Excellent Chongqing Chicken, Noodles and Dumplings Arrive at Best Noodle House! [Review]


#1

Thanks to everyone’s favorite smiling blue-faced avatar (@ipsedixit), we learned about Best Noodle House, a Chongqing cuisine specialist in one of the more underdeveloped areas along Valley Boulevard.

While the English name sounds like one of the most generic names possible, the food is thankfully not.

The owners & chef are from Chongqing, China (or “Chungking”), and the flavors are similar to the neighboring Szechuan province.

Cucumber Salad:

The English translations are rather interesting. This is the commonly found Cucumbers marinated / mixed with Garlic and Sesame Oil. And it is excellent. Crisp Cucumbers, softened slightly in the light marinade / pickling, fragrant with Garlic and Sesame Oil. :slight_smile:

Noodle Soup with Bawan Pea and Mixed Sauce:

This is one of the few, non-spicy Noodle dishes on the menu. It’s the chef’s take on “Zha Jiang Mian” Chongqing-style. It’s got a subtly sweet back note to mellow out the salted Ground Pork mixture. The Bawan Peas (like the “Bawan Beans” at MIAN) add an interesting, earthy element. The Noodles are on the softer side.

Mapo Tofu:

Besides their Noodles, they serve a variety of “House Specials,” and we started with the Szechuan favorite, Mapo Tofu. The first bite gives off this subtle aroma, beyond just Chilies / Chili Oil, and the flavors are spicy, but not life-threatening, molten lava like, say, Jitlada Level 4+. :wink: This Mapo Tofu is quite tasty. :slight_smile:

Boiled Fish Fillet with Hot Sauce (“Water Boiled Fish”):

Another Szechuan classic, Best Noodle’s version, by way of their Chongqing background, has some slight numbing qualities from the Szechuan Peppercorns, but it’s less intense than some of the more hardcore versions like at Spicy City. It was pretty good, and we liked that this version didn’t leave a hole in our stomach, LOL, being spicy but not overwhelming. :slight_smile:

Stir Fried Vegetables (“A Vegetable”):

For this visit, they had the choice of the oddly-named “A Vegetable” (or Broccoli) for saute. We went with “A Vegetable,” and the quick saute with Garlic was spot-on. Softened, fragrant, and a nice reprieve from the wave of chilies and heat from the other dishes. :wink:

Gele Mountain Style Fried Chicken Cubes:

This is Best Noodle’s version of another Szechuan favorite, and it was fantastic! :slight_smile: Whereas many versions of Szechuan Spicy Chicken is either too greasy, too soft (no crispiness), tasting like leftovers, etc., Best Noodle’s Gele Mountain Style Fried Chicken Cubes might be some of the best we’ve had in a long time.

Slightly crispy, wonderfully fragrant from the wok-saute of the Dried Chilies and Szechuan Peppercorns, it had a great balance of spicy heat, numbing, slightly crisped Chicken, while not tasting greasy. This was so delicious! :blush: They were definitely better than Meizhou Dongpo’s version, and we liked it more than Spicy City’s.

Noodle Soup with Chicken Giblets and Pickled Pepper:

This one sounded really interesting and distinct from the usual Noodle offerings, and the waitress said this was a specialty of theirs. If you like Chicken Gizzards, Chicken Hearts and other Offal, this is a must order! There’s a satisfying meaty, lightly chewy (in a good way) textural contrast with the Chicken Offal, and you get this piquant contrast from the Pickled Peppers (which also add some heat), all in this fragrant Spicy Chicken Broth. It tasted like nothing we’ve had before, and it was delicious! :slight_smile:

On another visit, we started with…

Kung Pao Chicken:

This is something we haven’t ordered in years, but the waitress said this was worth ordering. It was indeed a fantastic version of Kung Pao Chicken for all of you KPC fans out there. There’s some excellent wok-skills, juicy, tender morsels of dark-meat Chicken, Onions, Bell Peppers and Peanuts. There’s a nice balance of sweet & salty (mostly on the salt-side of the spectrum, with a nice sauce).

