Friday, February 7, 2014

Rainy Day Boar-dom Drives Me to M. Y. China

Wild boar scissor-cut noodles at M. Y. China
I have a distant ancestor named Samuel Wildbore.  I don't know the derivation of his name, but bumping into him in the course of some rainy day genealogical research today reminded me that I had yet to try M. Y. China's Wild Boar Scissor Cut Noodles, recently included in 7X7SF's The Big Eat 2014 bucket list of "100 things to eat before you die."

Thanks to the rainy weather and the earliness of the hour, I had no trouble getting a counter seat by the noodle station at M. Y. China and ordered the aforesaid noodle dish, an order of "Spicy Seafood Dumplings" (M. Y. China's take on Sichuan's "dumplings in chili oil") and a Speakeasy Red Rye Ale before sitting back and watching the ladies and gents in the open kitchen doing their noodle and dumpling things.  Martin Yan's flagship may be a bit up-market and the waitstaff a little too solicitous to my taste, but the long counter is a great place to kick back and contemplate, then enjoy, some of the best noodles this side of the South China Sea.

My spicy seafood dumplings were full of crunchy scallops and shrimp and had spinach wrappers, as promised by the menu, that were of an unnaturally fluorescent jade green. The "ma la" sauce (as the Chinese menu had it) was not particularly "ma" nor "la" but a nice, mildly spicy counterpoint to the sweetness of the seafood filling.

My noodle dish, when it arrived, seemed slightly undersized, portion-wise, but that was more illusory than real.  The dense, meaty scissor-cut noodles were very filling, as became obvious from the first bite. As I've come to expect from M. Y. China's noodles, they were a fresh, chewy delight, and the rough shreds of wild boar, cut to match the noodles in thickness, augmented the impression of great substance to the dish, even though there wasn't an overly-generous portion of the meat. 

Was this my favorite M. Y. China noodle dish to date? Not quite. I found the saucing (this is a stir-fried or, more precisely, a "stir braised" dish) a bit on the bland side, and possessed of a needless starchiness. Abetted by some crunchy beansprouts, the overall impression of this was not unlike a Cantonese chow fun dish, albeit with more sinewy wheaten noodles (and, of course pork instead of the customary beef). Make no mistake, the wild boar scissor-cut noodles is a very good dish of noodles, but if I were one of those 7X7 guys I would have picked M.Y. China's Taiwanese-ish hand-pulled beef noodle soup over it. But stay tuned; there are more noodle dishes on M. Y. China's menu for me to try, including an actual chow fun.

As for the Wildbores in my family tree, the name eventually morphed to "Wilbore" and finally "Wilbur," which may have caught the ear of a more refined porcine creature who decided to use it as his name. Call me a cannibal, Charlotte, but I'd find just the right comfy caja China for that porker.

Where slurped: M. Y. China, Westfield Centre, 845 Market St. 4th Fl., SF

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