I must admit i didn’t see what the fuss was all about on my first visit to Yellow River 黄河水陕西面馆(huang he) as my friends were all chanting their merit and praising their noodles. I found their offerings average at best! Fast forward a few months, I have changed my mind completely.
It started a month ago as a “convenient place to grab a quick bite” during an intensive capoeira workshop in the vicinity. previous experiences made me think twice before agreeing and i strongly considered sneaking next door for a hotdog. Boy I’m glad I didn’t.
The staff at the gongti location is super friendly no matter the time of day. They display an unusual amount of patience with those of the Genus-Expatus who are Mandarin-challenged as far as taking orders and even keeping the dialog simple enough to get things done. I’m sure being in constant contact with laowais has helped that attitude and I sincerely hope they keep it.
The menu is simple enough, plastered in photos all over the wall that actually are quite representative of the dishes. What you see is what you get!!! There’s also a side board with a few chuanr options that should not be regarded as an afterthought. I’ve gone through a number of items there over the past week given that I average 2 or 3 stops/week and while just about everything was good and premium quality, some dishes just stand out:
Youpo Chemian (油泼扯面): Sticky noodles topped with veggies dressed with chili oil, garlic and fried chili flakes; These are the quintessential Shanxi noodle. I’m actually a big fan of the meaty variety which is closer to what Biang Biang Mian started off at.
Yangrou Chuanr (羊肉串): These mini lamb sticks are juicy, tender and roasted to perfection. They’re a heck of a lot better than most of the offerings around the neighborhood. I can tell you most of my capoeira group is addicted by now.
Rou Jia Mo (肉扎某): made to order with tender stewed meat freshly shopped to go in. I hated it the first time i was there but since then, It’s been part of my regular order. The bread (mo) is not too dry, the meat juicy with a nice balance of fat.
The location is super convenient in the gongti area and can fit quite a few people. While it might look small from the outside, the place has 3 floors for seating and can handle big groups easily. Another plus is the really good pricing: Noodles are pretty much RMB12 each and side dishes more often than not under RMB10.
It’s quite rare for me to radically change my mind about an establishment but it does happen. So far, I’ve clocked in about 16 visits the past 2 months, enough to claim the 4SQ mayordom and I’m planning to keep at it. oh, the 24 hours things doesn’t hurt either. I haven’t eaten at the original branch in a very very long time and the quality of the offering in gongti has improved so much that i have not needed to.
Yellow River 黄河水陕西面馆
6 Workers’ Stadium East Gate, Chaoyang District
T: 5842 6260