Lamb Giblets Noodle Soup:

Having really enjoyed the Chicken Giblets Noodles, we thought the Lamb version might be similarly great, but sadly, this was one the misstep we’ve run into so far: It’s a very lightly seasoned soup, maybe on the blander side (but not bad), and you get massive chunks of Lamb Offal, except in our serving it was about 60 - 70% Lamb Liver, which is great if you love Lamb Liver, but we were hoping for more interesting bits as well. The pieces of the Stewed Lamb Stomach and Lamb Tendon we found were wonderful, but there was just 1 or 2 bites of it. :frowning:

On another visit:

Seaweed Salad:

Excellent. Refreshing, garlicky. A great way to start a meal. :slight_smile:

Pig Ear with Chili Oil:

OK, Pig Ears in Chili Oil are found in many Chinese restaurants around the San Gabriel Valley. We don’t visit often, but we’ve seen it enough to realize it’s probably everywhere by now. However, Best Noodle’s version, with their Housemade Chili Oil Marinade is fantastic! :blush: It’s at once lighter, yet more aromatic, and the Pig Ears have that soft but also nice crunch from the Cartilage. These are some of the best Chili Oil Pig Ears I’ve ever had! :slight_smile:

Wonton with Spicy Sauce (“Chaoshou”):

Best Noodle makes all of their Dumplings in-house, from scratch. Their “Chaoshou” Wontons are their specialty. Their Wonton with Spicy Sauce blows away the version at Chengdu Taste and Szechuan Impressions:

It starts with the supple, but nice, toothsome Wonton skins. The Pork filling is good, but it’s their house blend of spices that makes it stand out. It hits you immediately on the first bite: There’s definitely some spicy heat, but nothing too insane, but then you get this nice deep flavor, and then the numbing hits you. If you thought Chengdu Taste’s Numbing Wontons were crazy, Best Noodle House’s is even better. I couldn’t feel my mouth for a while after eating these, but they were so good! :heart:

Chungking Dan Dan Noodle:

And then we get to their Dan Dan Noodles. While they don’t make their own Noodles in-house (except for 1 dish (below)), when you mix their ingredients together and take a bite…

It’s stunningly good! Slightly nutty, but not overwhelmingly nutty like many Dan Dan Noodles. It’s got heat, but not just a flat heat, as this Chongqing-style gives you layer after layer of subtle Chilies and nuance. They add in a “Chongqing Vegetable” (the waitress told our Chinese-speaking friend that’s not available here usually, and really hard to find), that adds more depth of flavor.

In terms of layers of flavors, this is easily the best Dan Dan Noodles I’ve ever had! :heart: Thank you @ipsedixit. :slight_smile:

If they made their own Noodles, this would be the Dan Dan Noodles to beat, but even without great Handmade Noodles, based on flavors alone, it is amazing! :slight_smile:

Complimentary Chicken Broth:

They were handing out free bowls of Housemade Chicken Broth to every table. Light, delicate, just salted enough. Excellent.

Chungking Noodles:

While these look like the Chungking Dan Dan Noodles, the simply named “Chungking Noodles” are supposedly even more popular than their Dan Dan Noodles according to the waitress. There are some similarities, but the Chungking Noodles tend to the piquant side of the spectrum. They add in some Chinese Pickled Vegetables, more intense Chili blend, and the Marinated Ground Pork as well. So it’s salty, a touch of sour, spicy, and it comes with a Tea Egg (which was hard boiled, overcooked, but well-marinated).

Everyone liked the Chungking Dan Dan Noodles more, but these were pretty good. :slight_smile:

Youpo Noodles:

Best Noodles only makes 1 Noodle In-House by hand, and it’s for their Youpo Noodles. These are rough, massive Noodles, with excellent chew. It looks a little plain at first, but make sure you mix everything together really well, and dig deep to mix in the fresh-crushed Garlic, Green Onions, Chili Oil Vegetable Broth and spices at the bottom.

Taking a bite, it’s delicate, slightly tart, aromatic, intensely garlicky, and absolutely delicious! :heart: It tastes like none of the other Noodles on the menu (and we haven’t tasted anything like it on other menus around town). We’d order this again for sure! :blush:

(Oh, and by the way, it’s Vegan(!). :open_mouth: @MaladyNelson)

Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce (Chongqing “Mouth Water Chicken”):

We were already happy with so many great dishes, but then we ordered their humorously named Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce, which our Chinese-speaking friend said was written as “Chongqing Mouth Water Chicken” in Chinese).

