Nestled in the middle of Anaheim in between the Middle Eastern restaurants and markets, is a refreshing Asian restaurant which opened about a month ago. Chew Noodle Bar is a new concept, encompassing dishes from various Asian cuisines, by Chef Amy Pham. Chef Amy was previously with Jinny’s Pizzeria at 4th Street Market in Santa Ana, and has been involved with Jinny’s chef/owner Chef Nathaniel Nguyen (Prince & the Pantry) for several years, prior to branching out on her own.
We are excited to try some of the noodles, as well as the small bites. The simplest way to maneuver the menu is to select from the last page, where you may choose either pho or ramen, with a smaller portion of select appetizers for around $10-$11. There are other dishes on the menu offered a la carte as well.
Garlic Edamame ($5) is a mouthwatering start. A generous bowl of edamame is tossed in a concoction of garlic, soy, togarashi, mirin, and sake. It’s a perfect accompaniment to some icy cold beer!
Living in Hawaii, I confess we probably ate a lot more spam musubi than we’d like to admit, but hey, who doesn’t love musubi? Musubites ($6) are bite-sized (two bites) grilled spam musubi that is highly appealing to me. I dislike the sweet sauce on musubi and here, there is none of it. Each piece is sprinkled with furikake and served with a side of roasted garlic aioli, but I loved them just the way they are!
The Eggrolls ($6) here are solid. I love its texture and flavor — totally comparable to the ones you’ll find in Lil Saigon. Garnished with Bibb lettuce and dau chua (Vietnamese pickled carrots and radish) and served with your choice of nước chấm (fish sauce based dipping sauce) or ponzu.
I have a huge soft spot for chicken wings, so whenever I see them on the menu, 90% of the time I’ll order it. Sticky Wings ($8) is a must! These crispy wings are coated with a tantalizing lemongrass glaze which has a hint of sweetness and spice, but so addicting I can’t stop eating them. The accompanying spicy sunomono (Japanese cucumber salad) is delicious, perfect as a palate cleanser in between bites.
Short Rib Gyozas ($8) are bite-sized dumplings filled with five-spice short ribs which have been braised for six hours. There is a little hoisin sauce – not overwhelming – and garnished with sprigs of micro cilantro.
If you are a texture fiend, the Crispy Sticky Rice ($9) will definitely please. Reminiscent of sushi rolls – though no seaweed – these rice rolls are stuffed with braised chicken, Chinese sausage (lup cheong) and spicy miso butter. The rice is crispy on the outside and a little soft on the inside, and while I am not able to taste the braised chicken, the Chinese sausage was clearly evident.
Pho & Ramen around $10-$11, and of course, if you select additional add-ons, then your bowl will be slightly more.
The Pho is a generous portion, with noodles immersed in a decent broth with distinct aromas of star anise. I would have liked more broth to noodles ratio, but that’s just me.
Ramen is a solid offering with a punchy broth that’s perhaps a tad too salty. However, the toppings are great – you get to choose your own – and the best part?
A beautiful sous vide soft egg that’s perfection is available if you so choose. I say, it’s a MUST order. The center is so soft but doesn’t ooze. It’s what my grandma calls 糖心蛋 meaning the center is soft and gooey. It is what she believed to be a perfect egg! Stunning!
I really enjoyed our meal here. Bold Asian flavors coupled with creative interpretations of old favorites is just what Anaheim needs.
Chew Noodle Bar
918 S Magnolia Ave
Anaheim, CA 92804