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Legendary, Made-To-Order, Fresh Steamed Buns and Dumplings! (or "Are You Kidding Me?!") - NOODLE HOUSE (Mian Hsiang Yuan) [Review] w/ Pics!

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(Formatted with All Pictures here:
http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/07...

)

This past weekend, after visiting a Hound out in the San Gabriel Valley, I found myself driving down Garvey Avenue in search of something to eat before heading back home. I quickly drove past the deluge of disappointing, new Dumpling restaurants near Garfield, and then a simple sign caught my eye: "Noodle House." I figured I might as well see what the menu was all about, and walked into the restaurant to take a peek. Nothing could've prepared me for what was coming next.

I was greeted by the waitress and took a look at their menu: They offered a variety of fresh Steamed Stuffed Buns and Dumplings, and a few Noodle dishes and Pastries. Seemed like a standard offering until my eyes casually looked over at the open kitchen and saw what seemed like the impossible:

Noodle House's Steamed Buns (Baozi) and Dumplings are HAND-MADE, MADE-TO-ORDER! (O_O)

The waitress confirmed my disbelief telling me they make ALL their Baozi (Steamed Buns) and Jiaozi (Dumplings) on the spot, WHEN the customer orders it! "No way!" I thought to myself.

I quickly sat down, and ordered a couple items to test this out. :) Sure enough, as soon as I ordered, I walked up and looked at the open kitchen and the staff started *kneading the dough* for my order of Steamed Buns (Baozi) ON THE SPOT! (And they started rolling out the skin for my Dumplings on the spot as well!)

To put some perspective on this, it's somewhat like ordering a Croissant at a restaurant, and then watching the Pastry Chef make your Croissant from scratch, *just for you*! I'd never been to a restaurant that actually made their Baozi and Dumplings *from scratch* (including the skin) just for your order. I was excited. (^_^)

(On a side note: the new Kingburg claims they make their Dumplings to order (and they may), but their lack of execution and MSG-laden fillings disappoint greatly (that's a story for another day).)

The first dish to arrive was their Yu Ruo Shwei Jiao (Fish, Pork with Vegetables Dumplings). They already looked different from the usual Dumplings you see at most restaurants, even different than handmade Dumpling Houses like 101 Noodle and Dumpling 10053, since these were made-to-order, and then immediately cooked. The Dumplings were puffier, and the Dumpling skin was SO soft and supple to the touch, but still "firm" in a way I'd not seen before.

And then I took a bite: TRANSCENDENT.

The beautiful, SO fresh and distinct, just-made Dumpling Skin gave way to an extremely tender, melt-in-your-mouth filling of minced Grey Sole Fish (Lohng Li) with marinated Ground Pork and diced Yellow Leeks. It was perfectly seasoned (not too salty), with the Grey Sole Fish and Ground Pork complementing each other wonderfully, along with the light herbal notes from the Yellow Leeks. These are the best Dumplings I've ever had.

Note: Feel free to add some Soy Sauce and/or Vinegar (ask for Vinegar if it's not on your table) to a little plate and dab your Dumplings in it before eating (I prefer just a little bit of Vinegar :).

Also, Dumplings, in general, should be eaten immediately. The longer they sit on the plate, the thicker and firmer they get.

The other item I ordered that day was their Shuang Gu Bao (Double Mushroom Bun), which includes Marinated Ground Pork. I eagerly awaited this with even more anticipation than the Dumplings since, I've never been to a restaurant that actually made everything from scratch, on the spot, for an order of Baozi.

And then it arrived: In a classic, rustic Bamboo steamer, a beautiful arrangement of 8 fresh-steamed Baozi! The look of it was already different from the usual pre-made Buns you find everywhere else. It was slightly rougher, and looked delectable!

I gently picked it up and took a bite: ...

SO fresh, SO outstanding in its texture. The Steamed Baozi were moist, yet also had a nice, light chew/bite to them, unlike any Steamed Buns I've ever had before. For reference, oftentimes the Charsiu Bao at Dim Sum restaurants can be slightly mealy, dry, or crumbly (or just too thick). Even comparable Buns from Northern or Taiwanese eateries can be this way (too thick, dry, mealy, with way more Dough than Filling, etc.). Not so here. It was simply wonderful.

The fragrant Dohng Gu Mushroom with the Mu Ehr (Wood Ear) Mushroom added a beautiful aroma to the Marinated Ground Pork and was truly a Mushroom Lover's dream! Further, the nice crunch inherent in Mu Ehr Mushrooms were softened a bit, but still added the perfect texture to each bite of these Steamed Buns.

It should be noted that fresh, made-from-scratch / made-to-order Baozi (Steamed Buns) needs some time to prepare (about ~20-25 minutes), so plan accordingly.

Important Note: The manager proudly proclaimed that they use No MSG and was insulted by me even mentioning it. Their main Chef is from Tianjing, and learned his craft there. And I can verify that after three visits, there was never a hint of MSG in anything I ate. Just great ingredients and recipes without the crutch that so many Chinese restaurants use.

I was so blown away by this visit, that I quickly summoned some of my Chinese Cuisine Hounds and dragged them off to return for Dinner! (^_^)v They wouldn't believe me when I talked about Noodle House's made-from-scratch, made-to-order Steamed Buns and Dumplings, as even they had never heard of a restaurant in L.A. that would make everything from scratch, just for your order.

We started off with their Nio Jing Tahng Mien (Beef Tendon Noodle Soup). The manager also stated that while their Noodles weren't Sho La (Hand-Pulled), the Noodles were made from scratch, in-house, and Machine Cut instead (which was fine). The giant bowl of Beef Noodles arrived and it smelled *amazing*!

The Noodles were really soft (I didn't mind), but definitely fresh. It had a delicate texture and almost no chew, but it paired superbly with this gorgeous broth. The Beef Tendon was cooked perfectly (wonderfully tender), and the Beef Broth itself was *outstanding.* It had a wonderful, mesmerizing Beefy taste in every sip, something only possible with slow-cooking: I had the pleasure of having home-cooked Chinese Beef Soup Noodles from a friend's family - their grandmother made the recipe and that Beef Soup took about half a day+ to make and slowly cook. This broth was comparable; it was that good! I greedily drank all the extra soup after we split up the noodles amongst ourselves, something I've *never* done in years because just about every place I've been to in the SGV uses MSG, or is too salty, overseasoned, or not cooked long enough. Not so here: They could serve this Beef Broth as an Appetizer and I'd order it just to drink this ambrosia. :)

It should be noted that those used to the more commonly found Chinese Beef Noodle Soups around L.A., may not like this soup: It's definitely less salty, with No MSG, and has a purity that only comes from long, slow cooking of the Beef Soup. Also, they offer a standard Stewed Beef Noodle Soup if Tendon isn't your thing. (^_~)

Next up, we ordered the Nan Gua Hsia Ren Shwei Jiao (Pumpkin with Shrimp Dumplings). Just like the last visit I had, the Dumplings arrived with a wonderful, supple Dumpling skin, and my Hounds were amazed. We took a bite and it was wonderful (again): The perfectly cooked Dumpling skin was something none of them had outside of a rare family gathering / event; definitely not in a restaurant.

The Pumpkin and Shrimp were fresh and it was tasty, but I'm not a Pumpkin fan, so the flavors were lost to me. I still enjoyed the Dumplings just on the amazing fresh skin alone.

