P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.'s 40-plus restaurant chain, operating in 19 states, owes much of its success to founder Paul Fleming's unique idea of pairing oriental cuisine with American-style service. At the outset, when he opened the first of the restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fleming broke with the traditional Chinese restaurant format. With his collaborator, chef Philip Chiang, he devised a comparatively limited menu that featured far fewer dishes than the menus of typical, full-service, Chinese restaurants. Incorporating an American steak house dining style and a formidable selection of wines and cheeses, P.F. Chang's offers such additional oriental restaurant anomalies as espresso and cappuccino. Although P.F. Chang's China Bistros are stylish in decor, displaying motifs from the Ming and T'ang Dynasties and hand-painted murals, the dishes are moderately priced, partly because one of Fleming's aims was to provide high quality but affordable Chinese food for "the masses."
P.F. Chang's China Bistro Garlic Noodles
3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons red chile flakes
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound fresh Chinese noodle or vermicelli
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup Cantonese stir fry sauce (see recipe below)
1 Japanese cucumber or English cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Cantonese Stir Fry Sauce:
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon chicken base powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons shaohsing wine or sherry
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Cook pasta. Rinse and cool down. Set aside. Toss in red chilie flakes and cilantro.
Wash cucumber. Slice diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices. Slice into strips. Set aside.
Heat wok thoroughly, add oil, then minced garlic. Stir fry briefly. Do not burn the garlic. Add sugar and vinegar. Add noodle to wok, stirring and tossing to mix until noodle is heated through. Place on plates and surround with cucumber strips.
NOTE: Chinese noodle is available fresh frozen, and can be cooked like any fresh pasta. Bring water to boil, and noodles, separate. Drain and shock in cold water. Toss with salad oil. Uncooked fresh pasta can be frozen indefinitely.