By KC Santos
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Along the bustling restaurant strip in Timog Avenue is a dining place that stands out for its hand-pulled noodle offerings.
Since it opened in May 2010, the Kanzhu Hand-Pulled Noodles restaurant has had a small, yet regular set of clientele. Diners, mostly of Chinese descent, have been coming back to this restaurant because of the special noodles that is said to be rich not only in flavor but also in history.
It is said that the special noodles was popularized by a man named Ma Bao Zi some 300 years ago in the Kanzhu Province in China. Ma made hand-pulled noodles for a special dish, which he would carry on his shoulders and sell around his small community.
When Ma's braised beef noodles gained popularity among locals, he opened his first hand-pulled noodle restaurant which was later on inherited by his son who developed the dish further. The hand-pulled noodles from Kanzhu would later on earn the title of “The No.1 Noodles on Earth”.
I visited Kanzhu Hand-Pulled Noodles and was welcomed by a friendly waiter. The background music from a flute enhanced further the Oriental feel of the place which, as expected, was packed with Chinese diners.
I'm not really a fan of beef dishes but I ordered the Braised Beef Dry Noodles anyway. The waiter says it's their bestseller so I thought it was worth a try. I was served a pot of Jasmine Tea which readied my stomach for the hearty bowl.
While anxiously waiting for my meal, I chanced upon a cook kneading and stretching the noodles at arm’s length. From the way the cook clung his arm to his obviously strained shoulders, I could tell how much force he exerts in making the noodles.
I could just imagine how much worse it was for Ma Bao Zi who after making the noodles had to carry it all around Kanzhu to sell it.
I was not really very hungry but when I saw the huge platter of the special Braised Beef Dry Noodles, I started appreciating how it looked like.
The beef chunks swam in the light sauce that drowned the thick noodles beautifully. As I blended the noodles and sauce with my chopsticks, the aroma of the chili pepper leaves fluttered off the plate, increasing my appetite.
I'm not a noodle “expert” but you don’t need to be a connoisseur to give this dish a thumbs up verdict. The noodles were really firm and thick that it takes a good chewing to finish one mouthful. At P135 pesos per order, the generous serving gave me my money's worth.
Based on how the other diner's slurped on this bowl of soup, I guess it's perfect for people used to Chinese cuisine since chili pepper leaves have a high nutritional value.
Apart from the standard entrees, Kanzhu Hand-Pulled Noodles also sells takeout dim sum meals like the hakaw (P120), pork siomai (P80) and chicken feet (P75). If you’re looking for authentic Chinese condiments, the place also sells bottled Fish Skin, Lemon and Sweet and Sour Sauce for a few hundred pesos.
I have tasted only one dish but the waiter said there are a lot left to try. I will definitely drop by next time for the Fried Noodle and Noodle Soup selections.
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