Next up, we ordered one of their Steamed Buns to try: Zhu Ruo Jio Tsai Bao (Pork with Leeks Steamed Bun). Just like before, it was an amazing fresh dough that was transformed into the magnificence that is their Baozi: The Marinated Ground Pork and Green Leeks were just as before, perfectly seasoned, not too salty, with the rich Pork flavors combining perfectly with the chopped Leeks. I enjoyed this one more than the Double Mushroom, but both were great!

On another visit, we ordered a few more items to sample, starting with a made-from-scratch Chong Yoh Bing (Green Onion Pan Cake). This dish can be found all over the San Gabriel Valley, but what caught my eye each time I visited was how NON-oily it looked when people ordered it. And when it arrived, it was wonderfully fragrant with the Green Onions and piping hot "bread." Unlike most incarnations of this dish, Noodle House's Green Onion Pancake was *not* dripping in oil, or over-fried, etc. The outside looked more like a freshly toasted tortilla than something deep fried. And the taste was wonderful! I really enjoyed this healthier version, and you could taste the made-from-scratch goodness.

We then ordered the Hsien Bei Zhu Ruo Shwei Jiao (Scallop with Pork Dumplings), and just like the last two visits, the freshly made Dumpling skin shone through, perfectly supple again. The Scallops and Marinated Ground Pork made for a beautiful pairing. The broth inside each Dumpling was divine: A pure meaty broth blending in each bite with the Scallops and Ground Pork (it's not a "soup" like a Xiao Long Bao, but the inherent broth that comes from using Marinated Ground Pork, Scallops and seasonings when cooked together). Delicious!

We then ventured off to try their Nio Ruo Jhuen Bing (Simmered Beef Wrap w/ House Pan Cake). Considering their Green Onion Pancake was so fragrant and not oily, we wanted to see how this compared as well. Sure enough, Noodle House's interpretation of the Nio Ruo Jhuen Bing (essentially the "Beef Roll" seen at places like 101 Noodle Express, Mandarin Deli, etc.) was a really clean, much healthier version of the classic. Instead of sporting the typical fried exterior, it resembled a toasted tortilla-like exterior, not oily at all.

The combination of long-simmered Beef with Green Onions and Cilantro along with the Tianmien Jiang Sauce was very good, but it didn't exceed the deliciousness of the Beef (and Chicken) Rolls at 101 Noodle Express. But at the same time, this was much healthier and not covered in oil as most versions usually are. We'd definitely order this healthier version again.

The final dish we tried were their San Hsien Bao (Combination Seafood Bun), made up of Shrimp, Marinated Ground Pork and Sea Cucumber. I've enjoyed all the flavors so far, and this was no exception. Once again, the Steamed Buns came out freshly made and cooked, and these Bao had more broth to them than the previous ones, probably due to the Sea Cucumber. The Shrimp, Marinated Ground Pork and the Sea Cucumber matched very well, along with Green Onions. Another excellent flavor.

Being a simple, mom-and-pop restaurant, there is no ambiance or decor to speak of. You come here for one thing only: The fresh, made-from-scratch food. (^_~) On average we spent ~$7.50 per person (*including* tax and tip already). Their prices are so low for the legendary quality of their food, it's ridiculous.

Ordering Tip: If you're ordering more than 1 type of Dumpling and Bao (Steamed Bun), stagger your order a bit - After ordering 1 type of Dumpling / Bun, wait 5-10 minutes before adding another type of Dumpling / Bun to your order, to buffer enough time to eat the first type of Dumpling, before moving on to the freshly-cooked, out-of-the-kitchen second flavor. :)

Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan)'s philosophy of serving only made-from-scratch, made-to-order, fresh Steamed Buns (Baozi) and Dumplings (Jiaozi) is unrivaled in L.A. The fact that you can walk in, order, and watch the cooks make Steamed Buns and Dumplings just for you, and the fact that it has a wonderful, homemade taste with NO MSG (unlike too many of the new Dumpling Houses that've opened up), is nothing short of amazing.

Note that I should temper this review by saying that Baozi (Steamed Buns) and Jiaozi (Dumplings) are simple foods. This isn't a complex, Michelin-Starred dish at Providence or Urasawa, but it is SO good because it's completely made-from-scratch, made just for your order. While I'll still go back to 101 Noodle Express for their *variety* of handmade Dumplings (and Dumpling 10053), Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan) has shot up to the top of the Dumpling and Steamed Bun rankings in L.A.

Excellence in Cooking should always be celebrated, and this is nothing short of another L.A. Treasure that needs to be tried as soon as possible. Highly Recommended.

*** Rating: 9.2 (out of 10.0) ***

Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan)
958 E. Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91755
Tel: (626) 280-0831

* Cash Only *

Hours: Mon - Fri, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Sat - Sun, 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

-----
Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan)
958 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

 
 
 
 
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  1. Attached more pictures. The rest can be found in the link at the top of this Original Post. Thanks! :)

     
     
     
    1. Thanks for the info!

      1 Reply
      1. re: raytamsgv

        Thanks raytamsgv. Hope you enjoy it! :)

      2. epic review, thanks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ns1

          Thanks ns1. Please report back if you end up trying it. :)

        2. Exilekiss, you are quickly asserting yourself as the topnotch reviewer and blogger of the Los Angeles restaurant scene. You get to the trendy, expensive, high-power places, and yet have a special place in your heart and tummy for the SGV dumpling, dim sum, and specialty hole-in-the-walls. I just have to applaud you.

          Do you intend to remain a mysterious food savant or tell us more about you?

          3 Replies
          1. re: nosh

            Hi nosh,

            Masaka (no way) (^_^;... I just try to write about delicious places I'm lucky enough to have run across. But thanks for the kind words. :)

            1. re: nosh

              ITA w/nosh. But are you one person? Do you eat out everyday?

              1. re: OCAnn

                Hi OCAnn,

                Thanks. LOL, I hope I'm one person still (^_^;; No, I just eat out often, and when I can, I want to make it worth it (i.e., try not to just go to the same places over and over), and when possible explore and find new eats. (^_~)

            2. is the menu in english for easy ordering and translation?

              2 Replies
              1. re: NYCnowLA

                Hi NYCnowLA,

                Yes, their menu is in English and Chinese. :) All the English translations I used were directly from their menu.

                1. re: exilekiss

                  great!!

              2. Thank you for the excellent write up! I am so hesitant to visit the other SGV spots because of my extreme allergy to MSG, but thanks to you, I will head here immediately, and order the Beef Noodle Soup, Scallion Pancake and Scallop with Pork Dumplings. Yum.

                1 Reply
                1. re: yogachik

                  Hi yogachik,

                  You're welcome. :) Be sure to try a Steamed Bun as well (Bao) of some sort. They have eight different varieties so I'm sure you'll find something you'll like. (^_~)

                2. Wow, great write up, thanks...can't wait to get there.

                  Do they have other noodle dishes? Dan Dan Mein, Mao Erdu, etc?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Thanks Ciao Bob.

                    They have 8 different types of Baozi (Steamed Buns), 11 different Jiaozi (Dumplings), 7 different Noodles including Ja Jiang Mien ("Pork Bean Sauce Noodle") and a Ma Jiang Mien ("Sesame Sauce Noodle") (which I can't wait to try), a Ji Hsi Liang Mien ("Shredded Chicken Cold Noodle").

                    Also Jio Tsai Hehzi ("Leek Pan Cake"), and 5 different Cold Dishes (like the Seaweed, Cucumber, Pig Ear, etc.).

