Chai's Noodle Bar & Bistro

★★★★☆
  • 2816 Erwin Rd 207

    Durham, NC 27705

    Map & Directions
  • 919-309-4864

About Chai's Noodle Bar & Bistro

Hours
Mon. - Fri. 5pm - 9pm;Sat. 11am - 3pm;Sun. CLOSED
3.5 18
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I'm not too hypercritical about restaruants, but this place simply provided the worst service I've EVER experienced in my life. The food is mediocre, but one time, my friend ordered something that tasted like absolutely nothing; there was

3
★★★★★

I'm not too hypercritical about restaruants, but this place simply provided the worst service I've EVER experienced in my life. The food is mediocre, but one time, my friend ordered something that tasted like absolutely nothing; there was

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They changed the atomic wing challenge to 12 wings in 15 minutes (instead of 30) AND increased the heat. . . to something like a pound habenero peppers per dozen wings (that could be urban legend). Not for the faint of heart or stomach. The other food is pretty good.

3
★★★☆☆

They changed the atomic wing challenge to 12 wings in 15 minutes (instead of 30) AND increased the heat. . . to something like a pound habenero peppers per dozen wings (that could be urban legend). Not for the faint of heart or stomach. The other food is pretty good.

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The typical dining experience at Chai's Noodle Bar goes something like this: wait 23 minutes in line to order, wait 3 minutes for your food to come out, spend 3 seconds wondering how safe the food is if it took them 3 minutes to cook it, take a first bite and think to yourself "okay, this is reasonably delicious", take 5 more bites and feel the sauce attacking your digestive system, take one more bite before throwing your chopsticks down as your mouth can no longer handle the taste of sodium, scramble to your car, get stopped by every red light on Erwin Road on an epic race back to your house and finally spend the next hour after the meal clutching your stomach as you lay in your bed doubled-over in pain, telling yourself you will never go to Chai's again. But you do...

2
★★☆☆☆

The typical dining experience at Chai's Noodle Bar goes something like this: wait 23 minutes in line to order, wait 3 minutes for your food to come out, spend 3 seconds wondering how safe the food is if it took them 3 minutes to cook it, take a first bite and think to yourself "okay, this is reasonably delicious", take 5 more bites and feel the sauce attacking your digestive system, take one more bite before throwing your chopsticks down as your mouth can no longer handle the taste of sodium, scramble to your car, get stopped by every red light on Erwin Road on an epic race back to your house and finally spend the next hour after the meal clutching your stomach as you lay in your bed doubled-over in pain, telling yourself you will never go to Chai's again. But you do...

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Ok, so the food I like; it's one of the better asian eateries in the area. My favorite is the Yellow Curry Chicken, and the noodles aren't bad either.
However, I hate how they automatically charge your credit card tip. Seriously, if you go there to pick up, or order to go, AND you put "ZERO" in the tip lane, why are you charged a serving fee? At least mention that before to customers so that they don't unsuspectingly check their bank statements to find several Chai's payments that are $5 more than what they swiped for at the restaurant.
Neat and easy going atmosphere; not in the best part of the town, but then again, that could be said about most of Durham.
Come here if you really crave Thai food, but bring cash (to tip at your OWN liberty or in case you get jumped walking out of the place).

1
★★★☆☆

Ok, so the food I like; it's one of the better asian eateries in the area. My favorite is the Yellow Curry Chicken, and the noodles aren't bad either.
However, I hate how they automatically charge your credit card tip. Seriously, if you go there to pick up, or order to go, AND you put "ZERO" in the tip lane, why are you charged a serving fee? At least mention that before to customers so that they don't unsuspectingly check their bank statements to find several Chai's payments that are $5 more than what they swiped for at the restaurant.
Neat and easy going atmosphere; not in the best part of the town, but then again, that could be said about most of Durham.
Come here if you really crave Thai food, but bring cash (to tip at your OWN liberty or in case you get jumped walking out of the place).

