Located in the hinterlands of SE PDX at the strange intersection of SE 84th and SE Foster Rd, JC Rice Noodle is yet another sign of the growing Chinese population and its ability to support such a business. It seems to have become the de facto local supplier to restaurants as a stream of customers with huge orders flowed out the door as I waited for my order to be done.
JC Rice Noodle is a to go operation, selling freshly made rice noodles, related rice noodle products, freshly made tofu, and a few cooked items. All of these are on sale for incredibly cheap prices, something of an anomaly in these days of rising food prices. My tab out the door was just over forty bucks.
Here's what I bought:
1 sheet of ho fun. I am going to commit the sin of cutting it into portions and freezing it for later use in chow fun. The sheet weighed close to seven pounds.
1 order of rice noodle roll with char siu (bbq pork). The order must have weighed three pounds at least.
1 order of fresh tofu.
Assorted grocery items.
1 order of fried tofu.
1 order of house special chow fun.
1 order of beef chow fun.
Here are my thoughts on the cooked items.
The fried tofu is cooked on the spot. Fresh fried goodness of firm tofu calls out for a superior soy sauce dip (which is not provided). Crispy, crunchy, and chewy at the same time. I don't know if they offer tofu in varying degrees of firmness.
The house special chow fun is dry fried (!) with shrimp, chicken, and char siu. The quality of the shrimp was average. The char siu could have and should have been in bigger slices or slivers. The nubby bits didn't announce their presence or flavor. The chicken slices, in contrast, were substantial.
The beef chow fun, a holy grail dish, contained big slices of beef which weren't overly tenderized.
Both versions of the chow fun stood out due to the generosity of the noodles, proteins, and the usual companions of green onions, onions, and bean sprouts in balanced proportion to the rest of the dish.
And then there is the wok hei. The smokey scent was noticeable and pleasing. The ability and willingness to cook dry fried chow fun is noteworthy.
Neither version suffered from greasiness or excessive use of oil. All in all, the cook showed his/her skill.
The quality of the rice noodles in all of their manifestations is quite good. The noodles are pleasingly soft, yet they have some "spine" and don't fall apart so easily.
At home I heated the char siu rice roll in the steamer and made a superior soy sauce dip. The char siu could have been more generous.
Considering that rice noodle products previously had to come from Seattle (Rose City brand) or, perhaps, California it is encouraging to see a local business thrive. JC Rice Noodle moves a substantial amount of product every day it seems. Several items sold out while I was there.
Next on the list would be a noodle factory that makes decent won ton mein and chow mein. I am not enthused with the products from Shanghai, PDX's oldest Chinese noodle purveyor, or Evergreen. That's a story for another day, and one can always maintain hope.