When I first started blogging, my focus was very much on London's noodle scene, in particular its burgeoning soup noodle culture. But then, like many a rising food blogger, I started to stray from my roots. Before I knew it, I was writing about all kinds of stuff. I even did some posts on burgers; everyone was doing it at the time, but deep down I knew it wasn't really me.
I guess I was going through an identity crisis, which surfaced during dinner with friends at Ba Shan. "Don't they know who I am? I'm Mr F***king Noodles," I lamented. The rest of my table thought I was just joining in with some banter. If only they knew of my self-loathing at having blogged so little, over the last year, about soup noodles in London.
I was lost but now I'm found, as my noodle mojo has returned. Looking back, the first step to getting my mojo back was a bowl of tom yum noodles at Kaosarn, and before I knew it, I was back in Brixton checking out the beef noodle soup at Mama Lan. I've also resurrected the blog's long dormant World of Noodles series, and for the first time in ages, I feel like I'm living up to my 'Mr Noodles' moniker.
Now that I'm firmly back on the noodle trail, I recently popped along to Greenwich Market to check out a stall selling hand-pulled noodles (la mian 拉面). I went for the 四川担担拉面 Szechuan-style dan dan la mian (£4.50). The fresh noodles, hand-pulled by the chef, were brilliant, but I'm afraid the soup didn't have enough kick for my liking. That said, I should've read the menu properly before ordering, as it did state it was served with sesame, peanuts and shredded chicken i.e. this was the more lightweight version of dan dan noodles rather than the full-on mala numbing hot version. There was nothing wrong with this bowl of noodles, but looking back, I wish I'd gone with Cantonese BBQ such as cha siu or roast duck as a topping.
I also ordered some pan-fried pork buns (£2.50/4 pcs) after I spied the Chinese name, 生煎包 shengjian bao, on the menu. These evoked memories of my trip to Shanghai, where I wolfed down shengjian bao for breakfast every day. Sadly, these weren't in the same league, as they lacked the soupy filling. Nevertheless, these fluffy bao with their crispy bottom were decent enough. If I was to be ultra critical, they could've done with a bit more minced pork filling.
I fear that I may have come across as being a bit ambivalent about this stall. That isn't my intention. Most of the noodle bowls and one-dish rice meals cost less than a fiver, and the dim sum selection starts at £1.50. This represents excellent value, and if I lived or worked in Greenwich then I would regularly pop along to this stall to grab some lunch.
Thanks to Richard for nudging me in the direction of this noodle stall - click here for his review.
La Mian & Dim Sum Stall, Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HY
Nearest stations: Cutty Sark (DLR), Greenwich (BR)
This stall is open Tue-Fri at Greenwich Market, and the same guys operate a stall at Brick Lane on Sundays (thanks, Crispy).