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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Taiwanese, Chinese
Casual restaurant

Daily 11:00am–10:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards None
Reservations Not accepted

Rockville, MD
305 N. Washington St.
Rockville, MD
(301) 315-6668
Bob’s Noodle 66
If Rockville is the new Chinatown, this could be its City Hall

With DC’s ”Chinatown“ mostly reduced to a decorative gate and a few mediocre $4.95-lunch-joints sprinkled among chain restaurants sporting bilingual Chinese-English signage (just in case the disappointed Midwestern tourists who show up here speak only Chinese), seekers of authentic Chinese food must follow the actual Chinese population. And these days, Chinese people live in the suburbs. That’s why Bob’s Noodle 66 is located in a nondescript strip mall north of Rockville’s main drag, and it’s also why this inelegant, homey restaurant is packed with real Taiwanese and Chinese people—they live here, and this is the food they want to eat.

Pig’s blood, duck tongues, kidneys, and tripe are among the more interesting ingredients, but top-notch noodle soups and seafood dishes are also hallmarks of Taiwanese cuisine. A hybrid pancake of eggs and sweet-potato flour, studded with oysters and topped with a sweet and spicy sauce, makes an unusual but satisfying appetizer. From among the dizzying array of noodle soups, try the traditional Taiwanese version, which features a rich chicken broth, slivers of pork, and spinach, with your choice of round or flat rice noodles, rice cake, or udon. The chef’s specialties often feature seafood, like the addictive crispy stir-fried shrimp, served head-on and in the shell with deep-fried basil leaves and a salt-and-pepper sauce with scallions.

At a home-style place like this, the tired décor is beside the point. Seat cushions covered with vinyl and industrial ceramic dishes are stock accessories at any budget-friendly Chinese restaurant. A few stunning calligraphy and watercolor paintings on the walls are easy to miss, but worth a look. Service is friendly and efficient, even if you only speak English; hot tea, small bowls for sharing soup, and ice water are forthcoming. Don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors what they’re eating; frequently, two or three generations of a single Taiwanese family will be sharing the best dishes in the house, and they won’t hesitate to help you out.

Better yet, ask Bob himself for advice; he’s always happy to translate, and makes an affable tour guide to the foreign soil of suburbia.

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