I showed up at Qiu Jia Xiao Juan Mi Fen about ten minutes after it opened, and the place was already packed. Suffice it to say, the place is quite popular; always a good sign.
I think there might have been other stuff on the menu, but this place is known for one particular dish, and that’s what everyone was eating: squid noodles.
It’s an incredibly simple dish — it’s just broth, noodles, celery, and squid.
I can see why it’s so popular. The broth has a really subtle flavour: a bit of a seafoody funk, a bit of celery, and that’s about it.
The star of the dish is the squid, which is cooked to perfection. They keep it on ice until just before they add it to the soup, which keeps it tender and meaty with a bit of a bite, but none of the rubberiness that you sometimes associate with squid.
The rice noodles are interesting. They’re thick and incredibly firm, with a texture that isn’t all that far off from the squid. It’s a great combination.
How to find it: It’s a surprisingly large restaurant; the sign is red with a drawing of a squid on each side.