Cheap Eats 2009: Joe’s Noodle House

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: Authentic Chengdu street fare and regional specialties and snacks from across China attract crowds to this cramped order-at-the-counter diner, where heat levels range from “hot and spicy” to “numbing.” Owner and order taker Audrey Jan answers questions from behind the counter.

What to get: Pork-filled dumplings with hongyou, a red oil steeped with chilies and other spices; flaky scallion pancakes; dan dan mian, long, chewy noodles topped with ground pork; shrimp with scrambled eggs, a homey Taiwanese favorite rarely seen here.

Best for: Diners intrepid enough to brave the often-incendiary Szechuan cooking.

Insider tip: Despite the name, some of the noodle dishes are not very compelling. Look to specials posted on the wall behind the cash register for what’s freshest and most exciting: stir-fried green beans with pork, bamboo stalks with beef, pea shoots with garlic, asparagus with ginger.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats Restaurants here 

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.