Australia does Asian food well. Maybe adapted to our palates so not always completely authentic in the choice of ingredients and cooking methods, it is never too hard to find really high quality food inspired by the flavours and dishes of Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and China. One of the newer places to open its doors in Perth is Noodle Forum, in the Equus Arcade on Barrack Street. As the name would suggest, Noodle Forum is a haven for noodle dishes of Chinese origin. In fact, unlike many noodle joints, Noodle Forum makes its own noodles on site – leveraging this edge by having the process on full display as Erich Wong, the head chef, makes his star noodles behind a glass window, a skill he learned from his father and has been perfecting for over 40 years. The video below describes pretty well this ancient art.
The menu comprises a bunch of different noodle dishes, with different sauces and meats, all clearly marked as having no MSG. Their signature dish is the noodle wanton soup, with even the wanton skins made in house by Erich.
Texturally there is no doubting that the noodles and wantons are nothing short of amazing – a real testament to the craft that Erich kept alive. It is indeed a delicate dish, though I found the broth to be a little bit bland, and I was craving something to spice it up a bit and give it some more punch.
Noodle Forum does also a bunch of dry noodle dishes, including their popular BBQ pork noodles. These were top-notch and had the elevated flavour profile that I’ve come to expect from Chinese noodle dishes. Again, more delicate in flavour than other places I’ve eaten at (maybe the no-MSG policy?), though very enjoyable and a dish I’d be happy to recommend and will definitely be ordering again.
Next up to be tried were the crispy chicken satay noodles, another one packed full of flavour while maintaining some delicacy to showcase the well-made noodles. My preference is still the BBQ pork noodles, but these were also really good.
Noodle Forum is a great little new lunch spot for those working in the heart of the CBD. Note though that it gets packed during the lunch hour (understandably) so it may be best to go a little earlier or later, or opt instead for the takeaway option. Perhaps a clever marking tactic, there is no mistaking somebody that has just purchased a bowl of noodles from Noodle Forum, for they will be carrying around the bright orange carry box that comes with every takeaway order.
I am a big supporter of places that get back to basics and produce as much as possible in-house. There are some things that big machines in factories can just do better than any human could hope to do with their hands, however there is something nice and comforting about sticking to tradition with some things, even if it does require a bit more effort.