As Historic Chinatown continues its noticeable transformation into a culinary hot spot, food lovers are bypassing the usual neighborhoods in search of palatable perfection beyond the Paifang. Our search leads us to Fat Mao Noodles.
Award winning local Chef Angus An opened Fat Mao Noodles in the belly of Chinatown (217 East Georgia Street) at the end of the summer. With Maenam (Kitsilano), Longtail Kitchen and Freebird Chicken Shack (both in New Westminster) garnering critical praise, his latest endeavour taps into our need for savoury noodle goodness.
On a particularly cold ‘sideways-rainy’ Sunday evening we brave the puddles and dilapidated roads in search of steamy hot noodles and a frosty beer (or three). The uncomplicated menu takes fresh local ingredients and ladles out Thai-Chinese inspired noodle or rice bowls done five ways – braised duck, koh soi changmai curry, Thai beef laksa, hot and sour pork and coconut mushroom. You can customize the noodles within each bowl or go for rice.
We start out with a mouthwatering duck confit lettuce wrap and then have the braised duck with fat wheat noodles (scoop on the vinegar, chilli-garlic liberally) and laksa with melt-in-your-mouth beef on rice as our mains. For dessert we share the shaved ice with taro, grass jelly and red bean and leave nothing behind.
The space looks and feels like a sophisticated Dai Pai Dong (Hong Kong open air food stall) with bright red accent colours and Asian paraphernalia thoughtfully placed about. If you time your visit between 4:00 and 7:00 you can have a beer and noodle bowl for $15. Perfect if you are looking for a casual and affordable date night option or a place to slurp back some noodles hans solo.