Pros: Good asian cuisine of east/southeast asian nature

Cons: unsuspected tip charges...don't go late at night

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I actually think it's not that bad, but I like noodles, so I'm probably biased.

I had 2 dishes. Noodles with chicken, and the other was the same dish with tofu.

While I'm not a vegetarian I'm pretty familiar about tofu, having grown up in Japan. I know when the texture is off, or if I'm being served some dry and over-fried firm tofu when I eat it. Because of this I sympathize with vegetarians in NC, because y'all are often stuck with substituting meat with tofu, and tofu in NC restaurants aren't very good.

They must all come from the same crappy firm tofu factory with overcooked skin. The fact is, tofu doesn't taste as good as animal-based protein sources, but it does not have to taste this mediocre. There're better tofus out there. Maybe some day restaurants will make their own tofu, or find a better supplier. That, and someone, someday, need to prepare meals with tofu in mind, rather than simply throwing tofu as a substitute.

Anyway, I thought the food was ok. I like the presentation, the description, even the taste. I'm not a picky eater. But everything they do left me thinking that a real chef would make the same dish better. I like their ideas, and their sales pitch, but they fail in execution.

I like the price, though. $7 or $8. Can't beat that.

1
★★★☆☆

I actually think it's not that bad, but I like noodles, so I'm probably biased.

I had 2 dishes. Noodles with chicken, and the other was the same dish with tofu.

While I'm not a vegetarian I'm pretty familiar about tofu, having grown up in Japan. I know when the texture is off, or if I'm being served some dry and over-fried firm tofu when I eat it. Because of this I sympathize with vegetarians in NC, because y'all are often stuck with substituting meat with tofu, and tofu in NC restaurants aren't very good.

They must all come from the same crappy firm tofu factory with overcooked skin. The fact is, tofu doesn't taste as good as animal-based protein sources, but it does not have to taste this mediocre. There're better tofus out there. Maybe some day restaurants will make their own tofu, or find a better supplier. That, and someone, someday, need to prepare meals with tofu in mind, rather than simply throwing tofu as a substitute.

Anyway, I thought the food was ok. I like the presentation, the description, even the taste. I'm not a picky eater. But everything they do left me thinking that a real chef would make the same dish better. I like their ideas, and their sales pitch, but they fail in execution.

I like the price, though. $7 or $8. Can't beat that.

Pros: Price. Nice location.

Cons: Food.

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the noodles dishes are very good. they are genuine stir-fry; you choose the noodle then the meat, etc.

you get a lot of food for the price. the staff is very helpful and will help you through the menu because it is not very easy!

lots of different choices make this place great

3
★★★☆☆

the noodles dishes are very good. they are genuine stir-fry; you choose the noodle then the meat, etc.

you get a lot of food for the price. the staff is very helpful and will help you through the menu because it is not very easy!

lots of different choices make this place great

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Chai's specializes in Asian noodles. They have stir fry dishes, soups that come in huge bowls, very hearty salads, and rice dishes. The food is very good and they also offer a Duke discount with id. Only downside is they get extemely busy at lunch where it's no uncommon for the line to be out the door yet they always just have one person taking orders instead of two. If you only have 30 mins for lunch Chai's is not the place to go to.

4
★★★★☆

Chai's specializes in Asian noodles. They have stir fry dishes, soups that come in huge bowls, very hearty salads, and rice dishes. The food is very good and they also offer a Duke discount with id. Only downside is they get extemely busy at lunch where it's no uncommon for the line to be out the door yet they always just have one person taking orders instead of two. If you only have 30 mins for lunch Chai's is not the place to go to.

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Chai's is an easy to get to little noodle shop right near Duke. They have a range of "Asian" foods, but it behooves one to adjust their thinking before going there. It's not a Chinese restaurant. It's not a Thai restaurant. It's not a different type of Asian restaurant. Although, it does serve it's own version different Asian foods, they are likely to not be just as you remember it from your favorite Asian restaurant. Their Red Curry is good, but not like it would be prepared in an exclusively Thai restaurant. They have a good number of options and each is good in its' own right - just be sure to readjust your thinking before walking in.

