You haven’t tried fish noodles (魚麵 – yumian) until you have eaten at the Xia Family Handmade Noodle Shop.
My good friend Amy insisted we try fish noodles when we last visited Tainan. At first I didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about. We had already had tubular seafood rice noodle soup and milkfish congee, let alone countless other snacks — surely we didn’t need any more seafood! When my dish of simple soup noodles topped with nori seaweed arrived I was somewhat confused. Where was the fish? I thought this was fish noodle soup! But then I tasted a bite of the homemade, rustic noodles. They were chewy and quite unlike anything I had ever had before. And then it hit me: the fish was in the noodles. This was truly ‘fish noodles’, not ‘noodles with fish’.
And the owner was not lying when he claimed that the noodles are handmade. I had to find the restroom, and as I negotiated my way to the back of the restaurant I saw him vigorously handrolling the noodles using a simple glass wine bottle. No special equipment here! He was friendly and happy to chat and pose for photographs. He said the noodle dough is made from fresh fish and flour. At one stage he upgraded to a machine, but the fish noodle dough was too sticky and unpredictable for mechanisation. So he went back to his original tried-and-true wine bottle method.
In addition to fish noodle soup, Xia Family also make ‘dry’ noodle soup and fish dumplings. Plus some supersized homemade fish balls that are large and very tasty, nice as a side-dish to the noodles.
Xia Family Handmade Fish Noodle Shop is at No 343 Fuqian Road Sec 1 (夏家手工魚麵店, 台南市府前路343號), phone 0912 124 620, (06) 214 4400.