It looked scary, like the dark, inferno hellfire of the spiciest Szechuan dishes. And you take a bite, which yields this glorious morsel of tender, Steamed Chicken with THE MOST AMAZING HOT SAUCE we’ve had for Mouth Water Chicken! It’s spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s a little nutty and sweet, and it’s so addictive!

@Dommy and others that like Orleans & York’s Hot Sauce. Best Noodle House’s Cold Steamed Chicken’s Hot Sauce is like that, except 10 times more addictive! :smile: I don’t know how many different Peppercorns, Chilies and Spices are added in, but the combination is amazing!

Thanks again @ipsedixit! :slight_smile:

To make sure if the Chungking Dan Dan Noodles were really that good, we returned for a 4th visit:

Fantastic! :slight_smile:

Still as nutty, spicy, nuanced as before. The Noodles are a bit too soft (for all their dishes, except the amazing Youpo Noodles (with Handmade Noodles)), but the flavors in this Dan Dan Noodle dish are just that good.

Best Noodle House is Cash Only, but their menu prices are fair, ranging from $1.95 - $10.95 for the most expensive dishes, with their Noodles & Dumplings ranging from $5.95 - $9.95.

Best Noodle House may not have Handmade Noodles (except for their Youpo Noodles), but the flavors in their Chungking Dan Dan Noodles, Noodle Soup with Chicken Giblets and Pickled Peppers, and Chungking Noodles are outstanding, and we thought this was far more enjoyable than the overhyped MIAN (by Chengdu Taste).

You add in their amazing Handmade Noodles in the Youpo Noodles, which has such an interesting subtlety of flavors unlike anything we’ve had before, and their fantastic, numbing Wontons with Spicy Sauce, and you have a must-visit restaurant.

But then you marvel at their amazing Pig Ears in Chili Oil ($2.95!), and the stunning Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce (Chongqing Mouth Water Chicken), and dishes like their Gele Mountain Style Fried Chicken Cubes and it seems like this is a mom & pop restaurant absolutely worth trying.

(Cash Only)

Best Noodle House
9329 Valley Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 782-7432

Update 2:

We were craving Best Noodle House again, so it was time for another visit. :slight_smile: (7th and 8th visits.)

New menu items have appeared! :slight_smile:

We started with some old favorites and some dishes we hadn’t tried before.

Cucumber Salad:

Still a nice balance of Garlic, Sesame Oil and fresh Cucumbers. Crisp, yet softened enough from the quick pickling. Refreshing. :slight_smile:

Quick Fried Cabbage:

LOL, their English translated menu names need to be spiced up I think, as “Quick Fried Cabbage” sounds a bit too simple / boring perhaps? :sweat_smile: Either way, this was a pleasant surprise: When our veteran posters talked about “Wok Hei” on our old board, I think they meant this. Utilizing super high heat, Cabbage is wok-fried and quickly softened and completely cooked through. There’s this fantastic, pure taste that is simply delicious! :slight_smile: The addition of Garlic and Chili Peppers gives it a nice fragrant and lightly spicy edge.

Fish with Spicy Sauce:

Another rather simply-named dish in English, our friend who speaks Mandarin says the more ideal translation is “Fragrant Spicy Fish,” but either way, this was an interesting item we hadn’t tried before. Grey Sole Fillet are battered and deep-fried, and then they wok-fry the Fried Grey Sole Fillet pieces, with Chinese Celery and Dried Red Chilies.

The flavors are interesting, it’s more of an immediate heat that hits you, and the Celery and Dried Chilies give it a nice aromatic aspect. The downside is that the Deep Fried Grey Sole pieces lose their crispiness being wok-fried with the other ingredients, so it felt a bit soft in parts.

