After celebrating its grand opening last year, Xiang Xiang Noodle remains an intriguing new dining option in El Sobrante.
The restaurant at 454 Appian Way is known for its authentic knife-cut noodles, long stretched noodles (“la mien”), and other dishes representative of Shanxi Province.
Owner Mr. Tong presents a dining experience with a fascinating history beginning in the Shanxi Province in China, which is known as the “City of Dragons” and is renowned for noodle dishes. The most famous dish is their knife shaved noodles, which was discovered in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) during a time when the government confiscated all weapons, including kitchen knives. Only one knife could be shared between ten families.
One day, a man who could not access the communal knife found a thin piece of iron and instead of cutting the dough, started shaving it. Thus, the knife shaved noodle tradition was born.
In restaurants throughout Shanxi, you can find chefs using arc-shaped knives shaving around 200 bits of dough per minute into a large steaming vat of hot water.
Thanks to modern advances, restaurants like Xiang Xiang Noodles in El Sobrante can utilize machinery to do the job in less time and with even more precision.
Chef Li and Chef Qin work tirelessly behind the counter, creating unique meals such as noodle dishes with spareribs, beef tendon, lamb, some of which are topped with quail eggs, scallion and cilantro.
“My father was a construction worker who dreamed of owning a restaurant, so when his restaurateur friend offered him to partner to open Xiang Xiang Noodle, my dad took the chance,” says Vicky Tong, a recent UC Berkeley grad. “He never knew how much work it would take, but if we are successful in El Sobrante, we will open up new restaurants in Berkeley and Oakland in the future.”
Call Xiang Xiang Noodle for more information or to place a take-out order at (510) 275-3474.