Qian Wei La

Special thanks to Qian Wei La for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Besides steamboat, Qian Wei La Steamboat & BBQ Barbecue (左麻右辣) has recently introduced noodle dishes into its food menu. This move serves to cater the lunch crowd that typically prefers something lighter and speedier than steamboat. Called QQ Handmade Noodle (QQ手工面), the restaurant produces its own noodle from scratch without the use of any artificial preservatives.
One of the more popular versions of the new noodle dishes is Signature Pickled Mustard Noodle (招牌榨菜肉丝面, RM5.90). This dish revolves around two main ingredients: pork slices (肉丝) and pickled mustard (榨菜).
Through delightful tanginess of pickled mustard, the broth is flavored in a uniquely appetizing sense. Tender pieces of pork take full advantage of this, contributing to pleasant mouthfeel as well. I feel that this is the first dish to try if you are new to Qian Wei La's noodle menu.
Customers who prefer more meaty juiciness should really try a bowl of Signature Zhajiang Noodle (招牌炸酱面, RM6.90). Unlike the previous dish, this bowl of noodle is drained dry and is topped with savory minced pork. Also included are shredded carrot and cucumber that provide much-needed juiciness.
Minced pork is flavored with succulent zhajiang sauce (炸酱). Made from soybean, zhajiang sauce accentuates existing meaty savoriness to a large degree. Having said so, I do not feel that this dish is too oily. In fact, shredded carrot and cucumber make this dish lean towards "wet" as opposed to "oily".
If you love Qian Wei La's devilish Sichuan Spicy Soup (麻辣汤底), prepare to have your taste buds tantalized by a bowl of Signature Mala Soup Noodle (招牌麻辣汤面, RM5.90). Like the steamboat, the soup combines sweet and spicy flavors in a complex manner. The resultant effect is fiery tastiness but not to the extent of inducing numbness.
Among all noodle dishes served today, I feel that the Sichuanese version makes the best use of the handmade noodle. The appetizing essence of spices penetrates the noodle deeply, greatly enhancing the noodle's slurping springiness that I truly enjoy. I recommend this dish if you are up for Sichuanese fiery challenge.
Finally, Signature Pork Bone Soup Noodle (招牌猪骨汤面, RM5.90) provides the most "neutral" flavor among all. This does not imply that the soup is bland. In fact, this cannot be any further from the truth. Through stewing with pork bones for many hours, the soup is rich in meaty goodness that makes it all so enjoyable sip after sip.
Although the noodle dishes are meant to supplement Qian Wei La's "heavyweight" steamboat meals, I feel that each of the noodle dishes is unique in its own way. I will not be surprised if more people start coming to Qian Wei La merely for noodle - even during dinnertime.
Name: Qian Wei La Steamboat & BBQ Barbecue (左麻右辣)
Address: 113, Jalan Perniagaan Gemilang 1, Pusat Perniagaan Gemilang, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-548-9209
Business hours: 12:00pm-2:00pm, 5:30pm-11:30pm (Monday-Friday), 12:00pm-11:30pm (Saturday-Sunday), closed on Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/qianweila
Coordinates: 5.35180 N, 100.44118 E
Directions: From the North-South Expressway, take the Bukit Mertajam exit and head east. Drive forward till the end, then turn right and then turn left immediately. Qian Wei La is located at the row of shops on the left. Parking is available in front of the restaurant.

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