Our prediction? Good luck getting a seat at Angus An’s tiny and amazing Fat Mao.

Maenam 07A little story. A year ago Western Living won some $$$ at the National Magazine Awards and as is our tradition we use such windfalls to celebrate as a team. So when we’re spending our own money (we won it fair and square) where did we go? No deals, no calling ahead, no special treatment? Maenam, Angus An’s Kitsilano temple to all things Thai (and none of us live in Kits btw).My mind was on that amazing dinner as I sat down for a preview lunch at Chef An’s new spot—the tiny, noodle spot Fat Mao Noodles on East Georgia in Chinatown. It was everything I hoped it would be—unpretentious, great food, cool—and one thing I didn’t—amazingly affordable. I haven’t had a good tripe salad since forever, but Fat Mao’s version, all tender and savoury, made make me rethink tripe (only when Angus An is cooking it, but still). And it’s $7.99, the same price as An Mama Scallion Pancake, a carb-y dish that brought me back to that staple of the Edmonton Chinese restaurants of my youth, the Green Onion Cake (this version is a whole lot less greasy). The calling card is the handmade noodles (Dan Dan Noodles, Taiwanese Beef Noodles, Cold Sesame Noodles, Changmai Curry Noodles and Braised Duck Noodle are on offer) and at least for now they’ll close up shop when they run out for the day, which I fear will be considerably before the dinner hour is over.The room is small and spartan, but in a pleasant enough way and it opens for lunch and dinner starting next Wednesday (the liquor licence will likely arrive a little later). Seriously, I fear it will be near impossible to get a seat here for the foreseeable future once the word gets out about this affordable treasure—so plan accordingly.