1
★★★☆☆

Chai's is an easy to get to little noodle shop right near Duke. They have a range of "Asian" foods, but it behooves one to adjust their thinking before going there. It's not a Chinese restaurant. It's not a Thai restaurant. It's not a different type of Asian restaurant. Although, it does serve it's own version different Asian foods, they are likely to not be just as you remember it from your favorite Asian restaurant. Their Red Curry is good, but not like it would be prepared in an exclusively Thai restaurant. They have a good number of options and each is good in its' own right - just be sure to readjust your thinking before walking in.

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A general rule of Asian cuisine is the number of countries represented in the menu is inversely proportional to the quality of the food. Chai's breaks the rule if you have the right mind set. For example I really like PF Changs, but I have to remind myself that it isn't Chinese food. Whatever you order, remind yourself the the Phad Thai is not really Thai. Once you clear that hurdle you will get a very large plate of noodles for a fairly reasonable price that is really tasty. I didn't say Authentic I said tasty. This kind of place tends to offend Asian food purists, but I left satisfied. The Salad rolls are a little spendy for what you end up getting.

2
★★★★☆

A general rule of Asian cuisine is the number of countries represented in the menu is inversely proportional to the quality of the food. Chai's breaks the rule if you have the right mind set. For example I really like PF Changs, but I have to remind myself that it isn't Chinese food. Whatever you order, remind yourself the the Phad Thai is not really Thai. Once you clear that hurdle you will get a very large plate of noodles for a fairly reasonable price that is really tasty. I didn't say Authentic I said tasty. This kind of place tends to offend Asian food purists, but I left satisfied. The Salad rolls are a little spendy for what you end up getting.

Pros: Good Food, nice outdoor seating, big plates, diverse menu

Cons: Some items are pricier than they should be.

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Pretty average lunch spot. They have a larger menu that ranges all over the place which is great. I have had a on or off experience here. The curry dishes are great. Noodle dishes...not so much. Price range hovers around $8. Can get a better lunch for cheaper...but if you are craving this sort of food, it will certainly do the trick. All in all, not bad.

1
★★★☆☆

Pretty average lunch spot. They have a larger menu that ranges all over the place which is great. I have had a on or off experience here. The curry dishes are great. Noodle dishes...not so much. Price range hovers around $8. Can get a better lunch for cheaper...but if you are craving this sort of food, it will certainly do the trick. All in all, not bad.

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I have gone to Chai's many times since it opened, due to it's excellent location and consistently good food. I have never been disappointed with the service or dishes. It typically takes 5 minutes to get your food, no more than 10 if it's busy. Their tofu is really good and they will alter the spiciness of the dishes if you request it. Personal favorites include the singapore noodles, red curry, and chinese noodles.

2
★★★★☆

I have gone to Chai's many times since it opened, due to it's excellent location and consistently good food. I have never been disappointed with the service or dishes. It typically takes 5 minutes to get your food, no more than 10 if it's busy. Their tofu is really good and they will alter the spiciness of the dishes if you request it. Personal favorites include the singapore noodles, red curry, and chinese noodles.

Pros: Food, Quick service, Clean

Cons: Almost always have leftovers

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To put it quite simply if not already said in title - the food is absolutely delicious. There's really no question as to whether the food is great or not - just ask the thousands of students and hospital employees that pack the place. As long as one keeps an open mind about the dining experience - and the fact that the food is a mix of authentic and FUSION food - one cannot be disappointed. The owner/chef Jimmy Chhay has never failed to put his creativity, experience and authentic touches on all of the dishes at chai's. If your simply looking for great food - and you have an open mind - chai's is the place for you.

