The wife and I have been meaning to try the China Magic Noodle House for months after reading that they make their own noodles fresh to order. The only thing keeping us from trying it is the 30 minute drive from Central Phoenix (it's on Dobson & Warner in Chandler).
I spent 8 months living in China and it wasn't an american tour. I lived with Chinese roommates and ate in local street markets the majority of the time I was there...it has been 10 years since I left. I'm not going to say I haven't found good chinese food in the US since returning, but I have to say that what we ate today at China Magic was the first place that actually reminded me of dishes we actually had in China in terms of texture and taste. (ie I've had great food especially in NY and SF, but never saw or ate those dishes while in china)
We didn't get to sample much of the menu, as I had already eaten and we just stopped to get my wife something to eat. We started with the steamed dumplings. Depending on what you're used to, you might not dig them...but they have incredibly thick, chewy skins that were obviously made by the same noodle guy (who I'll talk about in a minute) minutes before stuffing w/ filling and steaming them. The difference between these and most dumplings you get in the US is substantial; it's a texture thing as much as it is taste. No see-through skins here. Probably the thickest, chewiest skins I've had in the US and it brought me back to China...and I loved it!!! Some of the best meals I had in China (and there were many great ones) consisted of dumplings, and I haven't really had anything like it again until today.
Best part was you get 8 large dumplings for like 5 bucks.
For our entrees we both got noodle soups. I had the beef soup, the wife had a seafood soup. Like $6 each. HUGE portions compared to most places; there is a large grapefruit-sized ball of noodles in the bowl. The noodles are the star...there is this guy behind a display window (with a tip jar, lol) that you can watch make your noodles to order. He does it the traditional way, spinning and slapping them around. You just don't see that kind of stuff in the southwest very often, and I'm very happy to see it!! The texture is completely different from most noodle soups you get for the same reason the dumplings were so great - chewy texture and great flavor. The soup base was flavorful and the beef tender - not the best soup I've ever had but it was pretty dang good.
The wife scarfed her entire bowl, and she claims we're making the 30 minute drive again in the near future.
They have a lot of different types of noodles and dishes on the menu; I'm planning on ordering the dumplings and something new next time we go...
Anyways, as you can probably tell, I'm a fan and we're exicited to have this place in town.
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