                    1. re: exilekiss

                      very curious if u try the zha jiang mian....i havent had a good version in a long time and id love to try it when i come back to LA soon

                      1. re: Lau

                        Hi Lau,

                        I haven't tried their Zha Jiang Mian yet... it's on my "Try It" list for my next visit. I'll report back when I do. :)

                        1. re: exilekiss

                          I am going with a big group lunch tomorrow, ZJM and MJM will be on my plate for sure.

                  2. Bravo, another great review exilekiss.

                    By the way, the dumplings at Luscious Dumplings, 10053 and Dumpling House are all "hand-made" and "made-to-order".

                    Also, I challenge you find a place that has dumplings that are NOT "hand-made" ... in fact, I would be quite tempted to go to a place that has "machine-made" dumplings. :-)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Thanks ipsedixit. :)

                      Well, what's weird is that Noodle House is doing something different from Luscious, 101 and 10053, etc. I know those places are "hand-made," but none of them taste anything like Noodle House's Dumpling skins. There's a distinct textural difference I've never had at any of those top Dumpling Houses (and I still appreciate and will revisit them), but it's just *super fresh* here.

                      I've seen people in the kitchen *stuffing* Dumplings at 101 for example, but I've never seen any of the kitchens roll out the dough for the skin, and then stuff it and cook it on the spot. Maybe they do, but Noodle House is doing something different.

                      Definitely give them a try, though, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the place. (^_~)

                    2. thanks for the great review! i am going this weekend for lunch! mmm!

                      1. Thanks for the review. Somehow I missed this place. 20 years ago this was Beef Noodle King, one of the first beef noodle places in the SGV and for some reason I assumed it continued to be the same or a similar enterprise. Indeed, it was just a few weeks ago that I peeked in and still thought it was primarily a beef noodle restaurant.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          Thanks Chandavkl. :) Yah, as I stated in my review, I, too, originally thought it'd be just a typical Noodle restaurant of some sort until I saw the open kitchen area. :)

                          Hope you try it out; I'd love to hear your thoughts on the place.

                        2. I too was there over the weekend for my first visit. Baos had excellent texture as you mentioned. My visit was marred a bit by the fact that it took 30 minutes for my San Hsien Bao to arrive. The waiter suggested that next time we call ahead to order - good advice. The pan-fried green onion pancakes were a welcome change from the deep-fried versions, but they were missing some salt.

                          One other thing to note was that some of the seemingly vegetarian versions of the baos (we ordered the cabbage and leek versions) actually contained tiny dried shrimp to enhance the flavor. It surprised us a bit (especially my vegetarian dad), so be sure to tell them if you don't wish to have these.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ristretto

                            Hey ristretto,

                            Thanks for the reminder: Since these hand-made, made-to-order (from scratch) Steamed Buns do take some time, I noticed all the regular customers were walking in, ordering the Steamed Buns *immediately*, and then slowly settling in and perusing / ordering other items off the menu. I guess it's like ordering a Souffle early on in your dinner. :)

                            I've had the most luck with ordering a Pastry (Green Onion Pancakes, for example), or a Soup Noodle dish, Dumplings and the Steamed Buns (Baozi). The Pastry is usually the fastest to come out (or the Noodles). Then the Dumplings take the second longest, and then by the time we're done w/ the Dumplings a few minutes later the Baozi come out.

                            Then again at ~$7.50 - $8 per person, total, I don't mind the wait for homemade, made-from-scratch goodness. (^_~)

                          2. Awesome review!

                            Did you see if this place has mao er duo (cats' ears) noodles? They are a childhood favorite, and nobody has been able to replicate my auntie's homemade version...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: apfb

                              Hi apfb,

                              Thanks. :) Sorry, no mao er duo on the menu.

                            2. exilekiss, do you know whether this is the re-opened Noodle House that was near Temple City?

                              From:

                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/noodle-house-...

                              "Update: Noodle House is closing on June 2, 2008. New owners will take over and Linda (current owner) will open a new restaurant, location and date TBA"

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                Hi Peripatetic,

                                I don't believe they are the same owners. I went to that Arcadia "Noodle House" a few times, and don't recognize any of the staff at this Noodle House here. The Chinese name is also completely different, and the menu is different as well.

                                Thanks.

                              2. Thanks for the review, we are going there this weekend!! We usually frequent Lucious Dumplings and Mei Long Village, but this place looks like a must try. Great review, and great blog!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CarlieInLA

                                  Thanks CarlieInLA. :) Definitely give them a try and also try out some of their fresh, made-to-order Steamed Buns (Baozi) which is something pretty rare here in the States. Hope you enjoy it!

                                2. Adding the updated link to the restaurant (I updated the original CH Place link, but CH somehow split my update into a separate Place).

                                  -----
                                  Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan)
                                  958 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

                                  1. Thanks exilekiss! Tried the place last night and was just so pleased.

                                    We had the Pork and Green Bean Bao, an order of Pumpkin and Shrimp Dumplings, and an order of Double Mushroom and Pork Dumplings. Only two of us there so that was about all we had room to try. Taking leftovers home sort of defeats the purpose. All three items were great! We actually love pumpkin so that one was a real winner for us. It should be noted that they are very different than the pumpkin dumplings offered at 101 Noodle Cafe. The ones at 101 are reminiscent of Italian ravioli di zucca. At Noodle House these are packed with whole shrimp and shredded pumpkin. Very good.

                                    Also worth noting, the service here is excellent. Very kind and attentive. Even the clientele is friendly. A true gem is a part of town where it takes a lot to outshine the competition.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Frommtron

                                      Hi Frommtron,

                                      Thanks for the report back! :) I'll have to try the Pork and Green Bean Bao next time, and I'm glad you enjoyed the Pumpkin and Shrimp Dumplings. And totally agreed on the style of filling for the Pumpkin Jiaozi between 101 Noodle Express and Noodle House.

                                      I can't wait to go back again next time I'm in the area. :)

                                      1. re: exilekiss

                                        Thank you again exilekiss for this great find !!!

                                        The moment I saw your post, I planned it on my day off today, bringing along 3 other people to try this place out. I called 10 minutes ahead while shopping in a supermarket nearby, to get 2 of the Baos ready (Pork with Leek & Combination Seafood). They were so good. We then ordered a bowl of Beef with thin noodles, and Beef Tendon with wide noodles. As you stated, the broth was clear, and not oily at all. Both beef and tendon were cooked to the perfect bite (as you have noted, not salty & not spicy, some may find it too bland). We also tried the pumpkin with shrimp dumplings, this was the group's favorite. The potstickers were great as well, the broth just burst with good flavor. The green onion pan cake was impressive, lots of green onions and not oily at all. Same thing with the simmered beef wrap.

                                        Everybody was happy in the group, even though, the best way to enoy the food was to eat them in the restaurant, 2 members in the group, could not resist ordering more baos to go. With 13 orders (eat in and take out), it came to $74, before tips.

                                        On a side note, I talked with the server (Helen ?), on how I came across this place. I mentioned about your review/blog, and she said she remembered you. After taking our orders, she came to ask me where can they see your blog, the owner wanted to know. It so happened, there was a laptop handy on top of the counter, so I stepped in next to the kitchen and called up your blog. There was a young guy there, and he was reading though it, explaining to the rest of the workers. They were all very pleased.

                                        Again, it was a great experience and good comfort food. We would not have known about this place without you sharing your experience. Considering I was told that they have been in business for almost a year now.

