For Creative Biang Biang Noodles in Boston, Head to Mei Mei

Hub Grub

A weekly profile on a favorite New England dish.


Biang biang noodles in the making at Mei Mei. [Photograph: Liz Bomze]

After years of waiting for biang biang noodles to hit Boston, we were rewarded with Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe, which hand pulls thick, strappy, excellent noodles to order. The only catch: Gene's isn't all that easy to get to, even though they now have two locations. Their original outpost is in Chelmsford, a roughly 40-minute hike northwest of the city, while their downtown place is in the Financial District, which would be convenient enough if it were open more than just on weekdays during lunch and early dinner hours.

In the meantime, Mei Mei, the sorta-kinda Chinese food truck that now has a restaurant, recently added biang biang noodles to their menu. Like all their eats, these are anything but traditional—and, frankly, the noodles themselves aren't quite up to par with what Gene's is doing. Though thick, they're more tender than most versions, lacking the pronounced elasticity and chew. They're also expensive: depending on the preparation (there are a few, and they change), they might run you between $14 and $17 for a portion that's no bigger than the one at Gene's (which costs $6, though it's worth noting that that dish is basically just noodles—no meat or vegetables).

But if you're craving biang biang noodles and can't fit Gene's into your schedule, these are plenty serviceable, and the preparations are tasty. In the winter I had a version with shredded beef chili, and the chili part was great: complex and spicy with a deep roasted chili flavor and a sumptuous texture that clung really well to the noodles. Just recently, they've switched to two new seasonally appropriate versions: one that's a play on cacio e pepe (chili oil, green garlic, black and Sichuan peppercorns, fancy Vermont cheese, and house guanciale), and another vegetarian option with roasted vegetables, chard, and almond-yogurt sauce.