11642 NE Halsey St., 206-5090, taipeinoodlehaus.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
One of my first and favorite food memories as a child is of noodles—majestically hand-pulled from sheets, a magical and impossible dinner theater I witnessed weekly at the once-wonderful Imperial Garden restaurant in Oak Grove. Funny to find out, lately, that the same family has threaded through Chinese food I've since loved at Chinese Delicacy on Southeast 82nd Avenue and now here at Taipei Noodle Haus. Despite its Teutonic-Taiwanese name, the spot's influences are at the border of Chinese and Korean—but the specialty is, indeed, wonderful hand-pulled noodles, served out of a former East Portland sports bar and still ringing with the sound of video poker. But, dear Lord, get the ja-jiang mein ($.9.25), a pile of beautiful, slightly irregular, chewy, lovely noodles served with a sauce intimidatingly ink-black and goopy with bits of octopus. Within bites it will lose all unfamiliarity and become your only comfort—unless, that is, you opt for the dandan noodles ($7.95) or the chow-ma seafood noodle soup ($9.25). Unlike the crowd in the walled-off video poker room, on the noodles menu you always win. Oh, and you'll probably have to ask if you want some of the kimchi sitting in the cooler.