Monday, February 16, 2009

Les Pâtes Vivantes - Paris

More Hand-Pulled Noodles
There's a reason they spin the noodles in the window - it's designed to catch your attention. And so it does - the name "Les Pâtes Vivantes" means "The Live Noodles", roughly translated. In November, Puff snapped this shot as she bicycled around the 9th. In my mind I can imagine her screeching to a halt and almost crashing to get this photo. Auntie Duan is an expert - she looks so relaxed but from what I'm told, this is hard work!

We ate there a few days later and loved it. I didn't have my camera so I went back recently to rectify that. Auntie Duan wasn't spinning this time, a young guy was at the noodle-making helm.
The first thing you feel when you walk in the door is the blast of steamy heat. It's pretty narrow and noticeably warm - the kitchen is open and just a few feet away if you sit downstairs.

This visit, I was seated upstairs, which is a lot cooler but darker - not promising for photos.

I went especially for the Zhajiang mian - a northern Chinese specialty consisting of the hand-pulled noodles, pork, fermented bean paste, scallions and a few other things I don't recall. When stirred, it almost looks like spaghetti in a meat sauce. I ordered from Auntie Duan herself - she is a dynamo; she later carried the huge bowl up the stairs and placed it before me with a smile. It was absolutely delicious - the photo doesn't do it justice. It was slightly spicy with tender bits of fatty pork, the sauce clinging to long noodles that I had to bite off or suck up loudly at the risk of spraying myself and my neighbors. I should've taken a photo of my table when I was done - there were stains everywhere. At 9 Euros, this is a filling meal that cannot be beat.
9th Arondissement

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  1. I am the one who ordered Zha Jiang Mian the last round... it sure was memorable. Love how the fatty pork oozes in the mouth.

    Babe, you didn't tell everyone how you ordered in Mandarin! Surely that feat is worth mentioning :) Proud of you as always!

  2. Puffin, I won't admit to ordering in Mandarin until I can understand what they're saying back to me. Auntie Duan didn't bat an eye - she rattled something back to me in Mandarin and I just guessed and said "Coke." Woo-hoooo, good guess......

  3. FYI, they opened a second place about a year ago in the 5h, close to the Institut du monde arabe:,+boulevard+St-Germain+75005

    The restaurant looks nicer than the one in the 9th, and the food is just as good. It's one of my favorite chineses places in Paris.

  4. @Anonymous - cool, I didn't know they'd opened up a second location. I'm keen to go check it out, it's much closer to where I live.

  5. I went to this place last night. I ordered the spicy beef and noodle soup with tofu. The tofu was fresh and silky. The noodles soft and chewy. However the beef was the quality of what you would find in a bad Chinese "traiteur" it was too soft and grey. To add to my disappointment, the broth was so oily that I couldn't even eat any of it. Normally I am a broth whore. The beer and service was good. The tempura was ok, but I wouldn't go back for it. My friend liked his ginger shrimp, but I thought the whole dish tasted a bit "shrimpy" as in not fresh.

  6. @Nicole - ub oh, don't tell me the quality is slipping..... I plan to go check out their new location soon to see.