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Cold Sesame Noodles

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I'm trying to find a place in Los Angeles that has cold sesame noodles like NYC does.
I'm so frustrated! What kind of Chinese food is it there???...., that every chinese restaurant in NYC has the noodles and no one here does?
Help me please....I need my noodles!!
Thanks,
Cissie

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  1. I have gone through "the search" as well and have had no luck. The few places that have them on their menus, don't compare to the one's in NYC. You can try Soy Bean Restaurant on Wilshire in WLA. Mainly a "to go" restaurant. The noodles are passable...

    1. OK, I write this with some misgiving, since this is still a really exceptional and yet little known Sichuan place. But, I can identify with the unfulfilled longing, and believe me, there's is better than anywhere in NY.
      It's in the stripmall on northwest corner of Las Tunas and Mission, in San Gabriel. The place, in Chinese, has signage that indicates it's "
      Chuancai", or Sichuan food. It's the last place along the northwest corner of the stripmall. Small. Delicious.

      2 Replies
      1. re: potala23

        I think it's called Noodl (sic) House.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          There's a new sign out there. It's now called Tasty Noodle House. Don't know if it's the same place or not--there are some Szechwan noodle dishes on the menu, but also a lot of non-noodle dishes, too.

      2. I agree wholeheartedly... not sure what they do w/the noodles in NYC but they're wonderful and I'd love to find them here.

        1. 101 Noodle Express has them.

          And, if you ask nicely, the kitchen and staff at Ding's Garden will make it for you.

          101 Noodle Express
          1408 E. Valley Blvd.,
          Alhambra
          (626) 300-8654.

          Ding's Garden
          525 W Valley Blvd,
          Alhambra
          626-289-8966

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Yayyyyy!

          2. The real good dumpling place in El Monte...Dumpling 10053 or something like that has a good version.

            Noodle King on Valley has them

            3 Replies
            1. re: WHills

              Do what we do, freeze the NY stuff the night before you fly! Kung Pao Bistro is ok in a crunch.

              1. re: WHills

                We get it regularly at Noodle King as well...

                1. re: WHills

                  i've had them at D10053 and it's very good. definitely try an order of their boiled dumplings if you're gonna eat there as well. shrimp/leek and 3 flavor dumplings.

                2. Wow, you guys are great!! I'm excited to try them all!!

                  1. don't know if it's relevant but chi dynasty in los feliz has very good cold peanut sauce noodles, at least to me...

                    1. Dai Ho has the best cold sesame noodles (with shredded chicken) in my opinion.

                      9148 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City 91780
                      Located about 4 blocks east of Rosemead.
                      626.291.2295

                      1. If you don't want to drive to the SGV, they have cold sesame noodles at Mandarette, on Beverly in West Hollywood. I think they are as good as the ubiquitous ones found in NYC. Good scallion pancakes as well.

                        http://www.mandarette.com/

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: DanaB

                          Wondering if Mandarette might be the New York style Chinese restaurant that a segment of the Chowhound population is looking for. The clue might be the scallion pancakes, which generally are only found in authentic Shanghai/Taiwan etc. style restaurants in Los Angeles, but which are ubiquitous in Americanized Chinese restaurants in New York.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            When I first moved back to LA from NYC, I went to Mandarette a lot, as it does bear a similarity in style and flavor to the places I frequented in NY.

                            Now that I live farther east, in closer proximity to Chinatown and the SGV, I tend to head there for Chinese food.

                          2. re: DanaB

                            I'm a big fan of Mandarette as well. However in checking their menu ...

                            http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta...

                            ... like several other of the places noted on this thread, they have cold noodles with *peanut* sauce. Which is a dish I happen to love, as much if not more than cold sesame noodles, but it really isn't the same thing.

                            1. re: maxzook

                              I'm pretty sure the recipe usually contains both peanut and sesame (the explanation in the NYT recipe is that peanut butter emulsifies better than sesame paste), so I imagine the dish could accurately be called either.

                            2. re: DanaB

                              Just ate at Mandarette. The cold summer noodles are the wrong recipe. Watery, not enough deep sesame/peanut flavor, sauce too thin. Same thing a few years ago at their old place (now closed) in Beverly Hills. I should have known better after the first experience.

                              In additiion I find the rest of the menu (as well as the noodles) quite overpriced and the flavors only good. Not worth a trip or even a detour (as the Michelin folks would say). Further reports from the field as the search continues with other places mentioned favorably here.