2
★★★★★

To put it quite simply if not already said in title - the food is absolutely delicious. There's really no question as to whether the food is great or not - just ask the thousands of students and hospital employees that pack the place. As long as one keeps an open mind about the dining experience - and the fact that the food is a mix of authentic and FUSION food - one cannot be disappointed. The owner/chef Jimmy Chhay has never failed to put his creativity, experience and authentic touches on all of the dishes at chai's. If your simply looking for great food - and you have an open mind - chai's is the place for you.

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My food was fantastic each time I have been there. Even if the food was average or not to my liking I doubt I would confront a manager. It's not shocking that would be fruitless and futile. At any rate, it's a lovely place and has some of the better fusion food in the area. I would send anyone there for an excellent meal.

2
★★★★★

My food was fantastic each time I have been there. Even if the food was average or not to my liking I doubt I would confront a manager. It's not shocking that would be fruitless and futile. At any rate, it's a lovely place and has some of the better fusion food in the area. I would send anyone there for an excellent meal.

Pros: great food, friendly staff

Cons: busy, busy, busy, exceptionally popular

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Like other reviewers, I gave chai's a couple of chances before I vowed to never return. The first time I ordered the pho, and it was basically clear broth with noodles-- NOT how it is supposed to be. When I confronted the manager about it, he simply told me that that is how they believe it should be made. . . ok. The second time I ordered the pad thai. Again, very disapointing. Its hard to really really mess up a classic like pad thai-- but theirs was too sweet and too salty (if thats possible) and the sauce was not a traditional spicy peanut sauce. I won't return. There are many worthwhile asian restuaraunts in the area, this is not one of them.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Like other reviewers, I gave chai's a couple of chances before I vowed to never return. The first time I ordered the pho, and it was basically clear broth with noodles-- NOT how it is supposed to be. When I confronted the manager about it, he simply told me that that is how they believe it should be made. . . ok. The second time I ordered the pad thai. Again, very disapointing. Its hard to really really mess up a classic like pad thai-- but theirs was too sweet and too salty (if thats possible) and the sauce was not a traditional spicy peanut sauce. I won't return. There are many worthwhile asian restuaraunts in the area, this is not one of them.

Pros: good location, fast service, inexpensive

Cons: terrible food

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I thouroughly enjoyed myself the food was excellent and the bubble tea is addictive

2
★★★★☆

I thouroughly enjoyed myself the food was excellent and the bubble tea is addictive

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I've been to Chai's three times, and can honestly say that I will not return. I ordered different dishes each time, hoping for something better, and I was disappointed every time. For some odd reason, they make the dishes very salty and the ingredients are all wrong!! The last dish I tried was Pho (how can you do Pho wrong??) and they managed to completely distroy the taste with too much anise. I don't recommend this place, if your purpose is to actually eat something good there!!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I've been to Chai's three times, and can honestly say that I will not return. I ordered different dishes each time, hoping for something better, and I was disappointed every time. For some odd reason, they make the dishes very salty and the ingredients are all wrong!! The last dish I tried was Pho (how can you do Pho wrong??) and they managed to completely distroy the taste with too much anise. I don't recommend this place, if your purpose is to actually eat something good there!!

.

We tried this noodle bar a couple of days ago and were quite impressed.
Service was friendly and fast, and the food was very very good.
We ordered coconut bubble tea for dessert and I have to say it's the best I've had in the area.
Can't wait to go back for more.

2
★★★★★

We tried this noodle bar a couple of days ago and were quite impressed.
Service was friendly and fast, and the food was very very good.
We ordered coconut bubble tea for dessert and I have to say it's the best I've had in the area.
Can't wait to go back for more.

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My boyfriend and I visited Chai's Saturday night and really enjoyed it. I had the Stir Fried Vegetable Rice Bowl with chicken added, and it was very good, and I expecially liked the Chicken Walnut Roll--yummy!

2
★★★★☆

My boyfriend and I visited Chai's Saturday night and really enjoyed it. I had the Stir Fried Vegetable Rice Bowl with chicken added, and it was very good, and I expecially liked the Chicken Walnut Roll--yummy!

 

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