Magic Noodle 大塊樹 (Toronto)

Noodles can satisfy any meal for Chinese individuals. Some may feel like a bowl of carbs is rather heavy and should be restricted to the later meal of the day. But, visit a casual dining spot, cha chan tang, and view their breakfast menu and you’ll find stir fried noodles (often paired with congee), macaroni and ham in soup and instant noodles. With that in mind, it may not seem as strange that Magic Noodle is opened 24 hours a day. Yes, you heard right, a 24 hours a day place serving soupy noodles and other small eats. Luckily, they aren’t by my house or 1am noodles may be a regular occurrence.

At Magic Noodle, they prepare two in-house noodles. The first, hand pulled involves mixing a ball of dough for a long time until it develops an elastic consistency. Then the chef will begin rolling it out, stretching it out arms-length, folding/twisting it over and continuing the stretching and folding process until it gets to the desired thinness. While visiting the restaurant you’ll be able to see the chef prepare it from the open kitchen.

For the first visit, the options seem endless with varying noodle sizes (seven choices) and different protein combinations.  Thinking the house special magic noodle’s ($7.99 for small) picture looked amazing, we order this with the fifth thickness (traditional). Like most food advertising, the actual dish paled in comparison from the menu: the sunny side egg in the picture became an overdone made-ahead-of-time one, while the clear soup base with hints of red chili oil was tinged yellow and tasted of curry instead. But, the bowl was similar sized and had the brisket, beef, turnip, tendon and garnishes pictured.

With fresh pasta it’s hard for it to ever be al dante – after all it has just been made with a ball of soft dough moments from serving. So, it’s natural for the noodles to seem soft and really it’s the delicate silky texture that people enjoy. For me, the noodles were decent but was a tad mushy especially since some sections were stuck together leaving me with spoonfuls of mashed dough. I’d likely go for a thinner size next time as I’d imagine the noodles will cook faster so even if it clumps it wouldn’t be as noticeable.

It was the lightly curried flavour soup that bothered me the most. With past Chinese hand-pulled noodle experiences I’ve become accustomed to beef broth or the hong siu soy sauce version. Both naturally paired better with the beef and doesn’t detract from the noodles as much.    

The second version they serve is the Shanxi knife-sliced noodle. The chef holds a large ball of cold dough, in an angle he uses a sharp knife to directly slice slivers into boiling water. It’s impressive that Magic’s slices are so long it still resembles a noodle. Silky and smooth they were good. But, with the rapid slicing, it’s inevitable that some will be thicker than others, which does lead to uneven cooking consistencies. For this, we went with the simpler sliced beef with noodles ($7.99) which I found is a better choice.

Magic Noodle’s portion sizes are huge (it’s difficult to even finish a small). But, if you have extra room the fried pancake with leek ($2.99) is definitely worth ordering. There’s a great crust that’s not oily, the dough is thin and filled with a substantial portion of what I believe to be chives (although the menu notes leeks), scrambled egg and bean curd thread noodles.

 So after a night of clubbing or if you wake up at 6am with a craving for comfort food, look no further Magic Noodle has you covered. Just bring an appetite as you’ll be satisfied for days.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2190 McNicoll Avenue

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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