Friday, March 24, 2017

Ducking High Noodle Prices At Yin Du Wonton Noodle

I was tiring of stratospheric noodle prices like $16 for chicken ramen at the latest name-dropper ramen-ya or $14 for a bowl of Taiwanese beef noodle soup at China Live (where they raised the price two bucks after I convinced them to add more broth to the bowl), so I decided it was time to return to more proletarian-priced renditions of The People's Food. Where to begin?

I have the bad habit of ignoring places in my own back yard, but a couple of metaphorical taps on the shoulder sent me to Yin Du Wonton Noodle on  Pacific Avenue, which I hadn't been to since it replaced a middling walk-away dim sum shop four years ago. The first nudge was its inclusion in a  article recommending an array of Bay Area noodle joints, and the second was my reaction to an attractive picture on Yelp showing duck wonton noodles at Yin Du.  As you know, "Duck" is my middle name.

My #9 Roast Duck Wonton Noodles included about five five irregularly-shaped, bony pieces of duck flesh, not the neat, thicker slices found in some of the Yelp photos (perhaps because it was late in the day). There was enough skin to add a duck-fat sheen to the broth, but not enough meat to add any ducky intensity to it. The broth, which came a couple of shades hotter than lukewarm, was overall on the bland side, so I used a little soy sauce and black pepper to kick it up, as no other suitable condiments were available. The wontons were the best feature: plump, with some shrimp crunchiness, The noodles were ample in quantity, but as I've written before, I'm not fond of the traditional fine "dragon's beard" noodles, which make me feel like I'm chewing on someone's hair. I think there was an option for substituting fun noodles, but I generally try to stick to traditional forms the first time around.

I probably could have gotten a more sumptuous and well-endowed bowl of wonton noodles for a bit more at ABC or Washington Bakery a couple of blocks over, and pound-for-pound my bowl of wonton noodles at Yin Du brought nowhere near the gut-busting value of Chonqing Xiao Mian's $7.95 namesake noodles around the corner on Kearny St., but at $5.75 before T & T it was probably the cheapest bowl of noodles I will have all year.

Where slurped:  Yin Du Wonton Noodle. 648 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco

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