MIAN, which means noodles in Chinese, serves bold, mouth-tingling flavors and authentic Sichuan noodles in the heart of Houston's Chinatown. James Beard nominated Chef Tony Xu, who created this casual dining concept, as the sister to his first concept Chengdu Taste. Both restaurants originated in California and are both in Houston!
I was invited to this unique noodle restaurant to try their critically acclaimed Sichuan noodles. The deep red hue of their broth drew me in before going, and I knew there would be some spice involved in this experience! As a lover of all things chili oil-related, I had to try them.
The meal started with the Cabbage appetizer and their Mung Bean Tea. The Cabbage was a cold, pickled dish that had a beautiful crunch and was laced with chili oil. Sichuan flavors have spicy and pungent elements. Having the lightly sweetened and earthy taste of the Mung Bean Tea allowed the tongue to cool after the Cabbage, which was the prelude to the more bold, more adventurous flavors that were to come.
The next appetizer brought out was not something I would have ordered right off hand, but it is definitely on my list of favorite things from MIAN. The Spicy Black Fungus was the most beautifully crafted experience. It is a classic Sichuan cold dish that embodies all of the elements of pungent, chewy, garlicky, and, most of all, spicy! As a lover of textured experiences, I enjoyed the chewiness of the wood ear mushrooms. It was an adventure on a plate.
With appreciation for the flavor experiences of the prior dishes, I braced myself for the main dish I had anticipated since the moment I saw the pictures, the Spicy Beef Rib Noodles. This dish was visually pleasing, and the taste was explosive. At first sip, the broth was so spicy yet hearty from the bold, beefy flavors. When "spicy" is used, I mean sinus-clearing spicy, but not in the unpleasant way you may think. This was more of a calming spiciness in a soup of this caliber. The broth against the noodles was an excellent coupling that cradled the tender beef rib. The dish's main ingredients, broth, noodles, and beef rib, could stand alone and be tasty, but together they created harmony.
The last dish they brought out was the Sweet Ice Jelly Dessert. This delightful sweet treat is topped with white sesame seeds, fermented rice, green raisins, brown sugar, hawthorn flakes, and crushed peanuts. A traditional snack in Sichuan had many textures and sweet flavors. It was a lovely "rescue" from the delightful tingling I experienced from the rest of the meal.
I enjoyed this adventurous meal so much that I returned after my first visit. MIAN is a great place to go if you are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary and full of bold flavor. MIAN is located at 9600 Bellaire Blvd #102b in the Dynasty Plaza. Take a little voyage to MIAN, and experience the Sichuan taste and some of the best "Mian" in Houston.
For more information, visit MianHouston.com.