Fish Fillet with Szechuan Pepper:

I think it was @paranoidgarliclover who might’ve been asking about the other type of “Water Boiled Fish” (the non-red inferno version ;)), and we like the one from Szechuan Impression, but it turns out Best Noodle House makes a version as well. :slight_smile:

They use Grey Sole Fillet for this dish as well, lightly cooked through, still tender, and bathed in this surprisingly light broth. The Szechuan Peppercorns are in full effect here, giving you a numbing “spicy” feeling in each bite and sip, while the fresh Jalapeno Chilies add a more common type of heat. This was quite good! :slight_smile:

Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce (Chongqing “Mouth Water Chicken”):

It had been too long! One of our favorites, it didn’t let us down: The Sauce on this Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce is as beguiling, enticing and stunning as ever! It’s not as insanely hot as it looks (that deep, crimson, inferno hell red color is startling, but thankfully it’s nowhere near as hot as it looks :sweat_smile:).

There’s a real layering of multiple types of spices, some mashed Peanuts give it a nuttiness, the Green Onions, there’s even a subtle tinge of sweetness to round out the flavors. Thanks again @ipsedixit, it is indeed the best Mouth Water Chicken we’ve ever had! :blush:

Seaweed Salad:

On another visit, we started with their Seaweed Salad, served chilled and with just enough Garlic and a bit of heat from the Dried Red Chilies.

(New) Fire Noodle:

The first of the new items added on the menu, it’s actually only posted on the wall for now (until they print new menus). According to the owner (translated from our friend who speaks Mandarin), this is a popular dish in Szechuan right now, and they’ve made their version and brought it to the States. :slight_smile:

The name worried me - Fire Noodle - but thankfully this wasn’t that spicy. It’s a Non-Soup Noodle dish, so it’s Dry Noodles (still moist of course), with Marinated Ground Pork, Green Onions, Peanuts and a special Spice Mixture that is different from their Dan Dan Noodles and their Chungking Noodles.

Make sure to mix it well:

The result is a medium-spicy Noodle dish that’s almost like a Dan Dan Noodle, but less complex. It’s pretty good, and is more meaty, direct spicy with a slight burn than the Chungking or Dan Dan Noodles. We like their Dan Dan Noodles more though (that’s hard to beat!). :slight_smile:

Wonton with Spicy Sauce (“Chaoshou”):

Their Wontons in Spicy Sauce are another one of our favorites and they were fantastic again! :blush: The Handmade Wontons are soft, filled with a Marinated Ground Pork mixture, but it’s the amazing numbing Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce that makes this shine! Different from the Mouth Water Chicken, and different from their Dan Dan Noodles (and Water Boiled Fish), it’s pretty amazing that Best Noodle House can establish and maintain so many distinct, standout spicy flavor profiles. They are all unique.

This was even better than Szechuan Impressions’ version. A must order! :heart:

(New) Chicken Soup Rice with Peas:

Yet another rather simple-sounding English-translated name, but the owner said that this is the other really popular dish in Szechuan right now. She said families, young people, older people order this dish because it’s not spicy, but also for it’s light, pure flavors. She described multiple eateries where they serve this and around 20+ small dishes (pickles, pig ears, tripe, etc.) and people just eat a bit of those small plates and enjoy this Rice Soup as the base.

Taking a sip… WOW! It’s a really delicious Housemade Chicken Broth, really crave-worthy in its poultry flavors. It’s deeply Chicken-y, and the Bawan Peas add a slight thickening to the Broth, making it almost like a light Stew. :slight_smile:

But then there’s the Rice and Broth together. It’s really like a “Szechuan Congee” but thinner. There are bits of fresh Poached Chicken, and it’s just so warming and satisfying :blush: (plus it’s a rare non-spicy dish in a restaurant with most of their items being spicy).

We’d order this again for sure.

There are so many interesting, standout dishes at Best Noodle House, from the Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce (Mouth Water Chicken), to the outstanding Dan Dan Noodles, and Wontons with Spicy Sauce, Gele Mountain Style Fried Chicken Cubes and of course their Youpo Noodles! :slight_smile:

Add to that a new favorite, their Chicken Soup Rice with Peas, and we can’t wait to go back to this friendly, hole-in-the-wall Chongqing specialist.

(Cash Only)

Best Noodle House
9329 Valley Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 782-7432

Update 3:
A visit to Chong Qing Special Noodles (where the original chef left to), vs. Best Noodle House revisit, with the original chef’s mentor / teacher cooking in the kitchen now. Pics down below, or linked here.


