broth.

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#206 Szechwan style spicy cold noodles with chicken. This is so satisfying on a warm day!

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#190 Spicy Tan Tan noodles, in broth. Heck yah! Photo by Washi Washino.

Yoko's all-time favorite is the #197 Szechwan Spice Vegetable Noodle Soup. It comes in a steaming red-hot soup, but accented with vinegar so you simultaneously get hot with a shot of sour. It is delightful!

As you can see, they hand-pull their noodles to be many shapes and sizes; some egg-based, some flour. I swear though, the next time I go, I will order something else. Like their Hot + Spicy Pork Shoulder, cooked for 8 hours. Waaaaa!