                                        1. re: jotfoodie

                                          that's awesome re: the blog

                                          1. re: jotfoodie

                                            Hi jotfoodie,

                                            Thanks for your report back! (^_^) I'm glad you found the place delicious as well.

                                            Thanks also, for the story about the blog (^_^; I'm just happy we have another restaurant that's just about Excellence in Food.

                                      2. We went here for lunch today, and agree with exilekiss that this place is outstanding! We had the pork and green onion steamed buns and the fish pork and vegetable dumplings. We also had a side of Chinese pickled cabbage, which was very fresh and made an excellent accompaniment. One thing I didn't fully appreciate from exilekiss's photos is how large each order is -- two were more than enough food for two moderate eaters.

                                        Thanks again exilekiss, this is the third place I've been to on your recommendation (the others were Elite and Otafuku) and they've all immediately gone onto the "favorites" list.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Peripatetic

                                          Hi Peripatetic,

                                          Thanks for the report back. Great to hear that it's still consistently delicious. :) (and glad to hear you enjoyed Otafuku and Elite as well! :)

                                        2. holy crap this place looks good

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Lau

                                            Well, that's pretty succinct, isn't it?!

                                            I, too, pile onto the pledges of excitement to go try these wonders! Thank you, exilekiss. Your exile is our gain!

                                          2. Mrs. J.L. & I were also quite pleased with this place. We talked at length with the chef/owner during & after our meal. She does indeed hail from Tianjin, as previously noted. I suspect many fellow Hounds were in the dining room as well that night.

                                            Her shredded chicken cold noodle is PERFECTly balanced in terms of sauce, garnish, temperature & noodle consistency. It is my new favorite summertime lunch dish (but damn good for dinner also).

                                            The seafood jiaozi (with shrimp, sea cucumber, and whitefish, AKA 3 shien jiao) was OUTSTANDING. I'd recommend it to anyone.

                                            Our double mushroom bao came out in exactly 12 minute, 24 seconds from my time of order. They were piping hot, indeed. I agree about enjoying them while they're hot. The pork & cabbage bao came out in 11 minute, 3 seconds. They were very good, but not great (I will order the pork & leek next time). IMHO, a little soy sauce goes a long way in helping enjoy them, but I personally like my baozi a bit saltier.

                                            I found the scallion pancakes to be just OK, but it is indeed the least greasy version of this dish I've had in the SGV so far.

                                            The stewed beef noodles (hung sow nio riu mien) was very very tasty. Lots of beef, not as much tendon as I'd like, but again, that's my personal preference.

                                            The ubiquitous hot and sour soup received a 8 out of 10 from Mrs. J.L. (a true hot&sour expert) - Though the ingredients were fresh as can be (those mushrooms and tree fungi were awesome); it's just that it's not spicy. But then again, Tianjin is not exactly the "hotbed" of spicy food in China (pardon the really bad pun)....

                                            Bottom line: Fresh, fresh ingredients, expertly executed, with wonderful friendly service. A true gem, especially for patrons with Northern Chinese tastes.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: J.L.

                                              J.L.
                                              Where does Mrs.J.L. find the best hot and sour soup in L.A.?

                                              1. re: banquisha

                                                Mrs. J.L. rates the H&S soup at Mei Long Village (on Valley Blvd.) a 9 out of 10.

                                                The old title belonged to Sam Woo (Focus Plaza location), with a score of 8.5.

                                              2. re: J.L.

                                                Hi J.L.,

                                                Thanks for your report back! It's always great to hear from a veteran CH'er that they enjoy the food as well. (^_~)

                                                Also thanks for the info about the Hot and Sour Soup! I knew they made pretty much everything on their menu from scratch, but I didn't try their various Soups yet. I'll have to try the Hot and Sour Soup there next time. :)

                                              3. So which one of you hounders were there today eating around 1130-1p? I swear there were a few of you!

                                                Anyway, not much to be said here that hasn't already been said.

                                                My name is Ns1 and I approve of this restaurant. Would eat at again.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  We were there yesterday; they opened just before 11:00am.
                                                  It is everything exilekiss (original poster) said it was!

                                                  We enjoyed their scallion pancake (lots of flavor and not greasy), and two different orders of their dumplings (one mixed seafood and the other a leek mixture). The skins on both were extremely delicate and tender. Their sides are also terrific; we ordered the cucumbers and finished them immediately!

                                                  The service was very friendly and helpful. We were greeted when we entered; during our meal several cooks and the owner (I believe) spoke to us, and we were offered a warm goodbye and "thanks" when we left. By the time we left --just before noon -- the place was full.

                                                  We will definitely return to explore the menu further!

                                                  1. re: liu

                                                    Hi liu,

                                                    Great follow-up report! :) I'm glad you enjoyed their Dumplings. Definitely try a Baozi (Steamed Bun) next time you visit, it's really good. :)

                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                      Lamenting...why only one stomach per person?

                                                      Yes, exilekiss, we did oogle the steamed buns and they looked and smelled divine...next time!

                                                      And while I have you here, you have been doing a wonderful service on these boards with your amazing finds and write-ups -- with pics! AND you seem to be carefully following your posts with responses to your responses...your display of integrity is very much appreciated! Just keep on doing what you are doing...and thanks from us for so many terrific chow discoveries!

                                                      1. re: liu

                                                        Thanks for the kind words liu. (^_^)

                                                  2. re: ns1

                                                    Hi ns1,

                                                    Nice! Glad to hear you made it out to Noodle House and enjoyed it. :) All this talk is making me want to go back soon. :)

                                                  3. Thank you for the tremendous review and enticing pix, exilekiss. I'm also impressed by your personalized responses! Looking forward to enjoying the handmade noodles at Noodle House tomorrow. The beef noodle soup looks mouthwatering and I'm glad to hear it's MSG-free and not over-salted.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Waverly SGV

                                                      Thanks Waverly SGV. :) Hope you enjoy your visit.

                                                    2. We went on Saturday evening and really loved the place. Normally I like dumplings better than bao, but at this place, the bao take the prize. The dough was so light and fluffy. We tried the pork and leek and they were delicious. Next time want to try the double mushroom.
                                                      Dumplings were also great, had the pork and scallop (our favorite) and the shrimp and pumpking (very good). We ended up taking some home and frying them and they were delicious the next day too.

                                                      Also had the beef noodle soup, it was very good, although I like the one at Mei long village more. Everything was just great, had a delicious meal. Thanks for the great review exilekiss, we really loved the place! can't wait to try it again.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: CarlieInLA

                                                        they did dumplings in the evening? What time?

                                                        1. re: Diana

                                                          Hi Diana,

                                                          Yah, Noodle House serves dinner until 9:30 p.m., so I'd imagine they'd be fine continuing making their fresh Dumplings and Steamed Buns until near closing.

                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                            cause, you know, I always think of dumplings and buns as dim sum, which usually aren't served after 2 or 3.

                                                            1. re: Diana

                                                              Hi Diana,

                                                              Ah, I understand the confusion :) -

                                                              Dim Sum serves certain types of Steamed Buns and Dumplings that are different from what Noodle House and Northern-style Buns and Dumplings are like. Outside of the Charsiu Bao and related Dim Sum Bun offerings (and their Dumpling offerings), there are definitely restaurants that serve other types of Dumplings (Shwei Jiao) at night.

                                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                                so cool! I thought I was destined to never have buns or dumplings after 3!

