Hakka noodles across the Great Wall: 5 Spice Bandra

I had one of the best Hakka noodles in town a couple of weeks back. I made it. With chicken salami this time. I know. I know. Hubris apart... most hakka noodles in town don't measure up to my standards. They are usually served cold, bland and limp ... and make me yearn for a nan chuk.

China Gate and China Garden were two of my earlier favourite hakka noodle joints in Mumbai. The rest were a series of deceit and disappointment.

I ordered home from 5 Spice, Bandra, yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the chicken hakka noodles.

The noodles were firm and very nicely flavoured in soy. I know that I have dubbed 5 Spice as the ultimate Indian Chinese place in the past but the Hakka yesterday was fairly 'authentic'. Let me explain what I mean by authentic.

I have never been to China. So the closest that I have been to 'authentic' is at the food courts of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and the Chinese run establishments in Switzerland and Calcutta. 'Chinese' run as defined as run by people of Chinese origin. One thing which I noticed in all cases is that the noodles is seasoned with sauces in the wok itself. Seasoning could vary from basic soy sauce to black bean to chilly to even fish paste. But the main point is that the noodles should be well flavoured. There could be a million variations in this of course.

Most restaurants at Mumbai serve white noodles which has a basic salt and MSG seasoning leaving it to the customer to add sauces of his choice - soy, chilly and chopped chilly in vinegar. This makes business sense for the restaurants as you have to order a side dish with this.

The 5 Spice noodles last night was quite tasty, well flavoured and a meal in itself. The chicken was quite succulent and didn't disappear en route as it had in the past.

The dry chilly chicken in black soy which we ordered along with this was juicy, oily, tender and qualified as soul food for Chinese food lovers like me.

In sum we had a good satisfying dinner last night.

And, with their quantities, lunch today will be good too!

The two dishes came to Rs 275 (6 USD) and worked for both of us last night plus a left over lunch for me today. That's quite good value.