Bar FoxThursday 10 Jan 2019 7:00 am
If youre big into noodles and Chinese street food or have spent time in NYC, you might have heard of Xian Famous Foods.
The popular Chinese restaurant, now with a ton of outlets, serves up the most incredible fat, hand-ripped noodles in steaming bowls of broth.
Its become a bit of a cult (take a look at their Instagram to see why, those noodles…).
We are big into both noodles and Xian Famous Foods, but until now, we had not been able to get anything even approaching a fix in London.
Let us tell you, things have changed.
London now has its own authentic Xian restaurant – and that means it also has the famously wide, famously 12ft Xian hand-ripped noodles.
Murger HanHan, claiming to serve Londons most authentic Chinese street food, is in the centre of Mayfair – and it is sensational.
Mayfair may not be where you expect to find Londons best Xian City street food. And its certainly not the sort of place youd expect to find Londons best Xian street food at an affordable price.
But, here we are, telling you that this is exactly what you can find at Murger HanHan.
The must-try dish is the pork Biang Biang noodles: Fresh, succulent 12ft noodles, hand-stretched every day in the kitchen, plunged into boiling water, sauce or stock and and served steaming hot with slow-cooked pork, egg and chilli.
It is fair to say they are spectacular. We ordered one between three and realised we should have had one each.
The noodles, which are made with wheat, as is traditional in the Shaanxi province (where Xian City is, and where they do not grow rice) are also made into an extra-wide noodle dish with dipping sauce – hand-pulled, but not split before cooking, so they are twice the width.
If youre unfamiliar with Xian street food (like most of us) you might find the authentic menu a bit baffling.
Do not let that hold you back – the dishes sound unfamiliar but are all extremely easy-eating. Ask for recommendations or look at Murger HanHan instagram before you go, to choose dishes you like the look of.
Alongside the Biang Biang noodles (ask for braised pork, spring onion, chilli oil and tomato and egg sauce, £10.80, to get the noodles pictured above; ask for mild or chilli on the side if you prefer less spice), standout dishes were the rice noodles in a clay pot (£9.80) and the seafood gyoza (£6.50), which were among the best we have ever had. The filling was fresh-tasting (so often they have that frozen-food taste), the dough light and crisped to perfection.
Try also the murgers, which give the place its name. A mix between a burger and a Chinese bun that MurgerHanHan tells us is the worlds oldest hamburger/sandwich, dating back to the Qin Dynasty in 221 – 206 BC, they come filled with meat – we had the fatty pork (£5) – and come with a chilli dipping sauce.
We drank a low-alcohol Xian rice wine – floral, cloudy, light – only 0.5% alcohol, so works for a dryish Jan, too.
Its the ultimate comfort food, the best hangover cure and just so restorative for winter. If Deliveroo or Uber Eats delivered Murger HanHan, wed never leave the house. Sadly they dont… for now.
If Mayfair int usually on your radar, dont be put off. We would go as far as to say the noodles are the best in London (that we have tried – fight us) and you really SHOULD go out of your way to try them.
A very un-Mayfair spot in the heart of town, very convenient for shoppers or pre-theatre and truly incredible value.
A real must visit – and guaranteed for us at least, it will not be a one-off.
Murger Han Han, 8a Sackville Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 3DF, murgerhan.com
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