                                                        2. re: CarlieInLA

                                                          Hi CarlieInLA,

                                                          Nice report! Thanks for the feedback on Noodle House, and glad you liked their Boazi. :) They're usually so basic (I'm used to having them at Dim Sum w/ friends), and when you get them made-from-scratch, to-order here, it's pretty nice. (^_^)

                                                        3. went to noodle house on sat for lunch. it is definitely a small shop but the service was quite good.

                                                          ended up getting the ji shi lian ban mien (shredded chicken cold noodles), the pork and scallop dumplings, hot and sour soup and the marinaded beef tendon.

                                                          the noodles were cooked a perfect al dente but i found the sauce to be a tad understated and slightly watery. i wish they would have used more peanut butter in the sauce.

                                                          the scallop and pork dumplings were very juicy but the scallops were quite fishy thus off putting. i had to add soy to my vinegar/hot sauce dip as i found the filling to be slightly undersalted.

                                                          the beef tendons were very good.

                                                          the hot and sour soup was very good as well. however, as mentioned above, it was not spicy enough....but a few dashes of the white pepper and bam, it was a new dish!

                                                          all in all, it was a decent meal. i plan on heading back to try the standard pork and chive dumplings, their bao's and i really want to try their zha jia mien and niu rou mien.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: wilafur

                                                            shredded chicken cold noodles

                                                            wait, this has peanuts in it???

                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                              the sauce for the noodles is a peanut butter based sauce. mmm!

                                                              1. re: wilafur

                                                                that is unfortunate.

                                                                good thing I didn't order it this weekend as it would've killed my GF

                                                            2. re: wilafur

                                                              Thanks for the report on the Shredded Chicken Cold Noodle and your other dishes. Sorry to hear about your Scallops; the Scallops I got were not fishy at all and complemented the Marinated Ground Pork really well.

                                                              Definitely give their made-from-scratch Baozi a try, and another Dumpling flavor like their San Hsien Jiazi (Combination Dumplings) with Shrimp, Sea Cucumber and Marinated Ground Pork.

                                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                                those combination dumplings are delicious as leftovers!

                                                                1. re: exilekiss

                                                                  all good. i had a decent meal and am planning on heading back to try the baozi's and other noodle/dumpling dishes.

                                                                  did i mention the place is pretty darn cheap? lol.

                                                              2. Add fish balls to the list of things to try and which appear to be made in house. Had the fish ball noodle soup with the best fish balls I have ever eaten. Not dense at all, which I presume means more fish and less starch. Broth a little weak, though.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                  Hi Chandavkl,

                                                                  Thanks for the tip about the house-made Fish Meatballs! :) I haven't had fresh made ones in a long time, so I'm looking forward to trying these here.

                                                                2. Brought five friends yesterday: everything pretty much as advertised...darn good, homey and inexpensive. I agree the specialties --buns and dumps-- are the standouts. Beef Noodle soup, I've had better at many other places, and the beef roll is not as great as 101's. Forgot to try the hot-andsour.
                                                                  Thanks exilekiss.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                    Hi Ciao Bob,

                                                                    Glad you enjoyed the Steamed Buns and Dumplings. Yah, 101's Beef Roll is definitely better, this one was just a healthier, far less oily version for those that wanted something lighter (^_~).

                                                                    Overall, I'm still amazed at the ridiculously low prices for the quality of their Baozi and Dumplings.

                                                                  2. I went with three co-workers today for lunch, one of whom has been going there once a week since the place opened. Awesome food, and not enough can be said about how incredibly sublime the fish ball soup is. Try the pork and green bean dumplings sometime -- the crunch and flavor of the green bean is out of this world.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: davidrauch

                                                                      Hi davidrauch,

                                                                      Great to hear! Yes, I ended up sampling the Pork and Green Bean Dumplings as well (and it tastes just as good as a Potsticker (Guo Tieh) there). Nice and light, nothing overpowering. :)

                                                                    2. Great thread and discussion! Wish this place was cloned and 500 miles north!

                                                                      So what part of China are the owners & staff from?

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: K K

                                                                        not sure but northern part for sure. they roll their rrrrrr's when speaking.

                                                                        1. re: wilafur

                                                                          Then they must be from Mexico. ; }

                                                                          1. re: monkuboy

                                                                            lols.

                                                                          2. re: wilafur

                                                                            Curling their tongues, eh?

                                                                          3. re: K K

                                                                            Tianjin.

                                                                          4. WOW, that looks good! Thanks for posting.

                                                                            1. hi
                                                                              looking forward to trying this. ALways looking for places with shandong style dumplings. I like 101 noodle and what brought me there was their huge character sign for Dezhou chicken which is hard to find in china let alone here. I don't think they fry the crepe/bing for the beef roll; it's possible that they put more oil on the griddle than they do at this Noodle House which could account for the pock-marks on the crepe.

                                                                              That said, I will definitely try it. And if there are tianjin people making dumplings, I would think that they among the Baozi they would have a pretty good "Gou Bu Li (狗不理)" example. Is there one?

                                                                              I'll go there that much faster if there is.
                                                                              Thx. and wonderful write-up.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Jerome

                                                                                Hi Jerome,

                                                                                Thanks! It was your wonderful writeup of 101 Noodle Express that got my interest piqued to finally try it. (^_~)

                                                                                They don't have a Gou Bu Li Baozi, but definitely give them a chance. I'm truly impressed with their made-to-order Baozi and Dumplings. Hope you enjoy it!

                                                                              2. Thanks for the review. Your description and photos were tempting enough for me to pop in and check it out.

                                                                                I agree that the skin/wrapping of the bao and dumplings are outstanding and the best out of all the dumpling places I've tried so far. Actually the skin of the steamed dumplings I ordered reminded me a bit of Din Tai Fung's - extremely thin but has a slight chew. The baos are perfectly formed, and the wrapping is soft yet have a slight elasticity to it.

                                                                                The other thing I liked is that one can order the dumplings 3 ways: boiled, steamed, pan-fried. I opted for steamed, as it tends to preserve flavors better than boiling.

                                                                                The only nit I have is that the filling is under-seasoned for my taste. I know some people prefer the dumplings/baos to be a bit leaner, but when I bite into pork based baos/dumplings I expect a lot of more fatty juices. So overall package I prefer the dumplings at Luscious better.

                                                                                I wish they put a little more pork fat into the ground pork mix, add a little more salt, then it will be perfect. I guess next time I go I'll try the pan fried dumplings (and I think they do have the pan fried baos too), as the oil may help carry the flavor a bit more.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: notmartha

                                                                                  Thanks for the report notmartha! :)

                                                                                  I'm glad you enjoyed it for the most part. I can understand what you're saying about the not salty enough angle, although I found them perfect that way (then again, I prefer things generally not too salty). I guess one way to look at it is that it's better that their fresh-made Steamed Buns and Dumplings weren't salty enough (and you can dab them with a bit of the Soy Sauce / Vinegar provided at the table), instead of them being too salty, which at that point there's very little you can do to lessen it (except lots of tea (^_~)).

                                                                                  Their Pan Fried Dumplings (Guo Tieh) were also pretty nice (since it's the same made-from-scratch for your order Dumplings, just pan seared on the spot. :)

                                                                                  BTW, which flavors did you try? I found the flavors to differ greatly in the ultimate taste, e.g., their Double Mushroom Baozi had predominantly the earthy goodness of both types of Mushrooms and some Pork (minor), but when I ordered the Combination Baozi (San Hsien Bao), the Marinated Ground Pork, Shrimp and Sea Cucumber combined for a much more robust, meaty flavor.

