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Sha Lin Noodle 548 W. Broadway, 604-873-1816
The Lowdown: Rustic noodle making at its best. Watch the masters stretch, pull, and knife-cut noodles by hand.
The Dish: Spicy stir-fried noodles with chicken has a delicacy that can only be achieved with freshly made noodles.
The Clientele: Students from Northern China grateful for a taste of home.
The Extras: Thick-skined jaozi (boiled dumplings) are a favourite of Northerners, who consume them by the dozen.
Xian Noodle Stall (Richmond Public Market) 8260 Westminster Hwy., 604-821-1888
The Lowdown: A rough and tumble dining experience ripped from the pages of Lonely Planet. It channels an industrial corner of Shandong.
The Dish: The hand-pulled noodles are made to order and cooked in heavily salted water to ensure maximum chew. The lamb noodle soup has a wonderfully deep flavour.
The Clientele: Chinese truck drivers, market workers, and other blue-collar types looking for a good, honest bowl.
The Extras: Housemade pan-fried pork dumplings are savoury, rich, and filling.
Long’s Noodles 4853 Main St., 604-879-7879
The Lowdown: Shanghainese hole-in-the-wall with a devouted following. Server Sandy Shi is a force of nature.
The Dish: Northern-style noodles served here are all about comfort and sustenance. Tan tan noodles with meat sauce is rich and warmly spicy, yet the noodles and broth are light and fresh.
The Clientele: Newly arrived families from China and a good sprinkling of Main Street hipsters.
The Extras: A bamboo steamer of xialong bao (soup dumplings). Arguably the best in the city.
Michigan Noodles 1175-8580 Alexandra Rd., 604-276-0882
The Lowdown: Owned by the same family that runs Hong Kong’s legendary Mak’s noodles.
The Dish: You won’t find a better bowl of wonton noodles this side of Kowloon. The wontons have bite, and the soup is clear but deeply flavoured from dried shrimp and fried dace.
The Clientele: Hong Kong expats and bleary-eyed travellers just in from the airport.
The Extras: Lively Taiwanese-style tofu (crispy tofu skin) with stir-fried enoki mushrooms and broccoli.
Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle (1) 1560 Marine Dr., West Vancouver. (2) 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, 604-295-9357. Chefhungnoodle.com
The Lowdown: When this awar-winning Taiwanese chain opened in Richmond, lineups were an hour long. They recently opened where few chinese restaurants have dared: West Van.
The Dish: The noodles, made to exacting specifications, perfectly balance rustic heft with refined buoyancy. Go for the “championship” thin-cut noodles with beef shank or the “fire chili” soup, which zings with Sichuan peppercorns.
The Clientele: Aberdeen mall rats and HK fashionistas in Richmond; their moneyed parents in the high-design West Van location.
The Extras: Chopped ma lan tou (spinich-like vegetable) with finely diced tofu and chili peppers, or beef rolled in a flaky pancake with hoisin sauce.