Best Handmade Noodles

Shan Dong

Grocery stores have ruined noodles. It's more convenient and cost-effective to buy large prepackaged amounts than it is to make them from scratch. When a restaurant makes handmade noodles, it's worth taking note. When Shan Dong makes handmade noodles, it's worth a celebration. One of Oakland's best hole-in-the-wall eateries, Shan Dong does a lot of things right, but all of them pale in comparison to the countless strands of dough they roll out each day. Dense, slightly heavy, and just a little bit chewy, the noodles resemble morbidly obese pieces of spaghetti. Even often-pedestrian chow mein receives new life when made with fresh noodles that soak up the sauce and create a substantial backup to the crunchy vegetables. Almost all of the noodle dishes at Shan Dong can be prepared with the handmade noodles for an extra dollar, begging the question, "Why not get them?" But there is one dish where it is not a question, but a necessity: The heat of hot-and-sour soup lingers on your tongue just a bit longer thanks to the absorption of the spice by the porous noodles. Save leftovers, or order a double order, so they can get a few extra hours to assimilate the flavors; they're even better cold the next morning.
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