Madison Heights – Steaming bowls of noodles, some nice and spicy, others warm and savory, are the dishes you will find at Noodle Topia in Madison Heights. As you sit down and relax you will see the chef actually hand pulling the noodles.
The noodles are made using flour that’s high in gluten. The dough is hand-rolled into a long strip which is then pulled, slapped, twisted, and stretched by hand to form the noodles, before being tossed into boiling water. They can be made in a variety of thicknesses, from a thin spaghetti style to a wide belt type noodle. They are generally served in a bone broth.
This style of cuisine is native to northern China, where flour and noodles are more commonly used than rice. Li Zhai, the owner, hails from a town in the Henan province, about 5 hours south of Beijing. He says he’s been eating noodles since he was a child, so when he moved to Michigan to go to school for mechanical engineering, he missed it.
He opened Noodle Topia in 2017, with the aim to bring all kinds of Asian noodles to the metro Detroit area.
Besides the noodles and broth, there are a variety of fresh veggies and herbs, along with meats. Zhai’s favorite, from his hometown, is lamb noodles. This one features lamb ribs, a rich lamb broth, tofu skins, daylilies, sweet potato noodles, and cilantro. The Bejing-style noodles actually don’t have a broth. Instead, they are topped with a thick sauce made with pork belly and soybean paste, topped with thickly sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots, and a fried egg.
The most popular noodle bowl, which is great for first-timers, is the Beef Noodles. The thin noodles are topped with thinly sliced beef with green onions, cilantro, and white radishes in a savory bone broth with just a hint of chili oil. For those craving a bit more spice, check out the Szechuan noodles with ground pork, bok choy, peanuts, garlic, soybeans, green onions, and cilantro.
While Zhai loves working in the restaurant industry, he still sticks to true to his mechanical engineering background. When the pandemic hit, and it was hard to find workers, he turned to robots instead. The bots are designed to look like cats and will escort you to your table, and deliver food and drink. It’s a fun attraction Zhai says guests love.
For more information, watch the full video above.
Noodle Topia is located at 30120-30140, 30120 John R Road in Madison Heights between 12 and 13 Mile.