Thursday, November 17, 2011

China Quick Wok


Fans of fresh made, knife shaved noodles rejoice! Finally a spot in San Diego has opened offering some delicious chewy, doughy noodles of goodness seven days a week.

I first learned about China Quick Wok, which recently opened in the Balboa/Genesee plaza that houses Little Ceasar and Cotixan, from my Baby Bro. He and his friend visited what they thought was an Americanized Chinese fast food spot, but upon entering, the owner gave BB a chinese menu when he said he could speak chinese.  She told them that they offered knife shaved noodles on the menu.

He told me they were pretty good, but when he told me the location, I had my doubts. I thought it was another chinese fast food restaurant which had been in that location for years. Since making good knife shaved noodles takes skill, I was doubtful at what that place could do.

Then last week, mmm-yoso reviewed the place, and gave it positive reviews. From the post, I learned that it was no longer the old restaurant I was thinking of, but rather a different one. China Quick Wok is run by the owner who previously ran Quik Wok in Rancho Bernardo. The former Quik Wok was also a fast food noodle shop catering mainly to an American audience, but on weekends, they would offer a chinese written menu with knife shaved noodles and some other dishes. After talking with the owner, she told me she decided to move her shop to Genesee for a better location. The original Quik Wok is still there in Rancho Bernardo, but under different ownership and no more weekend chinese menu items. Most importantly, the owner brought with her the chef who specializes in making the knife shaved noodles.

As soon as it was established that we speak chinese, she handed us the chinese menu. This menu is offered all the time, rather than just on weekends. They also have an English menu with more Americanized dishes, which I did not browse.

Knife shaved noodles are noodles made fresh, usually by hand, and then cut/shaved with a special knife device. It results in thick cut noodles with a jagged, uneven edge. The noodles are chewy, bouncy and doughy. We did get to see the chef shaving the noodles, but I couldn’t really capture it that well.

Here’s a video I found that also shows the process:

The restaurant is very small. Tables seat no more than four and there were about 7 tables in the tiny shop. So most of their business is still take out fast food.

Since the menu is in chinese, I decided to take on the task of translating the whole menu with some help. Of course it wasn’t until I decided to take on this task that I realized how daunting it is. First, I was finding it really hard to fit the translations next to the dishes. Second, I realized a lot of dishes were hard to translate over. For instance, there are various noodle dishes but they are different kinds of noodles which I don’t know the English name for. Also, some dishes are just named after the Chinese region, so translating it really still means nothing as far as what is in the actual dish. Anyhow, here was my best attempt. Also my first attempt writing directly onto a tablet rather than writing on the paper and scanning in. I decided to write numbers next to eat dish in case anyone has a specific question about a dish or what is in it.

 

So here is what we ordered:

We started off with beef rolls.

Quite a bit cheaper than the ones served at Liang’s Kitchen. Unfortunately, also a huge disappointment. The outside pancake roll was too dry and flaky. The beef roll really had nothing going for it.

We all decided to order noodles since it is their specialty. For most of the noodle dishes, in parenthesis they offer different noodle choices, so you can choose regular thin noodles or rice noodles if you don’t want knife shaved noodles.

I ordered the beef noodle soup with knife shaved noodles.

This was a disappointment. The soup was extremely salty and had no depth. It tasted basically of soy sauce and water. The salty broth had also penetrated into the meat because I had a hard time eating the meat chunks too. On the up side, the noodle texture was the perfect. Sometimes noodle soup noodles are overcooked and get a little soft. These kept their bouncy texture.

FH and one of my friends both ordered the house special stir fried noodles.

I was impressed with the quantity of the dish. And it tasted good too. Not too salty with a nice mix of vegetables with the noodles. This was my favorite noodle dish we ordered.

My other friend ordered the Za Jiang Mian. This chinese version is traditionally made with a soybean paste sauce and usually has a sweet and salty flavor. It is served to you unmixed and then you mix the noodles with the sauce. There were a ton of thinly sliced cucumbers in the bowl and the whole noodle dish ended up tasting strongly of cucumbers. I wasn’t a fan.

