Based on its drabby exterior and run-down banner, Lanzhou Noodle House, located in Walnut, did not seem too promising. However, by the end of my meal, it had become one of my go-to places, due to its nicely decorated interior and flavorful food.
With wooden tables and greenery adorning the room, the restaurant had a rustic and laid-back atmosphere. The walls featured pictures of the beverages and food, such as a cup of coffee and assortments of colorful vegetables, which added a touch of vibrancy to an otherwise plain interior.
I ordered the stir-fry noodles with shredded chicken ($10.99), my brother ordered lamb dumplings ($11.95) and my mom ordered the stir-fry noodles with shrimp ($10.99), as well as egg fried rice ($9.99). Since we were one of the few people at the restaurant, our food arrived quickly.
I took one bite of the stir-fry noodles and instantly knew I would be returning to Lanzhou Noodle House. The time and effort the cook spent kneading out the dough was fruitful because the noodles were fresher, springier than the pre-prepared counterparts. The peanut oil did not overpower the dish, allowing the al dente noodles to blend nicely with the crunch of the onions and shredded carrots. Both the chicken and vegetables had a pleasant savory flavor, though they each carried a different texture that brought variety to the dish. The same can be said with the shrimp, which was tender and not overwhelmingly fishy.
Unfortunately, after eating the noodles I was a bit underwhelmed when trying the egg fried rice. While I was relieved to find that the rice was not spongy, the egg was the only component of the dish that incorporated a tiny bit of flavor into the dish, but considering how small pieces of eggs do not carry much of a distinct flavor on their own, the rice was dull and not umami.
We took the lamb dumplings to go, and they still tasted fresh even after sitting in a to-go box for 15 minutes. Instead of being soggy like I initially expected, the dough’s consistency was still firm. However, the outer layer was still soft enough to allow for one to taste the tender and slightly salty lamb without the dough turning into a mushy and unpleasant texture.
As each meal was decently priced for its quality and quantity, Lanzhou Noodle House deserves another visit. Excluding the fried rice, each meal exceeded my expectations and I look forward to coming back to Lanzhou Noodle House sometime soon.