Often times I feel like I'm on the outside of a closely guarded network of really great Chinese restaurants. Sure I know the familiar standbys, but I'm always in doubt as to whether this is the best Chinese food that Dallas has to offer. Maybe it's because I'm not from here, maybe it's because I don't speak or read the native tongue. Whatever the reason, I'm forced to rely on memories of delicious dishes of my youth as a guide that will eventually lead me to that secret the city has been keeping from me. Most recently I was thinking of wonton noodle soup, and that is how I found myself sitting in King's Noodles.
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While hordes of people spill outside of First Chinese BBQ, save yourself the headache and head across the street to King's Noodles in Richardson. They're known for their beef noodle soup and vibrant shaved ice and fruit, but I was hunting for something a little closer to home, the shrimp wonton noodle soup. I was slightly confused when I walked in, no hostess stand or waitress to acknowledge my arrival, so I briefly floated in limbo looking at the bowls of noodle soup and mouthing "I want that." But common sense quickly took over and I followed the giant sign that read "Please Order and Pay Here." I bypassed Chinese diners slurping from oversized bowls and walked right on up to the open kitchen where an assembly line of large soup bowls lined the counter. Eight bowls, I counted, sat in a tight formation, waiting to be filled with steaming noodles, vegetables, and broth. I guess the noodles are a popular item.
The menus are all up at the order window, but I already knew what I wanted. I put in my order, grabbed some chopsticks and a mini ladle from the self serve silverware station, and took a seat. I should warn you, this place is cash only, so don't embarrass yourself.
When I got my bowl of wonton I was greeted by a wafting aroma and a menagerie of foreign goodies: pickled mustard greens, pickled radish, and fat choy. The wontons were about golf ball size, all swaddled in skirts of wonton skin. The bowl was rounded out with baby bok choy and green onion for a bit of color and roughage. Submerged in the broth were the noodles. Thick and toothy, they were my favorite part of the entire dish. I drizzled some red chili oil on the surface and gave the bowl a toss, and to my surprise I unearthed bits of ground beef. The sheer number of components alone must command respect from such a casual setting.
The wontons were not only shrimp, but a combination of beef and shrimp, making the shrouded meatballs even more substantial. The broth was light, but still had a beefy flavor in which I could even taste the liquefied marrow. The overwhelming meatiness of the dish was countered by the freshness of the bok choy and the bite of preserved vegetables. Before I knew it, all that was left was a few spoonfuls of broth. I don't know if I'll ever find that hidden part of the city, but this was a damn good start.