Review by Ann Thurlow
Under ordinary circumstances, a Chinese restaurant moving seven blocks would not be big news. But this is Charlottetown and The Noodle House is a beloved spot. It has been ensconced for several years in kind of a ramshackle lot behind the Dairy Queen. So when owner Fiona Zeng found a renovated location available right downtown, she jumped. And she decided while she was at it, to revamp the place a bit. You’ll still find your favourite dishes, but you’ll also see a few changes.
For one, service at lunch time is now a buffet. And if there’s anything more wonderful than the glazed stare of a buffet aficionado as he contemplates the offerings, I’m not sure what it is. All things considered, the offerings are pretty stellar. All manner or vegetables with various kinds of protein, my beloved ma-po tofu, a large selection of fried tings, some expected—like egg rolls and some not—like shrimp. Thing is, this spot is popular that nothing on the steam table has any time to get soggy. The egg rolls are delicious—plump and full of flavour. The shrimp is crisp and addictive There are a couple of good soups and this other dish that looks like a sesame seed coated doughnut hole. It was filled with sweet black bean paste and it was so good that I could hardly believe it.
Zeng took over the Noodle House about the same time that PEI experienced a welcome influx of people from China. As a result, the restaurant is often full of young Chinese Islanders, happily chatting and eating. Having them there adds to the charm of the place.
In the evening, customers order from the regular menu—a somewhat smaller menu than before but still endlessly attractive. The service is kind and attentive (there are more servers) so, even when the place is full, as it often is, you don’t feel neglected.
And of course, Fiona Zeng is everywhere—mopping floors, serving food, chatting to customers.
If The Noodle House has become synonymous with a good place to eat, it’s because of this lady’s hard work and good decisions. So, if she believes a move downtown is a smart one, it probably is big news indeed.
The Noodle House is now located at 188 Great George Street, next to the Ultramar. Off street parking available.