Dec. 15, 2018: Checked out this Chinese noodles restaurant that so many people have been posting about. This is actually the fourth location of this HeyNoodles restaurant (嘿小面) in the Greater Toronto Area (with two more opening soon) and I was eager to see what it was all about.
This new-ish location is located at 16th Avenue and Spadina Road in Richmond Hill. It’s at the plaza with Congee Wong with a rather small parking lot (more pronounced these days with more customers in this area).
We walked in for an early dinner at 5 p.m. ish. The place was brightly lit and clearly newly renovated. It was cozy inside.
I am on the lookout for more vegetarian dishes or at least dishes with more vegetables these days (after neglecting them for most of this year) and was disappointed to find nearly every dish on the menu containing meat.
I ended up ordering the Chongqing Street Noodles (only one of two vegetarian options on the list) while my mom ordered the House Special Marinated Pork Ribs from the Create Your Own Bowl section. She chose the Hot & Sour Vermicelli, with extra soup, no spice, and all of the default fixings (cilantro, green onion, sesame, peanut, garlic, and sesame paste).
Our bowls of noodles arrived very fast — within 5 minutes of ordering it seemed.
At first bite, I was disappointed with my Chongqing Street Noodles ($6.99). I didn’t like the rather firm texture of the round noodles at all. Nowadays, I realize I really enjoy soft and thin (really thin) noodles. The broth was all right.
The House Special Marinated Pork Ribs ($11.99) with the Hot & Sour Vermicelli was pretty good. The broth was hot and sour but not spicy. The vermicelli were too thick and chewy for my taste. The ribs were amazing though!! They were so tender and soft. It was hands down how marinated ribs should be in every restaurant. 😀 My mom commented on how the peanuts were very fresh and crunchy.
There were two servers overlooking the small restaurant during the entire time, which was a bit awkward at times since they didn’t have much to do and the female server was watching us a bit too closely at times. (But this also meant the servers were very attentive and we could grab their attention right away when we needed something.) HeyNoodles offered free wifi (the password was clearly labelled on the corner of every table so you don’t have to ask and wonder what it is).
Thus, the best parts of HeyNoodles on my first visit were: fast service, free wifi, fresh peanuts, tender ribs. The not-so-good parts: lack of vegetarian options, firm noodles which were to not my taste, a bit of awkwardness from the server watching us eat.
Overall, this type of noodles originates from Chongqing, China, a different region of Chinese cooking methods and tastes when compared to the “cross bridge” noodles of Yunnan, China. I’m open to trying this restaurant again to see what my impression is on a future visit.