Despite some of the dishes being a miss, I was still happy that this place produced some good knife shaved noodles. There is a pretty good choice of noodle dishes so I plan on coming back and trying them all.

China Quick Wok
4310 Genesee Ave Suite 108
San Diego CA

 

16 Responses to “China Quick Wok”

  1. 1

    Kirk — November 17, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    hey Kirbie – I’m pretty much of the same opinion, though I thought the niu rou mian was on the bland side, though not as bland/sweet as Liang’s. The scallion bread is from a package BTW, as I saw them making it. The noodles are quite good though….but that’s about it.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 17th, 2011 @ 9:32 am

      Hmm, I guess they are inconsistent on the NRM. Either way it doesn’t sound like it’s ever very good. But yes, I like the noodles. Hopefully some of the other noodle dishes will be good other than the house special stir fried. It would be a shame if that’s the only dish I can go there for.

  2. 2

    Nina — November 17, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    I am LOVING your blog! I’m a super fan of all foods Asian and moving to San Diego from San Francisco has been kind of rough in that department — mostly because I don’t know what’s good and what’s not!! So THANK YOU for doing what you do!

    Question — if I walked into this place (I’m a white girl) would I be able to order the knife shaved noodles? Or would I get the white girl menu? :)

    • Kirbie replied: — November 17th, 2011 @ 9:34 am

      You’ll probably get the white girl menu. heehe. But the owner is really nice, so just tell her you want to order off the chinese menu. And you can just tell her what you want. She gave my brother the chinese menu but he can’t actually read chinese so he just told her what he wanted. And she’s pretty fluent in English so there shouldn’t be any communication problems.

  3. 3

    Faye — November 17, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    Thank you for translating!

    It’s shame the beef noodle soup wasn’t good. Sis and I went to Liang’s yesterday for lunch and felt their beef noodle soup was pretty good. But man, are their prices inflated or what??!!

    Would you come back to this place and try something else? Was it busy when you were there?

    • Kirbie replied: — November 17th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

      There was a lot of take-out orders while we were there, but not many people eating in. But we also came on that super crappy rainy day, and we came at the end of lunch hour so that could have had something to do with it too. I would come back just for the noodles. Cheaper than Liang’s! I know not exactly the same kind of noodles, but I like all these types of doughy noodles. I want to work my way down the entire noodle section. I recommended the house special stir fried right now but hopefully I’ll find some others.

  4. 4

    Soo — November 17, 2011 @ 11:38 am

    Thanks for translating the menu! Do they have pan fried noodles? That’s my fav noodle dish.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 17th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

      No sorry. No pan fried noodle dishes.

  5. 5

    Sandy — November 17, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    Thanks for translating the menu. Many of these dishes are unfamiliar to me, and I don’t speak Mandarin. I’d love to try the knife-shaved noodles.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 17th, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

      If you have any questions on what is in a dish or something you want to try, let me know. I can probably give a description or point you to a picture. Also if any of my writing is hard to read. it was weird writing with a tablet pen and also trying to squish my writing in between the lines/spaces.

  6. 6

    Carol — November 18, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet ja jiang mein sauce but love all that cucumber since I like lots of those with mine. I really want to try their dan-dan mein.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 18th, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      The dan dan mian is definitely on my list to try.

  7. 7

    Michael — November 19, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    Thanks for the translations.

    I’m going to try some other noodle soup and get back at you.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 19th, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

      Yes, please let me know how the other ones are!

  8. 8

    Michael — November 27, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    Went there for lunch today. We got the pickled greens and pork soup with the knife shaved noodles. The Dumpling Inn version is way tastier although the noodles themselves were good. We also got mu shu chicken which was served already wrapped in tortillas and way too much hoisin sauce. I agree with Kirk that the wok is not hot enough. My son’s rice was overcooked and mushy. I have to say the high point of the meal was watching the cook shave the noodles off the block of dough. Don’t think we’ll be back but don’t regret going once.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 28th, 2011 @ 10:47 am

      Hi Michael- Thanks for letting me know about your experience. I definitely feel like the knife shaved noodles are the highlight. I’m hoping to find some more promising dishes using their knife shaved noodles.

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