I'm not quite sure who recommended Tasty Noodle to me, I just can't find the email (was it you AndyS?). All I had was a little scribble in my notebook that says" Tasty Noodle - Dalian" and some other stuff...so it probably means that the owners are from Dalian, a city in Liaoning province, just North of Shandong where the Missus is from. The shop is tiny, tucked away in the same strip mall as several other restaurants including Golden Deli. Located in one of the corners you really can't see the place from the street.
Man was this place super clean....and super tiny, five-six tables in all. The young lady serving me was very friendly and polite as well......
The menu says "New style Chinese" which kinda raised alarms..........but I moved forward. Looking at my notes which said "noodle soup" (duh), but not which kind of noodle soup.... but I quickly made up my mind when I saw Pork Belly Noodle Soup ($5.99) on the menu.
The bowl was just humongous, filled to the brim with a thick soup. The noodles were excellent, looking closely you could tell they were hand made. The texture was wonderful, slight chew, mild pull, but nice and tender. That's where all the accolades end. The thin sliced pork belly was very tough and mealy. The broth really needed some help as it was very bland. I tried but only put a slight dent into the soup and took the rest home.
I would have usually just had some noodle soup and headed out since I was eating solo on this trip. But for some reason, I'd written Baozi in my notebook so I ordered the Tiajin Baozi ($6.99). It's written as "Pork Buns" on the menu.
It really didn't look that attractive, some were slightly open on the top...heck maybe this would even be a pseudo Guo Bu Li Baozi ("stuffed buns that even dogs would not eat" - a specialty of Tianjin). But after having eaten enough of these I could just tell by the smell, a mild yeasty-savory scent, with a touch of nutty sesame oil in the background, that I knew these were going to be pretty good. I actually reached out and grabbed one with my hands and was rewarded with a fluffy springiness...man, this was going to be good. The steamed bun was almost perfect, fluffy, light...best I've had in a while. The filling had that almost smooth texture with the perfect ratio of flavoring. This made the trip here worthwhile. I ate four and saved the rest for dinner. I also bought the Missus the vegetarian version. She loved the bun, even after heating.....She told me the filling was on the bland side, so go with the pork. But I know She's already planning to hit this place up on our next trip to the area.
Tasty Noodle House
827 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Hours 11am - 3pm
5pm - 930pm