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Noodle Topia owner Lee Zhai makes noodles fresh-to-order at his Madison Heights restaurant, which opened last fall.

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When the hankering for noodles hits you, it’s a powerful craving. Luckily, the options for fresh, handmade noodles are growing.

In the past few months two Chinese noodle houses have opened in Madison Heights, joining the fray of varied Southeast and East Asian eateries that pepper the John R corridor and surrounding area.

As the name implies, Noodle Topia is a wonderland of long, handmade Chinese noodle dishes. The noodles are made to order, and an open kitchen gives diners a look — and a listen — at the chef stretching and pounding dough to make the ramen-style noodles.

Owner Lee Zhai tells me he decided to open a restaurant with fresh noodles because it was something that was missing in the area and he saw an opportunity.

The heart of Zhai’s Noodle Topia is a list of seven entree-sized noodle bowls, some with broth and some served plated. If you try one thing here, I suggest the Sichuan noodles with long handmade noodles, soaked in a flavorful broth that is mildly spicy with ground pork, cilantro, bok choy, green onion, garlic and beans.

For a sweeter dish, the Beijing noodles, plated with ground pork, cucumber, carrot and a fried egg, are the way to go.

The casual restaurant also has sides like bean curd salad and spiced beef, plus dim sum and nonalcoholic drinks, plus some beers. Try the sea salt cheese tea for something unique that really does have notes of salt, tea and creamy cheese.

Noodle Topia, 30210-30140 John R in Madison Heights, is open 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Call (248) 591-4092 or order online at noodletopiami.com.

Around the same time Noodle Topia opened in the fall, another Chinese noodle joint opened in Madison Heights. Kung Fu Noodle is also a casual and authentic neighborhood eatery with fresh, homemade noodles.

Here, you’ll find a larger menu of noodle entrees that includes familiar dishes like beef noodle soup, pad thai and chow mein, but also ox tail noodle soup, braised spare ribs noodle soup and beef tripe and omasum (cow stomach) noodle soup.

Kung Fu also has a menu of barbecue sticks, which is meat on a stick, including chicken, beef, lamb, sausage, shrimp, pork belly or whole quail.

Kung Fu Noodle is at 31151 Dequindre in Madison Heights. It’s open 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Call (248) 268-2171.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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