The best bowls of noodles come with a super power: Once you dive in, slurping up good sauces and springy and tender noodles, the rest of the world fades like it has been supernaturally dimmed. The garlic peanut noodles at Monkey King Noodle Co. are that good. Sitting with this Deep Ellum-based comfort food is like wheeling the volume knob down on any problems rattling around in your head, while simultaneously turning up the knob that controls the symphony that is a good, multi-layered noodle bowl.
Monkey King flash-fries the peanuts with loads of garlic, blending the mixture and folding in black vinegar, sesame oil and a punchy chili oil made in-house. Then, it’s hit with garden-bright scallions and a touch of sugar.
“There are a lot of cold peanut noodles that are blended until they come out creamy. We prefer a coarser blend with some crunch to it,” says owner Andrew Chen.
The salty, savory brittle of peanuts, amped up with rich garlic and sesame oil, cut by a storm of cilantro and scallions, is something special. Grasp the noodles with your chopsticks, swirl them around to pick up a few coarse-chopped peanuts and chili flecks and cilantro, and everything around you will fade like you’ve been hit with a theater spotlight. Take a deep breath and listen. Bonus: It’s a 100 percent vegan dish.