                                                                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                    dear mother of god the pan fried mushroom/pork dumplings were good

                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                      Aren't they! I haven't taken apart the menu yet but so far I think that the double mushroom/pork and the pumpkin/shrimp mark the outer boundaries for them -- the mushroom/pork offering a very strong and bold flavor combination while the pumpkin/shrimp have a more subtle and delicate profile. It's simple food but done so right. I hate to sound cliche but these guys are putting some serious love into this food. they always seem to be enjoying themselves and they are genuinely excited to feed their customers.

                                                                                    2. re: exilekiss

                                                                                      We had the pumpkin & shrimp and the scallop & pork steam dumplings, cabbage and pork bao, and the combination bao.

                                                                                      I think the pumpkin & shrimp was the best out of the lot, but not as juicy as say the ones at 101 Noodle, but the shrimps at Noodle House has more crunch. I really can't tell a big difference taste wise between the combination and the cabbage/pork baos. The combination has a lot of sea cucumbers, which added to the texture, but sea cucumbers didn't have very strong flavors.

                                                                                      Maybe the term I am struggle to say is that I didn't find their dumplings and bao as savory or has as much umami, as some of the others. For instance, I like Yei Mei's pork/cabbage bao's filling better, but I really love their skins/wrappings.

                                                                                      Another thing that's weird is that after the meal yesterday, and the reheated lunch today, I had very dry mouth & was very thirsty, which normally for me is an indication of MSG, which you said they don't use. Wonder if others had the same reaction?

                                                                                  2. Not to dismiss Noodle House, but Dean Sin World on Atlantic also does din tai fung + dumplings wrapped / steamed / boiled to order.

                                                                                    that is all..

                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                                      and I gotta say "Dean Sin World" sounds so much naughtier!

                                                                                      Where is this Sin World, and what kind of man is the Dean?

                                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                                        See also Chow digest mentioning Dean Sin World with additional link.

                                                                                        http://www.chow.com/digest/5610

                                                                                        1. re: Diana

                                                                                          LOL. Dean isn't referring to an actual person, its just the phonetic mandarin translation of dim sum. So the name in Cantonese would be Dim Sum World. In Pinyin, it would be Dian Xing (Xin) World

                                                                                        2. re: TonyC

                                                                                          what are those? are they xiaolongbao?

                                                                                          if so, i'd be surprised to find them in a northern style jiaozi-guan like the one being described here.

                                                                                          Also, real guo-tieh pot stickers aren't just the shuijiao boiled or steamed dumplings that are cooked with oil. those would be called jian-jiaozi. real potstickers should be made with a thicker skin and with a loose slurry that forms a skin which sticks them to the side of a pan forming a very thin crunchy flour skin that's delicious and fun to eat.

                                                                                          1. re: Jerome

                                                                                            Jerome, you're makin' me hungry. My father in law in Taiwan made potstickers for us in this way. The slurry forms a sort of guo tieh pancake which slides out of the pan in one piece. You can then break it up so that each potstickers had a halo of flaky crispiness attached to it.

                                                                                            When we were last there a year ago, I tried to take notes in order to imitate his technique (which involves several steps of heating and steaming, lid on and lid off) however my notes were inadequate. I'll need to take a video of his technique next time.

                                                                                            Where can one find potstickers of this type in Los Angeles?

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                              deerfield garden used to have them like this, as did the Rosemead Quanjude. I imagine that some of the shandong places might make it, but I haven't seen them in a while - deerfield has a different chef now (or did when i was last there, which is a while ago) and the potstickers are generic, meaning fried jiaozi.

                                                                                          2. re: TonyC

                                                                                            you ask, and I supply.

                                                                                            Unfortunately, Dean Sin is phonetically translated from: 點心 , which literally means snack. Dean's actually 2 supposed sisters who work the dough.

                                                                                            it was previously mentioned here in this post:
                                                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/514839

                                                                                            while I want to get excited by a steaming pile of hot white carb mess (aka, baozi, aka, mantou?) OP mentioned, it's doesn't amount to much without accompaniment.

                                                                                            Dean Sin carries 5 types of dumplings, 3 types of wontons, panfried dumplings (not sure of which variety), shen jian bao, man tou and my fave, jiou nian (Wine Blew on menu), fermented rice in wine sauce, also made in house.

                                                                                            naughty indeed.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Dean Sin World
                                                                                            306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                            1. re: TonyC

                                                                                              Thanks for the post. Another place to try. Jiou nian brings back good memories. I assume you can get those with the rice balls?

                                                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                I tried out Dean Sin World, or Tastio Bakery tonight. It's only open until 6PM.

                                                                                              2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                Totally different animal, but thank you for this rec. Certainly way up on the list of things to try for me.

                                                                                                Thanks!

                                                                                              3. Well I'll throw my two cents in - after reading this thread, who could resist? My wife and I went to Noodle House for dinner tonight. Small, plain place but to their credit they don't smash the tables together. Staff very friendly. We had onion pancakes (like everyone says, not at all greasy), pastry-wrapped beef, and steamed pork/cabbage dumplings. The pancakes were very good and also came in a generous portion. Tasty, hot, just the right texture. The beef and scallions wrapped in a pancake or pastry was good, too with fresh ingredients and generously portioned. The dumplings were the jewels of the evening - figuratively and nearly literally. Large dumplings in a translucent dough that had the perfect chew and texture, the filling was delicious. A good portion of ground pork mixed with cabbage, and clear/clean-tasting broth that was not at all greasy. One of the cooks, maybe it was the owner, came out to tell us there was no MSG and no grease. We mentioned to another how we heard about the place on CH and she said yes, they've been getting lots of customers through the internet. The bill was a very reasonable $14.58 for the three dishes. We weren't real adventurous tonight but we plan on going back and trying lots of other menu items. The food is simple but done very, very well and the people are nice. For sure we will be returning! Thanks, exilekiss, for alerting us to this place!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: monkuboy

                                                                                                  Hi monkuboy,

                                                                                                  Thanks for the nice report! :)

                                                                                                  I'm glad you enjoyed the food - your description has got me thinking about their Dumplings again, argh! (^_~)...

                                                                                                  Next time you go, definitely give one of the Steamed Buns (Baozi) a try; it's a standout at the restaurant and arguably their signature item (but their fresh Dumplings are just as great as well, IMHO :).

                                                                                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                    Well we plan on returning often so we'll take your recommendations! Also, I am very sensitive to MSG like you, and I felt no effects whatsoever after the meal. Thanks again!

                                                                                                2. Great report!

                                                                                                  We tried it tonight - I ended up randomly running into my uncle there which was a good sign since he's friends with a few restauranteurs in the SGV and generally has pretty great taste in Chinese food.

                                                                                                  Overall, I thought it was great and I'll definitely want to go again to try other dumplings but I still think Luscious Dumplings is better at boiled dumplings: they have a thinner skin and more reasonably modest filling portions.

                                                                                                  I do agree, however, that the green onion pancakes were excellent, best I've had in recent memory.

                                                                                                  here's what we got:

                                                                                                  Double mushroom steamed buns: I'm not a big fan of buns but I thought these were great. Excellent flavor and freshly steamed buns are wonderful.

                                                                                                  Pork and leek buns: Good, not great. The leeks overpowered everything else; I wouldn't order this again.

