Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mmmm noodles!


I love Chinese food. I didn't always eat it, as it wasn't exactly popular where I grew up. I was introduced to it by Del, my Singaporean pen-friend. She came to visit me in Athens some 15 years ago, and was amazed that I'd never tried it despite the fact that there was a Vietnamese restaurant just a couple of blocks from my flat. We arranged to eat there one evening and I still remember what we had: shark fin soup, nem (Vietnamese spring rolls), sweet & sour chicken and szechuan beef. That meal obviously made an impression on me, as I usually can't remember what I ate yesterday, let alone half a lifetime ago.


I was hooked that evening, and went back to that restaurant time and time again with my friends, trying different dishes each time. It wasn't always a success - we once famously attempted to eat some bamboo skewers (the waiter almost collapsed in laughter and I'm pretty sure he cried too). In our defence, the skewers were small and thin, and we'd heard you could eat bamboo, only we didn't know the difference between bamboo shoots and bamboo sticks. We got the hang of it eventually.


These days I have Chinese food at least once a week, and often cook it at home. I love noodles. To me, they're the ultimate comfort food (well, except for chocolate I suppose). It was exactly what we needed today, as it's been cloudy and wet and not like summer at all. To cheer ourselves up we had lunch at our favourite noodle house, one of these places with the long tables and benches that became popular by "asian inspired" noodle restaurant chain Wagamama. "Our" noodle house is part of a much smaller and modest chain called Tai Won Mein, but it serves the best Chinese noodle dishes at very reasonable prices. The portions are huge too, which is brilliant if you've skipped breakfast, as we had. I had a mixed noodle soup (yum!), hubby had beef in black bean sauce, and we shared fried squid and spring rolls. As you can see, we polished it all off - and now feel a little less depressed about summer not making an appearance today.

16 comments:

Γκρινιάρης said...

I used to eat Chinese quite often in Athens lately, but here in London, well, I think I have become semi-Chinese with these quantities I have eaten! He he!

I also had Chinese today, black bean beef with fried rice. I kind of prefer rice than noodles, but after your post I am thinking of giving noodles a second chance. You seem like an expert in asian food, so it's a reason to trust you! :)

While rest of people in Greece are enjoying (are they?) the hottest summer ever, here it keeps raining! I guess that you'll visit your noodle restaurant pretty soon...

Take care!

Shionge said...

Hey bravo...you did well and now I know where to bring you for a hearty meal if ever you come to visit me in Singapore :D

My English gf Karen will never ever have a go at Chinese :(

You did well Tinsie and glad you enjoy it!

Kathy said...

You're killing me!!!I love Chinese food especially the appetizers. It sounds delicious.I haven't had Chinese in a long time.There are some great restaurants in Athens but the best Chinese I ever had was in Montreal last summer. Fantastic.Salt and pepper squid was my fav. Maybe we'll go next time you are here.
Filia

Γκρινιάρης said...

Tonight I had noodles! It seems that your posts have an impact! You should be proud of that! :)

Tinsie said...

@ Griniaris: Hey, I'm having an impact, I'm changing the world ;-)
What did you think of them then? Will you have them again? Now that you started, you need to try all the different varieties - egg noodles, ho fun, mee pok etc. Also Singapore noodles (super yum).

@ Shionge: Well, here's an offer I can't refuse! I'm up for Chinese any time, and I can do chopsticks too :-D

@ Kathy: Sounds good to me! The Vietnamese restaurant I used to go to is still there, I think. We could give it a go.

Daniel B. said...

That looks great! Makes me hungry... I love noodles!!

ShadowFalcon said...

I'm looking the place up as I type, tomorow I'm there for dinner!

Tinsie said...

@ Daniel: I know what you mean. I feel hungry every time I check my blog these days. I think I ought to post something else soon, so that the bowl of noodles isn't the first thing I look at when I log in.

@ Shadowfalcon: Did you find any info on Tai Won Mein? They're all over south London - Greenwich, Catford, Elephant & Castle. We went to the one in Catford, but they're all pretty much identical.

palmtreefanatic said...

I love the chinese buffets...these photos are sure making me hungry!;)

Karen said...

Tinsie--Did you take your camera to the restaurant??? This is my favorite thing about blog-people, the fact that we take pictures of everything from the mundane to the crazy in order to post them on our blogs. :-)

I do love Chinese food, the best I ever had was in Milan. Or possibly Rome. My absolute fave, though, is Indian food, and the best I had was in London.

Marg, the Sal. said...

I also adore Asian food - Chinese, Japanese, Thai. I could have it any day of the week!

Tinsie said...

@ Palmtreefanatic: Chinese buffets are great. There was one near my old office, we used to go all the time. Shame there's nothing like that near where I work now :-(

@ Karen: I so did :-D
I was inspired by Shionge's "reporting with pictures", I thought I might try it!
Indian's my fave too, but I don't have it as often as I'd like coz hubby's not too keen. Personally, I love a good curry. Yum yum.

@ Marg: I had Thai yesterday mmmmmm :-)

Betty C. said...

These are mouth-watering photos. Asian food isn't too present in my part of France -- I'll have to make up for it this summer in the Pacific Northwest!

Γκρινιάρης said...

Well, Tinsie, probably next time I will also get noodles! :P I am fed up with the rice dishes, it's time for a change. They tasted better than what I expected. Maybe next time I'll try a noodle soup. Anything in particular to recommend?

Daniel B. said...

Tinsie - Tour de France starts in London this year... take lots of pics for me and post 'em!!! Mucho gracias!

Tinsie said...

@ Betty: Sounds like a good reason to tuck in when you get the chance ;-)

@ Griniaris: Definitely try noodle soup - it goes with the current weather. I usually have the mixed seafood which is quite mild, but chicken noodle soup is also yummy. Avoid anything labelled "hot" unless you really can take the heat!

@ Daniel: I know, and I've been looking forward to it all summer. The weather's a bit iffy at the moment, but unless it pours with rain, I'll definitely be there with my camera :-)