|TCW's noodles (top) had the more unctuous broth, XAG the heartier noodles
The noodle dishes of Shaanxi Province and its capital Xi'an call to mind sharp seasonings and unusual and aggressive flavors -- that's the reason I became enamored of them. But the belly is not always ready for The Big Show, and therefore every food culture has its metaphorical chicken noodle soup. Shaanxi's chicken noodle soup is lamb noodle soup. Yes, there are spicy noodle dishes with lamb in them on the menus, but shorn of designer labels, "noodles with lamb," as it's called at Terra Cotta Warrior or "lamb soup noodles" at Xi An Gourmet is intended to mean something at once nourishing and comforting. As I did with yangrou paomo, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison (well, three days apart) of the lamb noodles at the two Xi'an food venues vying for my affection.
On balance, I preferred the fattier, more unctuous broth in Terra Cotta Warrior's lamb noodles, but the caveman in me loved the more brutish noodles at Xi An Gourmet. Both versions are definitely worth a return visit.
Where slurped: Terra Cotta Warrior, 2555 Judah Street; Xi An Gourmet, 3741 Geary Boulevard