                              After Shorty Tang left, the noodles at the Szechuan Palace on 97th and Broadway in NYC went sharply downhill, same with the neighboring Szechuan Balcony. On my last visit to NYC, Ollies on Broadway not too far from Zabar's had a very good version. The other places I've found good versions include a little restaurant in Hong Kong a couple of blocks from the Peninsula Hotel (ask the Concierge) called Fung Lum (no relation to the Universal City namesake in LA either legally or culinarily), and the Chinese restaurant in the red house across from the Tokyo Tower in Tokyo. The latter can be confirmed by the photos of the late Danny Kaye (America's best non-Chinese Chinese cook) with the Tokyo chef, on the wall of the stairs as you go up.

                              1. re: Liquid Sky

                                Never seen a place like Ollie's with off duty employees sleeping in relatively plain sight towards the back (probably due to exhaustion). Given their locations outside of Chinatown, though, I don't have a problem with the food.

                            3. I don't think anyone said anything about 'authentic' - people are just nostalgic for what they grew up with. I don't particularly miss the ny style egg rolls that everyone seems to miss, but I did love cold sesame noodles growing up.

                              I've had more or less the same dish in Arcadia at Bean Sprouts - but they don't seem to serve it anymore, though it's still on their menu. Their version had some veggie ham on top. A little more delicate than the typical east coast version, but similar.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: will47

                                I was there (Bean Sprouts) today, and was happy to discover that they are serving it again (maybe because it's warm out). It's not traditional east coast style takeout cold sesame noodles, but if you're interested to try something related, I like their take on it... it's served with cucumber, these little rice squiggle thingies, and veggie ham.

                                1. re: will47

                                  Indeed, the transplanted NYers understand full well that their (our) "NY Chinese food" is actually kind of terrible, but we've had it delivered twice a week every week OUR WHOLE LIVES.

                                  Perhaps it's like Peruvian chicken, or cobb salads, for lifelong LAers? :) Yes, the Kitchen is wonderful, and there's SGV and Rosemead, etc. But we miss our mothers' ordering.

                                  The best Chinese dish I've ever had is the dumpling soup my Chinese sister in law makes in the winter, which takes her two hours to cook and me 10 minutes to slurp down in a noisy, grateful state of ectasy. I tried to help make the dumplings once but she wouldn't even use them.

                                  So...on to my real reason to post to this thread: Let's expand it to find NY-style egg foo yung! The big, pancakey ones with the thick brown gravy. The ones that few soles who posts, or even lurk, on this board would consider worth trying, much less ordering, including me, except that I miss them. Anyone know where I can find that?

                                  If so, post here, and I promise to go to that place and order the cold sesame noodles, the spare ribs, the fried pork dumplings, the general tso chicken, the spicy eggplant, the hot and sour soup, and whatever else they have.

                                  1. re: gadflier

                                    Long thread on a similar topic from last year.

                                    http://www.chow.com/topics/318880

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      Thanks chandavki, didn't know about that one; reading it now.

                                2. Try Frontier Wok in Burbank (Hollywood Way, just south of Burbank Blvd.) They have very good cold noodles - with chicken!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Theo

                                    Now with Frontier Wok, I'd be wondering if the cold noodles were meant to be that way. Food there can be iffy.

                                  2. mandarette on Beverly has good cold seasame noodles, it is one of the better upscale
                                    chinese restaurants in the city that I have found never had a bad meal there

                                    1. Yang Chow on Broadway in Chinatown has cold sesame noodles. Very good.

                                      1. The one time I had cold Sesame noodles they had fresh crab or shrimp in them, is this common?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: wizardx

                                          no

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Sometimes with cold shredded chicken... yum.

                                        2. Mmmm..cold sesame noodles, spicy, with chilled cucumbers!! I went through the cold sesame noodle craving a few months back as well. I had almost forgotten how good they can be till I had them in Seattle in January (thanks to Seattle Chowhounds!!). The restaurants in LA never seemed to carry them on their menus and was getting pretty desperate when the NY Times carried a great article on cold sesame noodles, including a pretty easy recipe. I tried it, and wow..blew me away. So that's another option. Here's the intro to the article..a quick search on nytimes.com should give you the entire article.

