In high demand. Yu Xing Ji has a strict opening schedule, which is ostensibly 7.30am-2.30pm and 5-8pm, but show up at 7.15pm and they’ll stonewall you. What’s worse is that the liang mian huang, their standout noodle, sells out early. I went on Sunday night at 6pm. How foolish I was. The liang mian huang, which are fried before being topped with tiny stir-fried shrimp and gelatinous braised pork tendon, had sold out before 1pm that afternoon, and there were no plans to make any more that day. I settled on a tasty spring-onion oil dry noodle with a shower of tiny dried shrimp and a tossed noodle with picked crab meat, crab roe and threads of raw ginger. Both were good. Neither were as good as the liang mian huang.
So how does it compare to Suzhou? It’s close but not quite there. In Suzhou, people eat noodles for the soup, and the stock is still a little weak. Perhaps it was end-of-the-day soup, watered down and stretched out, or perhaps it’s intentional. Not that it’s impacting business. The balance of power is clearly in the shop’s favor. They have done little in the way of décor; their marketing plan is four pictures of noodles scotch-taped to the inside of their glass storefront; the shop is already a mess of Vitasoy crates and noodle-carrying ayis; and they are killing it with the born-in-the-1960s crowd. I am not young. I was the youngest customer by a decade. That’s not to say the older generation don’t have taste. Clearly they know a thing or two about noodles and are willing to splash out when it’s appropriate. A plain bowl of noodles with a slab of braised pork belly (the fengzhen darou mian), the default order for a Suzhou noodle house, is 28rmb.
Yu Xing Ji, 830 Weihai Lu near Shaanxi Lu. Full listing can be found here.