In 221 B.C.E., warring states were unified into what became the nation of China. In 2014 C.E., two new regional Chinese restaurants were opened in the People’s Republic of Eugene.
Joining Kung Fu Bistro, the Sichuan spot which continues to get raves for its cumin-fried fish on Willamette, and the odd Teriyaki Boy on 13th with its special Chinese menu, are two exciting new places.
Tasty Chongqing (Broadway near the Ferry Street Bridge in the building formerly occupied by Café Arirang) is a modest student eatery that is named after a relatively new province to the east of Sichuan province, which which it shares many culinary traditions. The restaurant specializes in hot and cold snacks, hot pots, noodle dishes, and yes, FINALLY, Sichuan-style spicy steamed dumplings (above).
221 B.C.E. has an unusual name that points to a significant date in Chinese history. The owners hail from Shaanxi province, which lies north of Chongqing and is famous for the terra cotta army buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who unified China in that fateful year. This little modern two-storied noodle shop has just opened in a new building at 13th and Patterson (which might be the hottest restaurant corner in town, with two new restaurants opened and a Sushi Island in the works).
The restaurant is currently serving a limited menu as they work the kinks out, but already popular for its thick, chewy hand-shaved wheat noodles, served in a bowl with simple toppings like egg and tomato or more rich and decadent, like the braised pork chunks with spicy chile flakes. In my opinion, these are the best noodles in town. Also available are rou jia mo, sometimes called a “hamburger” of fillings like cumin beef on a steamed bun, and more creative offerings like snacks of duck necks and pork bungs. I didn’t ask.
Neither restaurant seems to have a website or Facebook page, but I did chat with the owners and they told me they’ve had success with restaurants in Washington (Tasty Chongqing) and on the East Coast (221 B.C.E.). Both joints were already stuffed with Chinese UO students. I’m looking forward to spending many more meals there.
Welcome to Eugene! We’ve been waiting!
P.S. As the cuisine in Eugene gets more diverse and sophisticated, it’s worth your while to learn more about the dishes of central China and their wheat-based noodle-y cuisine to enjoy these spots. Read up on the food of Sichuan province and Shaanxi province before checking them out. Very helpful articles!