Sherman's Food Adventures: Old Xian's Food (North Road)

Old Xian's Food (North Road)

If you've ever seen those viral Biang Biang noodles before, you would know that the best place to get them is Old Xian's Food.  I originally tried out their Kingsway location many moons ago.  It has been quite some time that I haven't been back.  So much so, they've expanded to 3 locations with one in Richmond and the newest, out in Coquitlam on North Road.  Too bad it is in the same plaza as Sushi California, because we all know that parking is a real issue.

No matter, we arrived early and snagged one of those precious parking spots.  We already had a game plan as to what to order, but somehow we got 2 of nearly the same noodle with the Xian's Cold Noodles and the Sesame Sauce Noodles.  Yep, the only real difference here is the addition of sesame sauce (and of course less spicy stuff on top).  Hence, the white noodles, cucumber, sprouts, bran dough and the base sauce (vinegar, soy, sugar, chili oil) were all the same.  I enjoyed both of them as the crunch from the veggies contrasted well with the slippery noodles.  Balanced combination of flavours and with the sesame sauce added, that bowl was less spicy and a bit creamy and nutty.

Here we go with the Biang Biang Noodles!  This one was served with a Tomato Eggs and Soybean Pork.  These wide sheets of noodles not only look grand, the texture was so appealing.  So much chewiness and elasticity made for great mouth feel and eating enjoyment.  I found that the soybean pork sauce was more dominant with a meaty umaminess.  However, the texture of the tomato egg did come though intermittently.

Sticking with the Biang Biang noodles, we got the Cumin Beef Fried Noodles.  Being stir-fried, the texture of the noodles tightened-up and hence were chewier with even more elasticity.  They were definitely less clumpy due to being wok-tossed in oil and the accompanying ingredients.  In terms of flavour, there was predictably caramelization and infused flavours.  Due to the use of cumin, the dish was earthy and definitely had more aroma.

Since this is Northern Chinese cuisine, cumin is a common ingredient and it was evident in the Cumin Beef Burger.  Now this can be made with lamb too, but we chose beef for this one.  Interesting they used raw green peppers here.  I've seen it without peppers and also with cooked peppers.  My preference would be with cooked as raw is pretty powerful.  The beef in this was tender and fully spiced.  Now we did up getting the Cumin Lamb to make up for the lack of it in the previous dish.  With the cooked green peppers, there was more continuity with the flavours.  The aromatics from the peppers and onions added plenty of complimentary sweetness to the earthy cumin.  There was also good caramelization of the spices added some heat.

Possibly the best dish of the meal was not a noodle dish, rather, it was the Pickled Blackfish.  This was an individual order that also came with a bowl of rice.  This was so delicious with the tang from the mustard greens and some spice from the chilis.  Best of all, the sliced fish was so delicate and flaky.  I think this was one of the better versions I've had in town.  This was such a huge portion, one person may have difficulty finishing it!

Something that is not commonly found in the GVRD is Northern-Style Sweet & Sour Pork.  This version features thinly sliced flat pieces of pork coated in a light crispy batter (akin to Korean-Style).  This one did indeed feature a light batter and the pork was lean, yet still tender.  I found the sauce to be more sweet than sour being quite mild.  The viscosity was bang on being thick but not goopy.  Overall, not bad, but could've used more tang.

Lastly, we had the Hot & Sour Soup which did not contain any pork or shrimp.  That didn't matter as this was still robust due to the generous amount of ingredients.  Lots of crunch from the wood ear and bamboo shoots as well as silkiness from the egg and tofu.  The broth itself was the right thickness to coat a spoon but be drinkable.  Lots of vinegariness and spice.  Overall, this meal at Old Xian met our expectations.  It is a great place to grab hand-made noodles (especially the biang biang) and other complimentary dishes.

*All food and beverages were complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- Love the hand-made noodles especially the biang biang
- Excellent pickled mustard greens and fish
- Reasonably-priced for what you get

The Bad:
- That parking lot  


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