China Pasta House – A Little Spot Serving Up Big Flavors

Friends have been raving about China Pasta House, a little whole in the wall spot just south of the University of Arizona campus. I’ve been meaning to stop in, but with so many other options and assignments I just haven’t had the chance to eat there. Today, finally, I did.
I met Karyn Zoldan of Circle of Food after the lunch rush. The place is tiny, maybe with a half a dozen tables. The décor is sparse and there was only one, tiny, elderly Asian woman working the front. Her English seemed limited but she knew what we wanted. She wrote the order in Chinese (I think.) There’s nothing fancy about this place, but there is something authentic and real. Chopsticks and hot sauce sit on the table.
Most of the other customers looked like UofA students and most were Asian.
The menu at first glance seemed pretty much like other Asian restaurants but then we noticed items like chicken livers and gizzards, gruel, preserved eggs, sugar buns. In fact, there is a whole assortment of buns that all sounded tempting but we didn’t order for some reason. There is also a long list of dumplings with all sorts of tempting fillings (we didn’t order those either.)
We did order the cucumber and shredded chicken noodles, the pork belly rice and the scallion pie.
Everything we had lived up to the hype, especially the noodles. Soft and fluffy they’d been tossed in a light but flavorful sauce, cukes and tender, bits of white meat chicken. The portion seemed small, but the bowl was deep and we kept eating and eating and eating. This dish alone would’ve sufficed but there was more to enjoy.
The pork consisted of a huge mound of cubed pork belly in a darker sauce that seemed to get better with each bite. We ate plenty and I took the rest home.
And the “pie” was really more of a pancake redolent with scallion; a little greasy, perhaps, but tasty just the same. There were two pie
And it all came to a total of just under $23.00.
I can’t wait to go back. I want to try the buns and the dumplings and other noodle dishes.