[Photographs: David Straight]
We just call it Kung Fu, and we’re pretty sure half the initial attraction was in the name. But there is much more to this noodle joint on Dominion Road – directly across from Barilla – than that: the food comes from Henan in the north of China, heavily influenced by the Muslim populations of the country’s northwest. And, in Henan, you’ll find the Shaolin monastery, which has its own school of kung fu.
So instead of pork and rice, you’ll find kebab skewers of lamb or chicken slathered with chilli and cumin, and – yes – a version of pita bread. The noodles are bloody good – long, wide and flat, hand-pulled by round-faced, shaven-headed chefs in the open kitchen; watching them work is a treat. It’s yet another sign of the increasing diversity of regional Chinese cuisine we find in Auckland, and we love it.
Recently, we’ve eaten Xinjiang noodles ($10) – fried with lamb and tomato and cumin, influenced by the country’s most northwestern province – and we can never go past the eponymous Kung Fu Noodle Soup ($8), a bowl of broth with chunks of lamb, clear rice noodles, bean-curd noodles, and those glorious house-made noodles. It’s a classic Henan dish, and we adore it. But our biggest revelation? The “Chinese burger” ($4.50), an oily pita bread, filled with stir-fried beef and soy bean and coriander. It is unctuous and salty, and utterly surprising. SFG
HOURS Friday to Wednesday, 11.30am to 11.30pm; Thursday 5pm to 11.30pm.
ADDRESS 636 Dominion Road, Balmoral, ph 623-6298.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Order carefully: as well as Henan food, there are some usual suspects, which aren’t nearly as good.