This week in Omnivorous I wrote about the half dozen or so Chinese-Korean restaurants where you can order a bowl of fresh black bean noodles, or cha chiang mian. I think it's remarkable that these restaurants roll, cut, and boil these noodles to order, but there was once a day when each order was hand pulled, a dramatic, labor-intensive process that results in a tastier noodle that bonds better with the sauce.
One of my favorite places for cha chiang mian is V.I.P. Restaurant in Albany Park (3254 W. Montrose, 773-588-2727). Haiben Chin, who manages the restaurant for her mom and dad, says the family, which once operated a place in Seoul, opened V.I.P. in the mid-80s when the neighborhood was primarily Korean. Up until about 10 years ago her dad, Szui Yung, used to hand-pull noodles. "He says he's too old," she laughed. "His elbows hurt too much to do it." Still, he makes some mean noodles. Here, in matter, of minutes he rolls a bunch out, cooks them, and presents a double-sided bowl of cha chiang mian and champong, the spicy seafood noodle dish.
In the listings, 13 Asian noodle joints.