Noodle Express is Winnipeg’s stop for dim sum.SARAH ZAHARIA, FOR THE WINNIPEG SUN
“What distinguishes a hole-in-the-wall restaurant from a gem? I’m reluctant to admit that there’s no easy way to find out. The only true test lies with your stomach and that can sometimes be a risky proposition.
Every adventurous eater has a horror story about when they tried that new item in that little place, the consequences stretching into the night or beyond. But the amazing places you find along the way always outweigh the risks you take finding them.
These hidden hot spots don’t advertise, often there isn’t a lot of English spoken and the ambiance might be a smidge less than romantic. However, the food can be fantastic and the value will astound you.
On that note, some of the best tacos in Winnipeg are at BMC Market in South Osborne. While K & W Grocery and Convenience on Dufferin has the best Vietnamese subs and Yuki Sushi in the McLaren Hotel is surprisingly good as well. Thanh Huong on Sargent will amaze you with their No. 6 soup.
But I want to share one of my favourite dining spots. Located in the Dynasty Building in Chinatown at 107-180 King Street, Noodle Express is the best dim sum in Winnipeg. Dim sum is a traditional style of Chinese food served in steamer baskets or on small plates.
If you are going for lunch, be prepared to wait. Enough people are onto this place that it’s always filled with regulars. You’ll get a menu and pen when you sit down. Be sure to use that pen boldly, to try new things.
The small plates make dim sum perfect for sharing, which fits nicely with the tapas trend. While Noodle Express isn’t as traditional as Kum Koon Garden, also in Chinatown, where they come around with trolleys of dumplings, they are almost as quick.
Local artist Andrew Milne introduced me to the decadent Golden Dumpling Bun. Served warm with melted lemon custard, these are the perfect finish, followed closely by the sweet steamed BBQ Pork Bun. “When I get to heaven if the catering isn’t done by Noodle Express, I’m coming back,” Andrew says.
While chicken feet are a traditional dish in many cultures, it takes some mental work to get past the fact that you’re eating bird claws. But for the less adventurous, scallop and shrimp dumplings, pan fried pork dumplings and sticky rice are sure to satisfy.
Value is a big part of the hole-in-the-wall appeal, of course. Often you sacrifice comfort: there are no candles and the lighting is florescent. But that is merely part of what makes it a unique experience.
Tip: Happy Hour is 2 p.m. until close, meaning everything on the dim sum menu is a paltry $2.40! Open seven days a week, Noodle Express is a perfect place for brunch, lunch or dinner.”