To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
Look at the bottom right corner of the tray in the picture above and you'll see a paper cup filled with a murky, rust colored broth. Don't be shy: Zoom in and you'll see vivid green onions and cilantro leaves floating on the surface beside glimmering beads of chili-colored oil. Keep going till your nose is just above the bowl, and then inhale deeply through your nostrils. You're at Monkey King, so already know this is going to be good, but you've yet to realize just how much so.
You'll catch the scent of scent of Sichuan peppercorn, smoky dried chiles and star-anise-laced broth, a combination that's is warning and soothing. This soup is satisfying before you even take your first slurp but don't stop now -- delve deeper.
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Plunge your chopsticks deep into the cup, and dredge up a tangle of noodles, or maybe a hunk of tender, fatty beef. The noodles are springy, and eat with integrity. And the beef comes from the foreshank, which is loaded with tough muscle and connective tissue that somehow melts in your mouth, resolving into massive beefy flavors and glistening, velvety textures.
This is one of the most soulful soup experiences that can be had anywhere in Dallas, and it can be purchased for a song right here in Deep Ellum. Remember this soup should one of your friends or family members become ill in the future. If you show up on their door with a cup of this noodle-laden broth all will be right in the world.
No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co. No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen No. 87: The White Album at Spoon No. 86: Ramen at Tei An No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai No. 79: Shish Tawook at Qariah No. 78: Arepes at Zaguan No. 77: Goat Momo at Everest Restaurant No. 76: Steak Tartar at Gemma No. 75: Escabeche at Joyce and Gigi's No. 74: Spicy Fish in Oil at Royal Sichuan No. 73: Pupusas at La Pasadita No. 72: The Kathi Roll at Simply Dosa No. 71: The Chicken Wings at Teppo No. 70: Cheesesteak at Truck Yard No. 69: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's No. 68: Birria Tacos at Los Torres Taqueria No. 67: Bulgogi Cheesesteak at Say Kimchi No. 66: Suadero Tacos at La Banqueta No. 65: Brian Luscher's Post Oak Red Hot No. 64: Banana Flower Salad at Mot Hai Ba No. 63: Cinco Leches Cake At Mesero Miguel No. 62: Cabrito a la Parilla at El Ranchito No. 61: Reuben at Kuby's No. 60: Plain Cheese Pizza Cooked Extra Crispy at Zoli's No. 59: Enmoladas at Mesa No. 58: Pig's Head at CBD Provisions No. 57: Rib "Sandwich" at Baby Back Shak