Noodles in Orlando with Menu

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    The sheer variety and low price point of the assorted dishes makes this hub of pan-Asian small plates a popular draw, but it's better for snacking and drinking beer with a group than sitting down to a trad meal. The menu attempts to replicate the feel of a Singaporean street-food market with an array of tiny, tasty Chinese, Malay, Viet and Indian dishes. The place packs ’em in, so call ahead or risk waiting.

    Fresh ingredients, genial service and sheer variety help make this Winter Park hot pot joint an option for these looking for a change in their restaurant routine. Meats aren't too out of the ordinary, though live blue crab, lobster, shrimp and bass keep it interesting. Stock base and spice levels can be adjusted according to taste, though "numb-spicy" isn't as excruciating as you might think/hope. Open daily, and until 5 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.


    Teaser: Fresh ingredients, genial service and sheer variety help make this Winter Park hot pot joint an option for these looking for a change in their restaurant routine. Meats aren't too out of the ordinary, though live blue crab, lobster, shrimp and bass keep it interesting. Stock base and spice levels can be adjusted according to taste, though "numb-spicy" isn't as excruciating as you might think/hope. Open daily, and until 5 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
    Mamak Asian Street Food
    Mamak brings a semblance of Malaysia’s food-stall culture to Mills 50 with plenty of pan-Asian noodle soups, wok-fired delicacies and small plates. From beef bulgogi and seasoned cod in black bean sauce to char kway teow and kari mee, the dishes here are exemplary and thoroughly gratifying. Get a plate of stir-fried green beans to nosh on throughout your meal. To end, sweet ice kacang is a cold comfort.

    Fast food sure ain't what it used to be. These days, urban slackers have clusters of "fast-casual eateries" to satisfy their immediate demands, like the one in front of Target on East Colonial Drive. First came the drive-through Starbucks, then Chipotle and now the snazzy Pei Wei Asian Diner (prounounced pay-way), operated by P.F. Chang's. And while Pei Wei is a testament to the fact that the convenience market is stronger than ever, their menu has panache and, I'll admit, better choices than the fast food of my Big Mac generation.

    The Pei Wei concept was created to be a competitor in the noodle shop trend, but they offer more than just noodles. They also offer rice bowls, salads and an array of pan-Asian "signature dishes" that bring together Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese cuisines.

    Since P.F. Chang's practically put lettuce cups on the culinary map, no visit to Pei Wei is complete without an order of minced chicken ($6.25) or chile-seared pork ($6.25) lettuce wraps. Both have tangy fillings loaded onto cool, crisp lettuce.

    Among the noodle dishes, my only disappointment was with the pad Thai ($6.25) – the gummy noodles laced with crushed peanuts were missing flavor that could have been remedied with a few turns of fish sauce. The lo meins ($6.25) with shiitake mushrooms and pungent garlic sauce were comforting and satisfying, just what a bowl of noodles should be.

    The rice bowls, which come with either brown or white rice, are gracefully simple, such as the shrimp with lobster sauce bowl ($7.25), which looked tempting. But I stuck to the array of hugely portioned signature dishes – like the blazing noodles ($7.25) – which all come with high-quality meat and interesting sauces. This is my kind of fast food.

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