14 August 2011

Noodle Chu

With lack of a Chinese or cliche restaurant name (maybe there is one but I just didn't see it?), Noodle Chu struck me slightly suspicious. Why would there be an authentic Cantonese dim sum place next to the distinctly American Shoprite/Kmart/IHOP? But, because a friend of a friend had mentioned it after I talked about the Qin Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, I figured that I should go at some point. Apparently, the rest of my family had already been there for dinner (but not dim sum) due to my dad's work place having some party there, but I missed it because I was in college. This time, we went for the dim sum. I'm still not really sure why we went out to eat; usually, we go out to celebrate something and this time I don't see much that requires celebrating. No complaints, though.
One distinct thing about Noodle Chu is that it is highly decorative. The interior design has been meticulously planned - and I mean, more meticulous than the starchy tablecloths and the square-tables-that-can-become-circular-tables. They had drawings of (all?) the Chinese emperors on the wall, and rather ancient looking room dividers next to the walls, and one wall was just covered in Chinese face masks (the kind used in Chinese operas). They even had one (yes, one!) potted plant in the corner. Compared to most other Chinese restaurants, Noodle Chu - despite not sounding authentic - looks like they made an effort to transport people to China/Hong Kong.
The place was quite empty at 11:30, but by noon, all the tables were full and people were sitting in line. We ordered food by choosing tins of dim sum from the carts that the waitresses would push around. My mum got me a tofu even though I didn't want it, but oh well. It was just plain ol' fried tofu...with a lump of cow flesh in the middle.

My brother got a thousand-year-old-egg congee, and it was pretty tasty although I think there may have been chicken bits floating around in it. The congee (rice) is made the Hong Kong way, and reminded both my brother and I of the congee shop on the third floor of Marina Square in Hong Kong. No matter how hard my mum tries, she can never replicate that texture and taste.
The vegetable dumplings had shrimp in it. Figures. My sister particularly enjoyed the xiao3long2bao1 and the pork/shrimp spring rolls, although she spent most of her time reading and not actually eating.
The fried glutinous-rice-flour-ball-of-dough with lotus paste filling was delicious. My brother and I pretended that they were toffee apples, which is really silly. However, when we were younger, we used to pretend that our bowl of rice was a cake and we used to cut "slices" of rice to eat. So, it's not entirely bizarre for us. Plus, it's appalling for the other customers, haha.
My brother asked my sister, "Hey, do you want to eat Squidward?", and my sister replied indignantly, "No!!!!"
Overall, the Qin Dynasty Seafood Restaurant has more variety (I mean, they had DURIAN), but Noodle Chu is much calmer, has tons of the basic dim sum, including congee and pig tripe, and looks more impressive (for those who care about appearance/for those who are looking for places to take co-workers). It's family-friendly, of course, but also extremely busy during the 11-2 dim sum period. The best idea is to arrive around 11:15 or 11:30 - the food is out, but there are also plenty of empty tables.

Noodle Chu, 770 Rt 46 E, Parsippany. You won't miss it. It's in a huge outdoor mall area.

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