                                          April 1, 2007
                                          FOOD: THE WAY WE EAT
                                          New York Noodletown
                                          By SAM SIFTON
                                          Historians may quibble, but spend any time with the jokers and memory thieves who while away their days eating and talking about Chinese food in New York City, and you’ll hear someone say it was Shorty Tang who cooked the best cold sesame noodles Manhattan ever tasted.......

                                          These suggestions below are great, can't wait to try them.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: kedar5150

                                            Ok, so i looked it up but you have to purchase the article. What are the main ingredients in the recipe? I don't mind paying 5$ for it, just don't feel like getting out my credit card and going through the whole process of paying for it online right now.

                                            1. re: will47

                                              Yes, tahini is not very Chinese at all! My grandmother pretty much follows this recipe but also adds tender shredded chicken.

                                              She does not use peanuts.

                                              Note: The dish tastes best when it's chilled in the fridge for several hours.

                                              1. re: will47

                                                Where would you get chinese sesame paste? i'm assuming it's sold in a jar or tube at someplace like 99 Ranch? Feverishly taking notes...Thankyou soo much! THankyou for the link to the article as well. When I did a search on NY times.com i came up with this page http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...

                                                1. re: Hapafish

                                                  Yeah - 99 Ranch, Shun Fat; pretty much any Chinese market. It's usually in the aisle with the other pastes and sauces (like chili paste, fermented bean paste, etc.). Easy to miss if you're not looking for it, but it's there. It's usually in a small / medium jar, like a half sized jar of peanut butter. The ones I saw all had English descriptions on the label.

                                                  See also http://www.chowhound.com/topics/414668, though you're looking for regular sesame paste, not black sesame paste.

                                                  btw - I tried Mandarin Deli's take on it over the weekend (they call it 'dan dan mein', but it's not the kind w/ meat and a gravy type sauce). Pretty good - they make it with the flatter / wider flour noodles. I tried it a day after buying it, so I should probably try it again "fresh". It has less stuff on it than the Bean Sprouts version.

                                                  1. re: will47

                                                    I saw sesame oil and sesame paste at the Marukai market in Little Tokyo as well.

                                                    Good to know Mandarin Deli makes a good version in case I get lazy!

                                            2. 18180B collima rd. rowland heights, ca for the best cold noodles

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: nn91604

                                                Careful there ... the OP was looking for NYC style cold sesame noodles and not necessarily the best that CA has to offer. :-)

                                                BTW, I love that place you recommended. It's called No. 1 Noodle House, which I mentioned here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/395768 and they have the best beef noodle soup you'll find around in SGV.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  For the best cold sesame noodles ever, it really IS worth the drive to
                                                  Emperor's Kitchen
                                                  9319A Foothil Blvd.
                                                  Rancho Cucamonga
                                                  (909) 948-5868
                                                  I was surprised to find really good Chinese food in the Inland Empire, but the people are nice, the prices are very moderate, and EVERYTHING I'VE TRIED THERE HAS BEEN GREAT!

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    oh they definitely are the best. the chef used to work at the great schezchuan place down the street whose name I can't remember, and that's his wife who works the counter. very sweet lady, you have to order their marinated cucumbers too cool you down if you get the beef soup (which is the best I've ever had, and I've spent lots of time in China). also the vinegar cabbage with chinese sausage is insanely good.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      hmm best beef noodle in sgv? i'm reeled in. what are your top beef noodle soup joints in SGV?

                                                      1. re: eatdrinknbmerry

                                                        I also like the beef noodle soup at Dai Ho Kitchen in Temple City, which until No. 1 Noodle House came along, I thought was the best in SGV.

                                                        Other places that are good, incld. China Islamic (in Rosemead) and Ding's in (San Gabriel)

                                                  2. Okay I am very intrigued. I'm a huge cold noodle fan. I love the vietnamese cold noodle dish with bbq'd pork and imperial rolls (bun thit ???) I love zaru soba ( cold soba with a dipping sauce) sometimes with tempura thrown into the mix making it ten zaru soba. I love the japanese style of chinese cold noodles in the summertime (yasi chuka?) --the ramen topped with tomato, cucumber, seaweed, corn, bamboo shoots, some sort of cooked meat (usually chashu but could be chicken) and a little bit of the shredded hot pink pickled ginger with a sesame/peanut-y tasting dressing on the side.

