By Priya Konings
A small kitchen with big flavors is the best catchphrase that can describe Nainai’s Noodle and Dumpling Bar, a new spot in Silver Spring. The casual, charming restaurant has a modest, manageable menu that focuses on showcasing some of the best dishes from around Asia including bao buns, dumplings, spring rolls, soups, and noodles.
You may have to order at the counter, but this is no standard fast food joint. Staff is more than happy to offer recommendations, the main counter offers a variety of sauces and toppings like spicy mustard and sriracha, and the food is platform for experiencing some great Asian ingredients.
Start with an order of crispy fried spring rolls and the kung pao bao buns. The rolls are filled with veggies like carrots, celery, and cabbage making the inside and outside of the spring rolls crunchy and fresh. The fluffy bao buns are brimming with a shredded tofu and mushroom mixture that is coated in a sweet and sour kung pao sauce and topped with peanuts and green onions.
Next up are the noodles: try the Tipsy noodles, which are so good you will feel tipsy. Thick rice noodles are tossed with crunchy red onions and fried basil. Super spicy, it is simple, hot and delicious. Even better is the Pai Gow noodles, where thin, curly noodles are combined with greens, garlic, peanuts and green onions. The Majhong noodles offer a different flavor profile, with thin, flat noodles, and a creamy peanut and sesame paste sauce that compliments the crunchy cucumbers and carrots. For a noodle soup, try the Sichuan soup, a spicy hot and sour soup swimming with mushrooms and festooned with crispy wonton strips.
While you stuff your face, don’t forget to take a few bites of the complimentary pickled veggies and salted peanuts that come with your food. Nainai’s Noodle and Dumpling Bar is open for lunch and dinner, beer and wine are available, and fulfilment of your craving for Asian food is guaranteed.