Lucky China was one of our favorites for handmade noodles and slow-cooked soups, but after six years on South Havana Street, chef Helen Cai's little shop is now closed. A new tenant, Ten Seconds Yunnan Rice Noodles, is now open in its place.
Located in the same shopping center as Seoul Korean BBQ and M Mart, Ten Seconds is a branch of the Shi Miao Dao chain of noodle shops that number more than 750 locations in China but only a handful in North America, mostly in New York City and Toronto. Shi Miao Dao translates roughly to "ready in ten seconds," hence the restaurant's name in English.
The company specializes in cross-the-bridge noodles, a dish that has its origins in the Yunnan province, which borders Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Rice is much more common in the region than wheat, so noodles throughout the area are typically made with rice. Cross-the-bridge noodles are served with the noodles and other ingredients separate from the broth, so customers add everything at once and then slurp away. Shi Miao Dao's corporate website explains that the dish was invented by a woman who had to take lunch across a bridge to her husband who worked on an island, so she packaged everything separately to keep the noodles from getting soggy.
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At Ten Seconds, you'll want to follow a similar strategy (except without having to walk across a bridge). The broth comes out piping hot in stone bowls, so once you add the noodles, you have to slurp quickly before they start falling apart. Other ingredients that come with the soup include corn, a raw quail egg, daikon radish, chive, wood ear mushroom, a marinated chicken wing, Spam-style ham, thin slices of beef and a couple of herb and spice pastes. The broth-and-toppings combinations number about a dozen, and there are also add-ins such as beef, lamb, fish, tripe and deep-fried pork chops. The original house broth is mild, but tomato-based and spicy soups are also available.
Think of it as another way to feed to your ramen and pho habit, only with a new range of flavors from southwest China. While this style of soup is fairly new to metro Denver, servers at Ten Seconds are happy to offer advice. Beyond the noodle bowls, there are a number of appetizers, including spicy cucumber salad, dried tofu, spicy beef tendon, cold noodle salad and jellyfish salad, plus layered fruit teas and milk teas.
Ten Seconds Yunnanese Rice Noodles is located at 2000 South Havana Street. Regular hours have not been posted yet, but expect standard daily lunch and dinner hours.