Japanese ramen we got by the case, Vietnamese pho is coming on strong. But for some reason, Chinese noodle soup lags behind on Long Island — all the more surprising since many of the ramen and pho shops are Chinese-owned.
So I was thrilled to learn about Han Noodle House on Old Country Road across from the shopping center formerly known as The Mall at the Source in Westbury.
Han debuted in late August with a succinct menu of noodle soups, stir-fried noodles and over-rice dishes. Your starch of choice can be ordered with various iterations of chicken, roast duck, roast pork, beef, seafood and vegetables. I was surprised that the only chicken available was either fried or grilled "steak" (i.e. boneless breast). Roast chicken is, along with roast pork and roast duck, a standard offering at Chinese noodle shops.
Starters are fry-heavy, with fried chicken and wings and "popcorn" chicken, fried fish, French fries, fried and steamed dumplings and some intriguing-sounding "sesame pancakes," which look, from the published pictures, like the great Chinese "bing."
Prices are gentle, with nothing more than $10.75 (for seafood noodle soup) — and that soup is only $6.95 at lunch, which includes a free soda. Han also makes a full range of bubble teas, smoothies and shakes.
The shop is neat and spare, with all the cooking done behind a plexiglass partition and a few tables in the dining room. I took my soup to go and had an al fresco lunch at nearby Charles J. Fuschillo Park. The kitchen had the wisdom to pack the soup separately from the noodles, but the noodles were still overcooked (as were the wontons). Since roast chicken wasn’t a possibility (see above), I opted for pork which was, if anything, too tender — it lacked both the pleasantly chewy texture and reddish color of proper char siu from a Chinese hanging oven. In another departure from tradition, the scant bok choy had been cut into segments, and there were little flecks of carrot in the broth.
I hope Han ups its noodle-soup game. In the meantime, the search goes on!
Han Noodle House is at 467B Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516-457-1566, hannoodlehouse.com.