It's autumn now so rainy afternoons and windy nights are the norm for the next few months. With somber weather in mind, I thought it'd be a good time to share my experiences at Rhinofish Noodle Bar. With its classic niu rou mian and other Taiwanese delights on the menu, is this hipster-sounding eatery the new place to go for noodles?
I came here on two occasions with Team GlueCrew and had a great taste of the following:
- Niu Rou Mian ($14.50)
- Yan Su Ji w/ Nanjing Sauce ($7.50)
- Liang Mian ($12)
The premier item on the menu is the niu rou mian. Is this the item everyone will love? I don't think so. Is this something people should try? Absolutely. This was a very flavourful broth, but perhaps from early feedback, these folks ended up overcompensating. This was flavourful but also too salty – for my palate, anyway. I ended up avoiding scooping up the broth and stuck with what I got in bundles of noodles. The meat was pretty flavourful and I gotta give some props the clean greens hugging the side of the bowl.
Pro tip: for heat seekers, ask for the chili sauce – it packs a ton of heat and my Taiwanese source confirmed the heat was not just my imagination.
Niu Rou Mian
On the topic of saltiness, one of my favourite things to order, (which I have a way higher salt tolerance for), is the yan su ji which I had on my first visit. These fried chicken nuggets were a joy to eat. Lightly dusted on the outside, juicy on the inside, and complete with a side sauce made these a terrific option. Get this with any main.
Yan Su Ji
For a cooler taste, the liang mian is on the menu. These classic Taiwanese cold noodles were served with shredded chicken breast, julienne carrots, cucumbers, and sesame sauce. For anyone who's preferred a more refreshing take on noodles, the cold noodles are the way to go. Delightfully chewy, these noodles had enough grip and bounciness to last the whole dish. In my opinion, this is a better value at $12 compared to the niu rou mian.
The interior of Rhinofish mixes hiperster (cool wall murals) with old school Chinatown (tacky square flooring). The tables are beautiful though, with real planters and clean straight-grained wood. There's seating for about 40 guests amongst round tables, window counters, and a longtable. The vibe here is pretty bumping with lots of lunchtime chatter and casual diners.
Inside Rhinofish Noodle Bar
Where other Taiwanese beef noodle places fall (service), Rhinofish makes up for. My water was topped up multiple times within minutes. This is great because each cup holds a measly ~150mL and gets emptied quickly. It took about 15 minutes to receive my food both times and the staff were in no hurry to see us out. The second time I came here on a weekday lunch hour it was only mildly busy so I think you could come here with a group of 4 and easily find a seat during a regular lunch hour.
One-liner: Tasty noodles though most will turn their noses up at the salty broth of the traditional niu rou mian
Highlight: Liang Mian
Price per person: $15-$20
Would I go back? Yes for the liang mian.