Well, I'm back, (almost)fully recovered from the "roast beef sandwich" from hell. Funny thing, I ate and drank all kinds of street food and other "interesting stuff" in Peru, with nary a problem. Now I'm back at work, and a sandwich from a (formerly) trusted source ambushes me..... Since starting this food blogging thing, I've spent much more time really "tasting" my food. EXCEPT, when busy at work, where I'll wolf stuff down at my desk. So about half way through my sandwich, my tastebuds finally sent a message, via slow boat, to my brain, that the sandwich tastes really "off".....and the rest, as they say, is history. I'll just say, that right now, I can't look at a piece of roast beef without the word "emesis" in shocking white letters flashing in my head. Well on to better things......
Waaaay back in August we made our way back to the old neighborhood....that would be Rowland Heights. Even though we've lived in San Diego since 2001, we still see our Ophthalmologist in the area. I'm not quite sure what it is, laziness, trust, or maybe just for an excuse to eat. I'm sure the latter plays a large part in our decision. On this visit, I had No. 1 Noodle House directly in my line of fire.
No 1 Noodle House is located in the super refurbished Yes Plaza, on the corner of Colima and Fullerton Road, which used to be a pretty beat and seedy looking strip mall when we lived several blocks away. Now, after a major face lift, we can barely recognize the place! We cracked up when we saw the laundromat we used to use is still there, looking pretty new, I bet it doesn't smell like fermenting geriatric diapers any more......
The menu at No 1, is comprised of various Sichuan (Chengdu-style) snack foods....that would be various noodle dishes, and the like. And yes(or in this case "YES"), this shop is sporting a 'C', facility food rating....
After spying such a rating, there are those that are going to flee in the opposite direction as fast as possible, and those that will say, when it comes to Chinese Restaurants in the SGV, "A=American, B=Better, C=Chinese....."
I had heard some pretty good things about the Niu Rou Mian, so I was excited to try it out.
This bowl set us back $5.50, and frankly, was pretty lousy. The broth had the consistency of dish water, and was served at a tepid temperature. The broth had a diluted beef flavor and lacked spice, with just a hint of anise/five spice in the background. The noodles were simple store bought, and over cooked. The beef was tender, but like the broth lacked flavor, other than a slight refrigerator staleness. Needless to say, the bowl sat pretty much untouched.
Luckily, we ordered a few other items, which helped to balance things out a bit. "Cold Bean Noodle" (liang fen - $4.50):
For those who haven't had (or knowingly had) this type of Starch Jellied Noodle, Liang Fen is made from mung bean. This version was mixed with a sesame paste-soy-black vinegar mixture, and served with chili oil/paste, ground peanuts, and green onions. Oh yes, and MSG. The flavor was right and refreshing, and hit all the salty-sour-spicy notes for us. Liang Fen has a nice slippery-mildy chewy texture that was very pleasing. Good stuff.
We also ordered the Chili Oil Won Tons($3.50):
This was another surprisingly good dish. The Won Tons were pretty large with a good amount of filling. The generous topping of excellent chili oil, peanuts, and green onions made this a spicy and satisfying dish. Like many of these types of dishes, it sure looked like a lot of oil was used, but it was not greasy in the least. I'd have this again in a minute.
I really don't know what the deal was with Niu Rou Mian, but the other dishes made up for it. The service is typical San Gabriel Valley, brusque and efficient. You should not eat here if you have MSG-phobia, or have adverse reactions to MSG, you'll see MSG crystals in your food.
No 1 Noodle House
18180 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
You know, I just realized the irony of this post....many people I know wouldn't dare eat at a place with a 'C' rating. And yet, I suffered no ill effects, just as I've encountered no GI problems when eating at Taco Trucks, and various eateries with 'B' rating or lower....and here I was ambushed by roast beef with an 'A' rating!!!!