Manchester is known for many things, among them the city’s status as the home to the UK’s largest Chinatown outside London, and the third biggest in Europe. Suffice to say, it has the historic archway — or paifang — to prove it, which was built in China and shipped to the North West before being placed and completed in time for Easter 1987. The landmark gateway sits on Faulkner Street, which is also where Noodle Alley can be found: at the beating heart of a district dedicated to Chinese culture and food.
More than living up to that claim, the story behind Noodle Alley begins where most great eateries do — in childhood. Growing up in the Sichuan province, arguably the most famous region of China for culinary matters, Wendy was inspired by a noodle bar she visited with her mother, which was located at the end of a back street excelled at noodle soup and bamboo steamed beef, cool iced jelly and flaming hot skewers. Relocating to Manchester in the 1990s, alongside husband Ken the pair are now committed to recreating some of those flavours with their own alley-based business.
Alongside the Beef Brisket and Smoked Bamboo noodle soup, diners can also find Chicken Rice Noodle Broth among the menu options that come with handmade noodles Noodle Alley is famous for, including a range of Dry Mixed dishes. Elsewhere, there’s a range of small plates, including Sichuan Dumplings, Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs, and Century Eggs with Chargrilled Green Chillis, all of which keep the regional focus, with many based on family recipes and each made using ingredients considered fundamental to Sichuan cooking. Not least the world-famous Szechuan pepper. Sweet Bites are also a specialism, such as Poached Egg in Sweet Fermented Rice Soup and Deep Fried Sticky Rice Cake Strip with Brown Sugar Syrup.