United Noodles‘ deli has finally reopened, and it now offers one of the best lunch deals in town. If you can’t afford a trip to Singapore, Taipei or Beijing this little lunch counter hidden away inside the pan-ethnic market at 2015 E. 24th St., Minneapolis might be one of your best chances locally to get a little taste of the Singapore hawker center experience. There is only one counter, (unlike the hawker centers, which can have a hundred booths or more), but the selection ranges from Taiwanese noodle soups to Thai, Korean and Japanese dishes – just like at the Singapore hawker centers. Best deal is the $4.50 lunch special – any two dishes of your choice from the steam table, plus hot broth and fried rice, but when chef Jimmy is in a good mood, he’ll throw in a third choice as well.
When I tried it last week, the choices included pork with broccoli, a pork stew with tofu, carrots and bamboo shoots, and a vegetable dish of cabbage and black mushrooms. Simple, tasty home cooking, but I give the edge to the meal-sized noodle soups, especially the pork and preserved vegetable served with fat wheat noodles ($4.95). Other options include Taiwan-style beef noodle soup ($4.95), Korean style beef short ribs ($5.95), Japanese beef teriyaki ($5.95), and Thai chicken curry (all $5.95).There are usually a few to-go items stacked up at the counter as well, ranging from fresh shrimp spring rolls to tea eggs, red-cooked beef shank and – for the more adventuresome, stewed pig ears and pig intestines.