                                                                                                  Combination seafood dumplings: Not bad but I think I still prefer my dumplings with pork. I wouldn't get this again but if you like seafood, especially shrimp, it's a good order.

                                                                                                  Pumpkin with shrimp dumplings: Excellent. A signature dish and nothing like I would have expected. Definitely would order again.

                                                                                                  Cold sesame noodles: Really well done. Light, flavorful and an ideal summer choice.

                                                                                                  We had four adults, two kids. Total bill for 2 dumplings, 2 buns and a noodle? $40.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: odub

                                                                                                    Thanks for the report odub. :) Glad you liked it.

                                                                                                    What's weird is that I thought Luscious had a thicker skin (IMHO) than Noodle House, and I liked the variety of flavors more than Luscious' limited flavors and more limited menu, but they definitely have good execution.

                                                                                                    If you like Steamed or Pan-Fried Dumplings, you can order any of the Dumplings on the menu in that method over Boiled as an option.

                                                                                                    That's so awesome about the bill! 4 Adults and 2 Kids and you only spent $40 total! :) It's such a great bargain, I'm still in shock.

                                                                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                      I'm used to a small handful of dumpling choices so personally, I think the menu at both NH and LD are pretty remarkable in their size and scope. Didn't realize you could get the dumplings cooked different ways - though now that I look at the take-out menu, that makes sense.

                                                                                                      Maybe it's just my childhood pref, but I tend to like boiled, at least as a basic staple-style (i.e. if you can't nail a good boiled dumpling, that's a problem) and as noted, I thought NH does a great boiled dumpling.

                                                                                                      Need to try more noodles. It is, after all, noodle house!

                                                                                                  2. Ok - I tried this yesterday with a large group of people so we basically sampled every dumpling, scallion pancake, fish ball soup, beef roll, cold noodles. I think everything is great, made to order is such a real find and the prices are so cheap it's ridiculous. Love the steamed buns w/ pork and green beans. Nice texture to it, fluffy pillowy wrapper. Favorites were the shrimp and tofu steamed dumpling, pumpkin pan fried, pork w/ celery. Did not like the double mushroom for some reason. Honestly that's just a preference thing at this point since I do not like wood ear.

                                                                                                    Hated the attitude given to me by the staff. Was dissuaded to order anything pan fried as it would take longer than everything else. Basically the waitress tried to bully our table into ordering boiled dumplings so we can eat fast and get out of there. Granted, I know that this is essentially a snack shop and not a lingering meal a la Michelin 3 star, but come on! If you don't want your patrons to order something, don't put it on the menu. We had a large party and tried almost every dumpling once. When we were done with our first round, some people wanted more food and the waitress gave me attitude again "why didn't you put all this in the first time?" I was appalled.

                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: tissue

                                                                                                      where you guys the group (10 people i think?) there @ 1pm....sitting in the middle of the resto? cause i was standing outside waiting for you guys to finish so that i could eat. haha!

                                                                                                      btw, the attitude is standard. however, for some reason the service that i have encountered at noodle house my 2x out there has been far above average comapred to other resto's in the sgv.

                                                                                                      1. re: wilafur

                                                                                                        We only have gone once but the service was better than the usual Chinese place in the SGV - the wait staff actually smiled. And said goodbye and thank you when we left.

                                                                                                        1. re: monkuboy

                                                                                                          yep, i was actually startled when they said "tsie, tsie...man man zhou" as i left. the last time i heard this was in beijing. lols.

                                                                                                      2. re: tissue

                                                                                                        i had the same issue in regards to ordering pan fried dumplings. she told me that they were too busy to make them at the time. odd thing was, the restaurant wasn't full, there was no one waiting outside, and it was almost closing time (2pm or so).
                                                                                                        i also wanted to order a couple things at a time but was then asked to put in my order, all at once. then, on top of that, the waitress pushed us to order more food for the table by telling us "that is not enough food for three. you should order one more dish..." which was totally not necessary since we had already ordered more than enough for the three of us (a cold dish, chive/beef pancakes, an order of buns, and an order of dumplings). we ended up ordering an extra fish ball soup, which was DELICIOUS but, with that, it was just TOO MUCH FOOD. we would've been perfectly content with our original order.
                                                                                                        i must say that i felt really bullied in several ways...
                                                                                                        however, the food was so darn good that i am willing to drive the 30 miles in L.A. traffic to eat here again but am not sure how much more bullying i'm willing to take, regardless of the food.

                                                                                                        1. re: banquisha

                                                                                                          Just say no.

                                                                                                          1. re: AndyGanil

                                                                                                            agreed. just be firm. they'll understand.

                                                                                                            1. re: AndyGanil

                                                                                                              even easier - if the staff is pressuring you, just say you'll keep a menu, see if you like the food, and see if you want to order more later.

                                                                                                              and then start talking with your friends.

                                                                                                            2. re: banquisha

                                                                                                              Hi banguisha,

                                                                                                              Thanks for the report. :) Like others have said, it's okay to just tell them "No, we're good enough for now."

                                                                                                              Thanks for reminding me about the Fish Ball Soup! I'll have to post a picture of it later. It was SO good! :)

                                                                                                            3. re: tissue

                                                                                                              Hi tissue,

                                                                                                              Glad you like most of the items on the menu (I love Wood Ear Mushrooms, so I didn't mind (^_~)). Sorry to hear about the waitress' comment; it's unfortunate, but I've never been rushed or forced not to order something on the menu the 4 times I've been there.

                                                                                                              I'm guessing the newfound popularity with the restaurant may be adding pressure to their staff, and they just don't know how to handle it? Regardless, for a hole-in-the-wall, mom&pop-type eatery in the San Gabriel Valley, I've had far, far worse service than what you described above. Not excusable, but just a note.

                                                                                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                Pretty standard for chinese/vietnamese restaurants I thought :)

                                                                                                                We're paying for food not ambiance!

                                                                                                                1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                  Do you think a $10 bill in the waitresses hand will ensure Pan Fried Bao and Dumplings for Dommy and I when We Go? ;-)

                                                                                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/540307

                                                                                                                  1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                                                                                    Hi Mattapoisett,

                                                                                                                    Hehehe, funny topic (and interesting)! :) I have no idea if that would work or not at Noodle House, but please report back if you and Dommy decide to go; I'd love to hear about your experience. :)

                                                                                                              2. Thanks for recommendation. I took my parents there this past Saturday, we the first ones there at 11am. I had been telling my mom about this place based on your review, we were excited. I have grown up eating these dumplings, my mom would make them from scratch regularly. At home we would normally have ground pork with ginger, garlic, and scallions.

                                                                                                                We ordered the Pumpkin and Shrimp dumplings, the pork and leek steamed buns, pan fried pork and mushroom dumplings, green onion pancakes, beef roll, pickled cucumbers and the cold tripe plate. The standout for me was the Pumpkin and Shrimp dumplings, the ratio of filling to wrapper was amazing, my mom was most impressed by that. We also noticed that everything was seasoned very lightly. My mom thought that everything was very healthy tasting. But she likes the dumplings better at Luscious.

                                                                                                                These dumplings definitely stack up to the ones I've had in Taipei, Shanghai and my moms. The consistency of the hot water dough is great. But you can't beat mom's home cooking ;) Because we were the first ones there, the food came out relatively fast and the service was great. My mom chatted with the staff about where they were from. A region well know for there steamed buns. The price for all of our dishes came out to be about $35 without tip.

