Living in Beijing for 6 months definitely increased my love and respect for Chinese cuisine. Prior to living there, I only knew Cantonese cuisine. I didn’t know about the other regional cuisines and it was in Beijing where I learned them all, Yunnan, Sichuan, etc.
I definitely have an affinity for Northern Chinese food so I’ve definitely been missing it since moving back to Southeast Asia. Around here, it’s mostly Cantonese cuisine. There are 2 or 3 Northern Chinese restaurants but they’re out of the way and difficult to get to.
So when I landed in Arcadia (also known as ArcAsia for its’ high population of Asian residents), California where one of my best friends lives, I was definitely excited about eating regional Chinese cooking again. My friend is Chinese-American so she was definitely willing to take me to the best places and chow down with me with gusto.
I mentioned craving for dandan mian 担担面 so she took me to 101 Noodle Express. I was so excited.
This restaurant was definitely not like the restaurants I went to in Beijing. The restaurants I went to in Beijing were hole in the walls and not that clean and organized. This place was awesome because it was clean and airconditioned.
My friend ordered the dandan mian 担担面 for us. She ordered one but deep in my heart, I knew I could finish two even though it was huge. I didn’t order another one because I knew we had other delicious fare coming.
Here was my long-awaited dandan mian 担担面.
Can I tell everyone how PERFECT and AMAZING it was??????
It was just as I expected and tasted just as I imagined it would taste like. All the memories of my life in Beijing came back to me.
IT WAS PERFECT. I can still taste that dandan mian 担担面.
Then my friend got 鸡肉卷并 chicken rolls which was like a tortilla stuffed with chicken and vegetable. It was great! Nicely seasoned chicken with veg and the bing was perfectly toasted. It was quite heavy so we didn’t get to finish all of it.
Of course we got 饺子 jiaozi (handmade dumplings) and this was perfect as well. The skin was of the right consistency, not too thick, not too thin and not too starchy/heavy. The dumplings were steamed and the filling very flavorful.
And here’s my favorite spice again, made just the way I like it. It’s called 辣油 layou (chili oil) and made by pan-frying dried chili and peanut oil.
I must have put half of the container in my dumplings and was severely tempted to take the container with me and take it on the plane home.
I wish we had a restaurant like this here.
Best part was, whole meal cost us not more than $25.
You can find 101 Noodle Express at:
101 Noodle Express
1408 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
I’ll be going to the local equivalent called LSQ Chinese Home Cuisine near work. This place catered to our Spring Festival Demonstrations for Chinese Class at Confucius Institute at Ateneo. I was thrilled to see them because I Didn’t know such a place existed.
Will report about it in the coming weeks.