All Style, No Substance - The Chinese Tasting Menu of Chengdu Impression [w/ Pics]
A Hainan Chicken Rice Journey - Savoy, Mee & Greet, Cluck2Go, Side Chick, Green Zone, Tasty Food, Auntie Ping [Thoughts + Pics]
Savory (with Touch of Sweet) Noodles with Soybean Sauce - A Zha Jiang Mian Journey [Thoughts + Pics]
Chinese Lunch/brunch in sgv
#2

Did I read that right?

Four visits in (what?) a span of three weeks?

I genuflect, for I am truly not worthy.


#3

Hi @ipsedixit,

Yah. It was absolutely worth the drive and traffic. :slight_smile:

Thank you again for the great recommendation! Just a down-to-earth, mom & pop restaurant with great food.


#4

By the way, I don’t think I’ve seen that Mouth Water Chicken anywhere else in LA.

(And by the way, you’re much more literarily kind than most, as many would just translate it to “Saliva Chicken” and call it a day.)


#5

from reading your review, i gather you communicated with the servers quite a bit.
for us non chinese speakers, did that go easily? did the menu translations to english (if there were any) help u?

just looking for the user interface level for this english speaking dum dum.

many thanks.


#6

Hi @ipsedixit,

Thanks. :slight_smile: Yah I was asking our friend who could read and speak Chinese and was laughing at the literal description. :smile:

Does anyone know why it’s called that in Chinese? Is it because it’s supposed to be so tasty that it makes you salivate? :wink:


#7

Hi @linus,

We didn’t have issues since the menu is in English (and Chinese). So on a couple visits with just ourselves, I could order in English.

Getting some of the answers (I wrote about earlier) and asking follow-up questions, we had a friend who could speak Chinese and ask for us. :wink:

Thanks!


#8

Mapo tofu looks a little watery. Other dishes look great, though, kung pao in particular. Will have to give this place a try.


#9

Hi @Bigmouth,

Yah, their Mapo Tofu was fine, but we liked Spicy City’s better. It wasn’t “watery” in the sense of being diluted water or anything (it was fiery enough), but it wasn’t as interesting as Spicy City’s, and Meizhou’s had a nice bit of Black Bean undertone to theirs.

Definitely let us know what you think of the place if you go. :slight_smile:


#10

Saliva chicken ( 口水雞 ) was described by the early 20th-Century Sinologist Guo Mouro (who himself is from Sichuan) as a dish combining numbing spiciness with coolness and tenderness to the point where the mouth is briefly paralyzed, thus inducing involuntary drooling by the eater.


#11

Can you order and of this stuff to go?


#12

The only things I’d order to go would be appetizers like their Pig Ears in Chili Oil, Cucumbers & Garlic, Seaweed Salad.

I think their delicious Cold Steamed Chicken in Hot Sauce (“Chongqing Mouth Water Chicken”) would travel well also.

But the rest of the stuff would be bad (noodles getting mushy / stuck together; crispy chicken getting soft from being steamed in its own to-go box, etc.).


#13

Those were sort of the dishes I was thinking of anyway, although the dan dan noodles would be interesting you’re probably right. What about the Kung Pao chicken?


#14

I really enjoyed my visit here, and I liked my Wonton with Spicy Sauce and Black Fungus with Chili so much I got the Chongqing Dan Dan Noodle to go. It traveled well enough for 25-30 minutes, though obviously the noodles themselves were stuck together until a bit of required separation and mixing occurred. You could get it to-go, but obviously it would be better to eat-in.


#15

Maybe I’ll just wait on it. Just have a runny nose/sore throat things and imagining havinf some stuff delivered. I would rather like my throat/mouth numbed at the moment hah

Typically, I would just eat in.

Good to know though. Settled for local Thai today, but maybe try them out tomorrow.


#16

Mr. Mouro could not be more wrong.

The dish got, or gets, its name because the dish is made with the cook’s saliva. Those with xerostomia need not apply at Best Noodle House, obviously.


#17

! :open_mouth: :scream: :stuck_out_tongue:


#18

In other words, every time a customer asks the waiter to bring the chicken back to the kitchen because of improper preparation, what gets brought back out is 口水雞 …


#19

Great to hear @strongoxman. Glad you liked your visit. Maybe give their Cold Steamed Chicken with Hot Sauce a try. A bit of that sauce over Steamed Rice is so good! :slight_smile:


#20

FIFY.