It’s no illusion: The Magic Noodle is now open in Squirrel Hill, and it deftly combines flavors from two different Chinese cities.
Jay and Michelle Chen met and got married in the United States. But they represent their respective hometowns of Shanghai and Chengdu through traditional family recipes at their new Forbes Avenue restaurant.
His dishes are sweet. Hers are spicy. Both are delicious.
“My husband does all of the cooking,” Michelle says. “I’m in charge of providing some ideas.”
You’ll find uncommon appetizers including crispy pork, a sweet golden corn pancake and spicy papaya salad.
And among the entrees worth discovering: The house dry noodle with minced pork, a recipe passed down from Michelle’s mom, and the curry fried rice with egg, green pea and onion.
Old-fashioned stews, which are actually more like a bowl of barbecue, range from chicken wing and beef to seaweed and dry tofu. Delicious rose dumplings are shaped like the flower. The menu also boasts a range of soups, stir-fries and homemade noodle dishes.
The restaurant, which opened last month, seats 50 inside and out. The covered front patio is a great place to sip a specialty drink, such as the summer fruit teas made fresh daily. The taro ball jelly bowl, similar to bubble tea, is another good summer treat — though it’s more a dessert than a drink.
Waitress Gina Bao, who is Jay’s cousin, says she’s dined in nearly every Chinese restaurant in Pittsburgh, and thinks The Magic Noodle has unique ingredients and flavors. She mentions the spicy pork intestine noodle soup, which she begrudgingly tried and immediately loved.
Bao actually cut a trip to Italy short to come home and help her family with the business.
“I have faith in this menu,” she says.