In Search of Chinese Beef Noodle Soup - Bull Demon King, Dai Ho, Popcorn Chicken and Corner Beef Noodle House!


Since there seems to be pretty strong opinions against Mian, was wondering where everyone likes to get zha jiang mian and red oil dumplings?

Would try to like to give some new spots a try next time when I’m in SGV. Thanks!


Hi @hungryhungryhippos,

Like you, I’m looking for suggestions on zha jiang mian. :slight_smile:

For red oil dumplings (Szechuan style), we’ve enjoyed the ones from Szechuan Impressions, but really like the ones from Best Noodle House (to be fair these are more numbing than spicy, but so good!). Both have some great texture and nice taste.


TonyC endorsed Shi Hai? Where? I must have missed that. I don’t recall him saying much good about it. JGold gave it a mixed review, which told more by what he didn’t say than what he did (which is a good way to tell). Alan Richman raved about it in GQ and was raked over the coals for it.

I was told World Seafood was same owner and same chef(s) as Shi Hai, just a different name and approach.


Well, one strong opinion that was seconded :wink: You’ll find some pretty strong supporters of Mian too, but I guess they either are no longer here or haven’t noticed this thread.

I always loved the Zhong’s Dumplings at Shu Feng Yuan, which was one of the (b) est Sichuan (and Chengdu-style) places prior to the Chengdu Taste juggernaut. Caveat that I haven’t been there for a while (then again many here recommend places that have long since changed, so…)

Zha jiang mian. Ever try the Beijing places? Beijing Tasty House and Beijing Restaurant.


Thanks @beefnoguy for the great thoughts. :slight_smile: I remember liking Dai Ho’s dry noodles as well (stuff like dan dan mian), and the simmered items were tasty before as well.

From their latest deli case, they have a mixed simmered / marinated offering but it’s like $18(!), but the portions seemed to be enough for 3 people or so. The other items were $6 and up. So I could see it adding up quickly.

Oh yah! On our very first trip there, I saw this old guy looking mean and gruff at everyone. That was probably the “soup nazi” people were talking about on our old board. :sweat_smile: We didn’t see him on this latest trip. Not sure if he’s still there or just a day off?

The beef noodle soup variety in Taiwan sounds amazing. I hope we can see more of those varieties show up in L.A. soon.


I for one have enjoyed Mian quite a bit on my 3 visits but always open try new places! Thanks for the recommendations!


So have I.

runs and hides


if i cared enough i’d look it up, but yeah, tonyc raved about shi hai (and subsequently admitted that he’d whiffed fairly spectacularly on that one). someone else, i want to say chandavkl, reported that wonder was basically still shi hai minus one investor.

i’ve already stated my position on jonathan gold a few times, he’ll typically find something to rave about that leads a reader to assume that that enthusiasm is directed at the food produced at the establishment being reviewed. often it’s not. IIRC his take on shi hai was that it was best to stick with the simpler things on the menu.

as for any other responses, i’ve chosen not to respond so they can think they got the last word - and stop there.


Yes, but don’t forget Shi Hai was the only Chinese restaurant on GQ’s listing of the top 25 restaurants in the United States for 2015.


Adored my first visit, thought the 2nd was adequate. But the folks on the board who dislike it have WAY more breadth of knowledge than do I (in terms of places that taste better), so who know? Not sure if Mian has quality control issues?


Really depends on how you like your zha jiang mian – and I’m talking just the Chinese iteration (not the Korean one).


Well if you could suggest some I would be glad to try them.


Need to know what type you like.


The tasty kind


I think @ipsedixit means Chinese or Korean. We had some suggestions previously Korean JJM, so I think Chinese zha jiang mian? :slight_smile: I know I’d like some suggestions. Thanks.


I’m still learning the types, géxià.


Just kindly throw out some of your faves chinese/korean/whatever you find tasty.

I generally like everything and will eat just about anything in the standard western/eastern spectrum of available foods in the US and other westernized/asian countries.


Actually I was talking only about the Chinese iterations.


To make things a bit simpler, let’s just focus on the two major types of Chinese zha jiang mian (or ZJM). There’s the traditional Mainland Chinese type (to include those iterations from Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, etc.), and then there’s the evolved Taiwanese iteration.

The major difference between Chinese and Taiwanese versions is the type of fermented bean sauce used. Chinese versions use soybean paste, and the Taiwanese versions generally use sweet black bean paste (oftentimes with a hefty dose of Hoisin sauce, although some Chinese iterations also use a Hoisin blend but it’s less common).

So with all that said, some good options for the Chinese iteration of ZJM, one might try LaoXi Noodle House, Malan Noodles (which may or may not be affiliated with the eponymous chain in China), and Tianjin Bistro.

For the Taiwanese kind, try Cindy’s Kitchen, Pine & Crane, Q Noodle House and maybe Flavor Garden (though haven’t tried it since the shakeup in the kitchen). Places like 101, Liang’s and Mama’s Lu are safe, if uninspiring, bets.

Probably a few other places worth mentioning, but perhaps some other time. And place.


Hi @ipsedixit,

Ooh! Thanks for the clarification. :slight_smile: I didn’t even think about Pine & Crane (although it’s been a year or so since I last went). Cool.

Bookmarking these places, thanks! :slight_smile: