It’s only January 2nd, and I may have already found my favorite bite of 2015 — the spicy pork bun from Three Fold Noodles and Dumplings downtown.
Well, no I guess I should probably talk about the place a little more than that. Located in the space that formerly housed Your Mama’s Good Food, the food at Three Fold might not be what my mother made, but it certainly qualifies as “good food.” The space has been renovated and looks fantastic, pairing a classic white tile floor with the modern touch of having the simple menu printed right on the wall. You only get a few choices at Three Fold, and the big ones are buns, dumplings, and noodles (Three choices, Three Fold — you with me here?). I’ve always said that the best restaurants have the simplest menus, and this Chinese eatery proves that in spades.
When the food is this good, you don’t need a lot of choices.
So about that bun. The pork is lovely, shredded fine and packed with savory flavor. The bun itself is soft, yet firm enough to hold the meat and copious toppings. Spicy sauce, cilantro, spring mix — it all comes together into a powerful combination of great flavor and excellent texture. It’s been some time since I’ve eaten something that made me sad when it was gone, but my pork bun from Three Fold had me longing for more even as I stuffed the last bite into my maw. I’m actually craving another one right now as I type this.
And of course, if you have something soft like a pork bun, you need some crunch to go with it. Three Fold has a couple of tasty ways to get this, an excellent cabbage slaw that went nicely with the pork, and something I didn’t expect to like as much as I did, sweet and salty taro chips. The chips cost a little extra, but they come in a large portion — enough for two people to easily share.
I like food that’s fresh, made in-house, and made with care. Three Fold is doing all that. Service was friendly and quick, and the dining room was comfortable, with tables spaced nicely so that I didn’t feel crowded (which is a pet peeve of mine).
So, bottom line? Go eat there. Several people I saw today had eaten there on consecutive days, which is always a good sign. The food is good and possibly habit forming. There’s also no other place in Little Rock quite like it — and any imitator is going to have to really try hard to do better.