Monkey King's handmade noodles

From "Restaurant Review: Monkey King Noodle Co.," July 2014.
photo by Kevin Marple

Restaurant Review: Monkey King Noodle Co.

Andrew Chen does things old school in his Deep Ellum stand.

When my dad was growing up, noodle makers passed their trade from father to son, son to grandson. Nothing was enviable about this blue-collar job in Taiwan. Until now. These days, handmade noodles are rare, given the efficacy of our machinery. Those who do it old school are flour superstars. People love to watch Andrew Chen of Monkey King Noodle Co. manipulate dough inside the boxy, wood-slatted street stand in Deep Ellum. He pulls, bobs, and twists it to make the tasty strands that go into the spicy beef noodle soup, which diners slurp out of to-go containers. This fiery blend of twisty noodles, cilantro, scallions, tender beef chunks, and chile oil is an old family recipe of Chen’s, and the broth is carefully stewed overnight. House-made soup dumplings, rich with pork broth, are another favorite, along with the dandan noodles (chicken broth, minced pork, cilantro, chile, scallions, ginger, and garlic). The menu is short, with few vegetarian options, but everything is worth a try, including the spicy, cold cucumber salad. When the weather’s behaving, Monkey King’s fandom climbs the narrow spiral staircase to get to the red rooftop patio, where they can overlook Main Street as they feast. It’s no wonder the lines are always too long.