PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you know the area, you know there’s usually quite the line outside the Stretch the Noodle food cart in downtown Portland.
Through the window at Stretch the Noodle, you’ll see husband and wife duo Xue Mei and Duane Simard working in harmony — even at the height of a lunch hour rush. Xue Mei hand pulls the noodles while Duane will add important touches like sauces and garnishes.
“We also do what’s called ‘biang biang,’ which is neat, because that’s named after the sound it makes jumping up and down — ‘biang, biang, biang, biang,’” Duane said.
Xue Mei is originally from the northern part of China, in an area that doesn’t have a lot of rice. However, it does have an abundance of wheat.
That’s why dishes like dumplings or noodles are more common.
As a former fitness instructor who also taught yoga, Xue Mei says the noodle-stretching makes up most of her workouts these days.
The Simards urged KOIN 6 News anchor Elizabeth Dinh to give it a try — she can now confirm that Xue Mei’s strength and experience make it look a lot easier than it actually is.
Xue Mei stretching the noodles looks like art in action — and this food artist was recently featured in one of Travel Oregon’s recent “Only Slightly Exaggerated” animated commercials.
The commercial has helped this already-popular food cart gain even more fans.
KOIN 6 News reached out to Travel Oregon about why they chose to feature Stretch the Noodle in their campaign.
“For our Only Slightly Exaggerated animated campaign, we featured Stretch the Noodle because of their distinct noodle-making process, the deliciousness of noodles, and that they were in downtown Portland,” A Travel Oregon spokesperson said.
They also said they loved to highlight how a woman is one of the owners of this successful local business.
As for the Simards, Xue Mei and Duane are excited to share some new menu items.
“We replaced the noodle salad with a soup dumpling dish that has noodles, pork dumplings, and the beef bone soup. And the spicy pork bao has rotated off the menu and pork dumplings and pork and shrimp dumplings have rotated back on the menu,” they explained. “We’re going to start making vegan dumplings again soon also.”
The couple also has slightly different business hours for the downtown food cart. They’re open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. They’re also open on Saturdays from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. — but are closed Wednesdays and Sundays.
Find the food cart at 223-269 SW Washington Street in Portland.