San Antonio 100: Can't-miss Handmade Noodles with Lamb at Kungfu Noodle

A lot of the time, as dozens of blind taste tests have revealed, people are unable to distinguish between “good” and “bad” food. Whether it’s snob gourmands unwittingly enjoying a fast food burger or French wine connoisseurs accidentally praising Napa Valley, history has proved the tongue to be highly dupable.

Luckily for Kungfu Noodle, handmade pasta has always been impervious to that deception: You will never, ever mistake fresh noodles for dried ones. The tastes are so vastly different that they may as well be two entirely distinct foods. Fresh pasta is doughy, supple, and fragrantly yeasty, whereas its dried counterpart borrows flavor from ingredients (buckwheat, flour, etc.) and toppings, but rarely has much of its own.

At the small eatery on Bandera Road, where the sounds of dough being slapped and pulled are often audible from the spartan dining room, the magic of handmade pasta is apparent. The menu offers four different broth and meat options if you’re looking for noodles, but lamb is the move. The broth is brick red, tinctured with kaleidoscopic dots of yellow oil. Alongside blanched baby bok choy, the gamey meat comes cubed in bites the size of dice, playfully reminiscent of brisket in its chew. Coiled at the bottom of the bowl, invisible until you ply for them, are the beautiful, flat beige noodles.

click to enlarge From left: Pork and Chive Dumplings, Handmade Noodles with Lamb
From left: Pork and Chive Dumplings, Handmade Noodles with Lamb
Though they sometimes mass together, do not be deterred: Get your face down next to the bowl and slurp the fresh pasta as quickly as you comfortably can. Every second the noodles sit in the broth they deteriorate, saturating and falling apart as their starch dissipates. As you slurp, breathe the aroma, luxuriate in the steam, and feel as tears begin to well up in your eyes.

The broth is spicy, though tempered, and the contrasts of form between the bouncy nuggets of lamb, wilt and crunch (depending on where you’re biting) of the bok choy, and the waxy give of the pasta will make every bite a textural collage. If you find yourself able to lift your head from the baptismal sauna, do so only for Kungfu’s resplendent dumplings. For anything less than the 20 purses of pork and biting chive, keep your head down. 

Editor's note: Kungfu Noodle is not open Mondays, so you'll have to wait to fulfill those cravings. 

For more, follow Mark on Instagram and Twitter.

6733 Bandera Road, (210) 451-5586.


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