                                                    I'm wondering if this cold ramen dish is similar to the NYC sesame noodles you speak of?
                                                    If so, I just had some pretty good noodles like this at San Sui Tei in J town (Little Tokyo) 313 E.1st Street. They have another location in Temple City. I really enjoyed the noodles, veggies and sesame dressing. It reminded me of summer days in Japan when my host mother would make this dish. They threw some greens in there to make it a little more of a salad. Not to worry though , there were plenty of noodles. Plenty. My only note--the meat they used were slices of pork, kinda fatty which served cold--not a good combo.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Hapafish

                                                      The Chinese version has a distinctive peanut/sesame taste that the Japanese version does not.

                                                      I remember my Chinese grandmother sometimes using peanut butter in her recipe for sesame noodles.

                                                      I had a nice Japanese dish called "Summer Noodles" at Ramen-ya (West LA). Theirs is NOT peanut-y like the Chinese version, but it is very tasty and refreshing.

                                                      1. re: Liquid Sky

                                                        In the same Japanese vein:

                                                        Last weekend I had a delicious bowl of cold soba noodles with sesame sauce at Sanuki, in the Mitsuwa Market at Venice & Centinela; I wanted to drink down the sauce. Also available with udon. Unfortunately, the adjacent Santouka does not offer cold ramen, as far as I can tell.

                                                        I love the cold noodles at Ramen-ya, too.

                                                        As far as the Chinese/Chinese-American version sought by the OP, no one has mentioned Mandarin Deli. This was the first place I ever had cold sesame noodles and I used to order them all the time at the now-departed Little Tokyo branch; I would assume they're still available at the ones that are still around?

                                                        Possibly even further OT, but maybe not: there's an item on the Hu's Szechwan menu called "Cold Noodles Chinese Style", marked with a little "hot & spicy" star. I have never ordered this at Hu's and a quick Google didn't turn up any info; does anyone know what's in this dish at Hu's?

                                                        1. re: PayOrPlay

                                                          Ramen-ya--duly noted. I will be making a trip there in the near future. I have been there before but have never tried their cold noodles. If it's anything like their hot ramen, i'm sure it will be delicious!

                                                          1. re: Hapafish

                                                            It's good. Just don't go there expecting the Chinese (peanut-y) version, and you will enjoy it.

                                                          2. re: PayOrPlay

                                                            Isn't Mandarin Deli the place where they make the great stewed beef and noodle soup?

                                                            1. re: PayOrPlay

                                                              I've eaten them at the Madarin Deli in Northridge on Reseda Blvd. They were good, and I've eaten the NYC versions. MD also has branches in Chinatown and on Valley Blvd in Alhambra (or San Gabriel). The SG branch has the best food, IMHO.

                                                        2. how nice to have something great to look forward to when you visit NYC

                                                          The worst I ever had was at a place called Heavenly Goose/Swan in Santa Cruz which were in fact made with peanut butter. It was 1982 and I had just returned from Beijing. I could have cried.

                                                          The ubiquitous cold sesame nooldes in Beijing are even more watery than here.

                                                          Two of the best imho are the cold sesame noodles at Ma Lan on hacienda blvd in hacienda heights - this is one of the dishes where there isno choice on the type of handmade noode.
                                                          The other is the mandarin deli chain which is fine.

                                                          That said - Deerfield garden at Atlantic and Garvey makes a good one - ask; and China Islamic I think has one but I"m not sure (garvey near Del mar)

                                                          These are chinese style. not really all that thick and peanut buttery. perhaps there is a new province of china on the banks of the hudson.

                                                          Check out places in Marina del Rey, Santa Monica and west la. Also the west valley, maybe PF Chang - they are catering to a clientele that might demand this. I haven't been to panda express or pf chang lately ( went once about 5 years ago) but they might have it.
                                                          Also, check bamboo in Sherman oaks. if they have it, their take might be close to what you might want. They're the kind of place that serves chicken meat jiaozi.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: Jerome

                                                            Actually it's not wrong to make it with peanut butter. My Chinese grandmother also used peanut butter in her recipe. As long as you have the sesame oil and sesame paste in there as well.

                                                            1. re: Liquid Sky

                                                              You chinese grandmother I'm guessing made it in the states. Is peanut butter commercially available in China? I don't remember seeing it there ages ago. Maybe now...

                                                              but no - I'm sure you could try cashew and almond butter as well if you liked.

