Smile Politely

You’ve tried the dumplings, now give Mid Summer Lounge’s noodles a try

We’ve covered Mid Summer Lounge, before but there is a reason we still can’t get enough of this place. While we’ve raved about the dumplings, I recently went with a few friends to check out some other offerings. Since the last time, the menu has expanded now covering everything from appetizers and soup noodles, to dry noodles, dumplings, and wontons.

As soon as you enter Mid Summer Lounge, you feel transported out of the hustle and bustle of Green Street. It’s a place unlike any other in Campustown, and has a relaxed atmosphere that befits its name well. Opened in October 2016, the restaurant has grown over time and stands as one of the best places in C-U to get dumplings and soup noodles.

We started by ordering two packaged drinks: Vitasoy Lemon Tea Drink (which is a Chinese favorite) and Milkis yogurt soda (which is a Korean soda). Both of these are standard drinks that are available in most Asian shops and even supermarket chains these days. If you haven’t ever ventured into the Asian packaged drink category, these are a great starting point, followed closely by the Korean Binggare banana flavored milk.

For the appetizer, we wanted to go with E7 – Ham Hock ($6), but unfortunately they had just run out. Since we were planning on ordering meat heavy dishes, we settled on E4 – Bean Curd Stick ($4), which was a cold tofu skin appetizer marinated in chili oil. It was a great light appetizer that had a wonderful soft silky texture, complimented by the heat in the chili oil.

We decided on ordering three different noodle dishes between the four of us, since the restaurant is known for big portions. We choose A9 Beef Brisket Noodles ($13); B3 – Hand Pulled Chicken Cold Noodles ($12); and D1 – Fish Fillet with Pickled Cabbage and Chili ($13). The chicken cold noodles are what surprised me the most. I have never been a fan of cold noodles, but this was an instant hit with me. The spiciness of the chilies on top paired well with the cold noodles, offsetting the heat, but leaving the mouth with a nice tingling feeling. Since the noodles were cold, they had a nice snap and didn’t get extremely soggy sitting in hot broth. This meant that we could enjoy it for a longer time.

The fish fillet noodles are perfect for people who can’t do spicy. You might be afraid looking at the number of chilies sitting on top, but once you remove them, the broth itself isn’t spicy but rather slightly sour due to the pickled veggies. You will also be advised to remove the small Sichuan peppercorns from the broth. They don’t seem spicy, but have a numbing tingle in the back of your tongue along with a slight soapy flavor. The fish fillets were perfectly flaky, having been poached in the broth.

The beef noodles had a denser broth along with succulent pieces of slightly chewy beef that fell apart in the mouth. The noodles in the broth were easy to slurp on and seemed house made. Even though the noodles in all the three dishes were the same, they tasted extremely different due to the broth and the texture. To make your dishes heartier, you can also add a fried egg or a tea egg for a dollar. Also, there is a free refill for noodles, which can be great if you are super hungry or sharing a bowl with a friend.

Okay, we cheated a little bit. I know said that this would be a review of non-dumpling items here, but we simply couldn’t leave without trying some. And so, we ordered one of our favorites: C6 – Angus Beef and Green Onion ($9.5). The thing about the dumplings that truly sets them apart is the slightly thicker wrapper than those at many other places, giving it a chewier texture much like the noodles. It is also a testament to how they are handmade and pair well with either the dipping sauce or chili oil on the table. The chewy texture pairs great with the well-seasoned soft beef filling and slight sharpness from the green onion. It is no wonder that it is one of their most recommended dumplings.

Overall, I would highly recommend going and exploring more of the traditional Chinese dishes that Mid Summer Lounge has to offer, beyond the dumplings. The staff is great and will help you order. They are always more than happy to acquaint you to new dishes and suggest some based on your past experiences. Do not sleep on the cold noodles! They are like a spicy pasta salad that you never knew you needed, with lots of veggies and crunch. Try them out before the winter comes, when it will be time to comfort yourself with a warm bowl of noodle soup. And if you are looking for a quick filling snack, you always have the choice of dumplings.

Mid Summer Lounge
623 E Green St
10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., daily

Photos by Mayank Boob

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