Stopping time at Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles

On a sunny jubilee weekend, I went to Cambridge for the day. It’s a lovely university town, full of history. Old college buildings, the punting tradition – pushing yourself on a boat around the river with big, long stick. There are picturesque meadows with cows that appear to belong to no one ambling past and bustling food and arts markets.

Then there is the Corpus Clock, otherwise known as the Grasshopper Clock. A rippling gold orb that only shows the correct time every five minutes. The cricket (or locust) which sits atop the clock, a ‘Cronophage’ or ‘time-eater’ translated from Greek, moves its legs and mouth along with the contraption and every so often blinks in satisfaction as it devours the seconds of our lives. This terrifying creature is affectionately known by the students at the university as Hopsy, possibly a cuter name than it deserves.

Why may you ask am I taking the time to write this random clock on my food blog?

After plenty of sun, pints and relaxation in Cambridge, my friend and I jumped a train back to Liverpool St, London and went for some pulled flat noodles at Biang Biang. we sat down in the casual, dimly lit restaurant, drank jasmine tea, and ordered the hand pulled Biang Biang noodles with beef and special sauce as well as the chicken and veg pot sticker dumplings to share. I hope I don’t sound like I’m exaggerating, or being overly dramatic, when I say that the first mouthful of noodles made time stand still. Not in a way that made me feel like it was being devoured by the cricket clock, it didn’t feel lost, it just slowed a little, hovering in the air for a fraction of a second, barely perceptible, like the wings of a hummingbird.

In that moment I was ravenously hungry. Things always taste good when one has a hunger for it, but it wasn’t just that. The beef was succulent and melting in the mouth, the noodles were plentiful, perfectly cooked, saucy and a tiny bit chewy. The special sauce had just the right level of fragrant spice. The dumplings crunched on the outside with a juicy slurpable filling. 

I couldn’t tell you what happened to those moments while I ate, time is relative after all. What I can tell you is that it was delicious, and if you are going to lose time eating something, it’s definitely worth waving it goodbye while eating this.

Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles – 62 Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, London. E1 7AL

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