                                                              1. re: Jerome

                                                                My gf's mom (who lives here but moved here as an adult) said to use peanut butter in that dish, as well as Chinese sesame paste. I know peanut butter is available there now (for one thing, google for peanut butter china, and you'll find a bunch of stuff about china recalling some US made peanut butter that was imported)... but I assume there may be some traditional equivalent.

                                                                The NYT article explains that peanut butter emulsifies better than sesame paste, and that's why it's used - to get the desired smooth mouthfeel.

                                                                The sauce does seem thinner and less creamy at some of the places that have it here (Bean Sprouts in Arcadia, for example); I believe some places make it without any peanut butter at all.

                                                                1. re: will47

                                                                  yes, peanut butter emulsifies better. So does margarine. They both are chemically emulsified - so if you have trouble making the sauce, adding either or commercial mayonnaise will help.
                                                                  When I make similar sauces using sesame paste- two things...
                                                                  1. use chopsticks to get the oil back into the paste - it separates out.
                                                                  2. once that's done and you've mixed the paste and seasonings - a whisk does just fine in smoothing outthe sauce.

                                                                  There was no peanut butter in China when I was there in 1982. There is now. as there is Foie gras. There was Ningbo style goose liver but that's a different story.

                                                                  Most traditional recipes won't have peanut butter. Check out chinese cookbooks printed in Taiwan or even here that are bilingual, and you won't find peanut butter. You will find worcestershire sauce substituting for Chekiang (zhenjiang) Black Vinegar. balsamic vinegar works as well, although you can get decent chekiang black vinegar for between $1 adn $2 at 99 ranch.

                                                                  1. re: Jerome

                                                                    I have the Barbara Tropp recipe from the NY Times in 1981and there is no peanut butter or mayo -- there is dark sesame paste, oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and sherry or rice wine. I have had a very hard time finding the dark sesame paste lately, and just resorted to mixing up a batch with tehini -- we'll see how it works. Hot weather causes me to crave cold sesame noodles. We had the Mandarette version on Tuesday, and it in no way resembled either what Empire Schezuan served in the '80s or what my terrific recipe produces.

                                                                    1. re: trixie49

                                                                      go to the 99 ranch market nearest you. there is one at victory and burbank inVanNuys for example.

                                                                      You can buy a small bottle of the sesame paste (zhi ma jiang). Tahini is not a good substitute. Any nut butter would be better. (toasted that is). Honey is an unusual choice. The rice wine is used sometimes in similar sauces but it's also unusual.

                                                                      Enjoy.

                                                                      1. re: Jerome

                                                                        I've been to half a dozen Chinese markets lately with no success, including in Chinatown downtown. The tehini tasted okay, but the color was all wrong. The rest of the ingredients covered up the lack of toasted flavor -- and I added extra sesame oil.

                                                                        1. re: trixie49

                                                                          It'll be in the aisle with all the pastes in a jar (garlic / chili paste, black bean paste, etc.).

                                                                          The jar is smaller than a normal peanut butter or Tahini jar. Ranch 99, Shun Fat, Hawaii all have it.

                                                                          I think the difference is not just the roasting (I think some Tahini has been roasted at least a little), but also that Chinese sesame paste is made from unhulled sesame seeds (according to Wikipedia).

                                                          2. There is a place at the corner of Hollywood Way and Magnolia in Burbank that has really good chinese food and they have them. It's a small, clean, no frills place and the food is always good. Soup is really good. It used to be called Le Manderete and then they changed the name to (i think) Emperior Dragon. I just go there and eat. never pay attention to the name.

                                                            1. Yujean Kang's in Pasadena. Amazing food (especially the crispy beef). The menu has "Cold Thin Noodle Yujean Kang's Style with Shrimp and Spicy Garlic Sesame Sauce" I'm told is like the New York dish. My New Yorker friend loves it.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: klaatu

                                                                Bump. it's summer again.

                                                                I'm looking for the Taiwanese style: shredded chicken, shredded egg/ cucumbers/carrots/bean sprouts w/ a heavy garlic + sesame sauce w/ a hint of rice vinegar.

                                                                And make it cheap please. I really like the version @ Yi Mei (on Atlantic) but $5 for that just makes me cringe.

                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                  if you factor in gas prices to drive elsewhere, the $5 may not be too bad man. =) lols.