Thursday, January 8, 2015

Xi'An Hand Pulled Noodles at Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe (Boston, MA)

I've tried a few Chinese restaurants in the Boston area, and I wasn't really wowed by any of them. They're fine and would satisfy cravings, but there wasn't really many shops that specialize in any particular thing. But I kept reading about Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe, and I thought, this would be it. Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe, despite the name, really specializes in Xi'An style hand pulled noodles, also known as biang biang noodles.
Gene's Flatbread
The owner, Gene Wu, hand pulls the noodles every morning. There are a variety of noodle dishes you can try with the hand pulled noodles, but the crowd favorite seems to be the #9, served with cumin lamb. You'd also want to get a side of the cumin lamb skewer for $1.50 each.

The #9 dish consists of a base of chili oil, then hand pulled noodles, thin slices of cumin-seasoned lamb and topped with fresh bean sprouts, carrots, and cilantro.
The hand pulled noodles are thick and nicely chewy. The lamb was flavorful and the chili oil adequately spicy, but I still like having the extra flavor and meat from the side skewer order.

Gene's Flatbread
There are cold noodles for the warmer months and noodle soups for the cooler months. They also serve the chilled noodles in chili oil on weekends only. The lamb noodle was $8.40, which is fairly cheap but you can get an even cheaper lunch with the other dishes (noodles start at $6).

I also tried the pork flatbread sandwich. Be warned, it is quite oily, though the pork is tender. It's warm, pretty big and filling, though. For $4 it can work for a light lunch.
Gene's Flatbread
Whereas most Chinese restaurants in Boston seem to be serving the "usual suspects" and no specialty dishes (and crab rangoons. What's up with all the crab rangoons?), Gene's stand out from the crowd with its small, specialized menu, and brings me hope for finding more gems like this in Boston. It's possibly the only place serving hand pulled noodles in town!

They have two locations: Chinatown and Woburn. I have not been to the Woburn location but the Chinatown one is conveniently steps away from both Downtown Crossing and Chinatown T stops.

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe
86 Bedford Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 482-1888
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe on Urbanspoon


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