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: puppychao

                                                                                                                  so where were they from?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                    The server we spoke to said she was from Tianjing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: puppychao

                                                                                                                      You know this thread has gone on waaay too long when someone has already mentioned (like 3 or 4 times!!!!) that the owner/chef is originally from Tianjin......

                                                                                                                  2. re: puppychao

                                                                                                                    Hi puppychao,

                                                                                                                    Great to hear you enjoyed your visit, and that someone who's made Dumplings from scratch approved it as well. (^_~)

                                                                                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                      Yeah me and my family all make dumplings from scratch, as well as our friends. This is definitely up there especially in their choice and abundance of filling. My wife fries it Japanese style which is an added plus, but for Chinese style this is what I'm looking for in a dumpling. They really make the shrimp stand out in the shrimp/pumpkin filling.

                                                                                                                      Haven't tried their buns, though admittedly my other place is Din Tai Fun since it's just in my family's neighborhood.

                                                                                                                  3. Went on the weekend and had a great time. The portions are definitely generous, one order of dumplings will feed a healthy person. The shrimp and pumpkin dumplings were filled very well, full of shrimp flavor. Lightly seasoned, healthy home made taste. Double mushroom and pork were great too. The beef noodles were good, I especially liked the light flavoring.

                                                                                                                    Like you mentioned, it's a real great value at $6 or $7 for most entrees. I'm all about food over ambiance, and this place delivers on that. It's definitely a hole in the wall feel, but I hope it continues what it's doing. I took home some leftovers and they tasted great the next day.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: royaljester

                                                                                                                      Hi royaljester,

                                                                                                                      Nice report back! :) Give their Baozi (Steamed Buns) a try next time: Simple, tasty and delicious.

                                                                                                                    2. I tried this place last week. It was fantastic. It was everything the OP made it out to be. Thanks!!!
                                                                                                                      It was so good that we went again the day right after. Beats anything I've ever had even Din Tai Fung.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: AndyGanil

                                                                                                                        To be fair, Noodle House represents a totally different region and style of Chinese dishes, so it's not really fair or accurate to compare it directly to Din Tai Fung.

                                                                                                                        It's a bit like saying "North Carolina BBQ beats the pants off Texas BBQ." Sure, they're both BBQ, but really its apples & oranges.

                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          I was thinking this too the other day. At Din Tai Fun I always order shao long bao, but I imagine if I ordered dumplings it wouldn't be the same. Their dumplings are good, but not as special as Noodle House's. That said, in my five times at Din Tai Fun I've never found an alternative for shao long bao that was consistently as good. I plan to go to both places for their specialty.

                                                                                                                          It really comes down to what you order and what you're looking for. Now that Din Tai Fun has a much bigger location (the 2nd building), it's also a lot more accessible for me at 11am.

                                                                                                                        2. re: AndyGanil

                                                                                                                          Hi Andy,

                                                                                                                          Glad you liked it. I just recently had their Shrimp and Tofu Dumplings from a recommendation, and it was really good as well. :)

                                                                                                                        3. We just ate there today. For two pple, we had quite a feast.

                                                                                                                          FYI, I make dumplings from scratch at home and my wife always teased me if I have a restaurant I will lose money for the humongously-sized dumplings I make.

                                                                                                                          Today, I recognized the dumpling size at Noodle House. For about 70cents each, these folks work really hard. And we are talking about quality, home-cooked food as well.

                                                                                                                          Needless to say, we left a huge tip.

                                                                                                                          1. Hi, exilekiss

                                                                                                                            Thank you for the review. I really enjoy reading it. I went to your blog and read some of other review. I even sent your blog to my friend in Japan, so he can go to eat at the restaurant you mention. I wish I can write and photographed the pictures as good as you.

                                                                                                                            This restaurant is on my list along with the Kappa Hana that you review. Have you try Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa yet? It is one of my favorite place. I found out about this place in this chowhound. Sushi very fresh, very reasonable price with excellent service.
                                                                                                                            A lot of people on this broad love Sushi Shibucho so much. I would love to read your review and want to know what do you think about this place.

                                                                                                                            One thing I like about you is you can eat very expensive restaurant and at the hole-in-the- walls place.

                                                                                                                            Keep on writing...I love to read it. I think a lot of people feel the same way.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: travelbug2225

                                                                                                                              Hi travelbug2225,

                                                                                                                              Thanks for your kind words, doumo! :)

                                                                                                                              Yes, I've been to Shibucho many times. Shibutani-san is a really cool itamae and I still enjoy a meal with him once in a while (when I'm in the area). It's one of the places I take for granted and will have to write a "retro" review one of these days, writing about restaurants I've been to many times in the past and just never think about reviewing them.

                                                                                                                              Thanks again! :)

                                                                                                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                you know - i'm still looking forward to tryings this place. one issue - baozi and jiaozi seem dismissed as "simple" in your review. I'm not so sure. They may not be as complex as some dishes, but here are some photos (not mine) that show they can really be something special.
                                                                                                                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulterior...

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                  Hi Jerome,

                                                                                                                                  I look forward to your report back. (^_^)

                                                                                                                                  Oh, please don't take my comment the wrong way: I stated that for the general public reading the review. The Baozi and Jiaozi at Noodle House are nowhere as pretty as the ones in your link (nice place!), but I highly respect any food that's made from the heart, that's so well done (see my final Review Score :). I just wanted to put out that caveat for anyone reading the review and thinking Noodle House might be really fancy or as delicate / complex as versions shown in your link.

                                                                                                                                  It's rustic, beautiful food that nourishes the soul. :)

                                                                                                                            2. Do they have any 100% fish only dumplings, or just veggie dumplings?

                                                                                                                              Thanks.

                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                Not sure there are such things as "100% fish only dumplings".

                                                                                                                                Most -- if not all -- fish dumplings come with chives (or some other vegetable, like nappa cabbage) mixed into the dumpling filling.

                                                                                                                                A dumpling with a solid block of fish wouldn't be very appetizing.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                  Sorry, Ipse.

                                                                                                                                  Let me clairfy, veggies are all right. Just 100% pork free dumplings might make more sense. So veggies and the fish is valid as the contents of the dumpling.

                                                                                                                                2. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                  their white fish dumpling is very close to being 100% fish. it's basically 95% fish and 5% ground pork. not that it would help a pescetarian or anything....lol.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wilafur

                                                                                                                                    so none of the fish dumplings are pork free?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                      can't say for 100% as i've only tried the white fish/pork dumpling.

                                                                                                                                      give them a call. they have a couple people on staff that speak english quite well.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                    Hi kevin,

                                                                                                                                    As others have said their Fish Dumplings contain a tiny bit of Pork in them. From their menu, they have:

                                                                                                                                    * Jio Tsai Baozi ("Leeks" (really Jio Tsai Vegetable Steamed Bun)
                                                                                                                                    * Bai Tsai Baozi (Nappa Cabbage Steamed Bun)
                                                                                                                                    * Tsong Yoh Bing (Green Onion Pancake)
                                                                                                                                    * Fish Ball Noodle Soup (need to check w/ them on this one)

                                                                                                                                    that are Pescatarian / Vegetarian-friendly.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                      all the shandong places have at least one or two fish and vegetable dumplings. 101 noodle has rock cod dumlings (shi ban) and I think they have sole as well.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                        You're asking a lot from the good folks in most SGV food joints by demanding pork-free dumpling filling.

                                                                                                                                        In my experience both as a customer and as a cook, the various fillings in most non-Buddhist Chinese dumplings contain some degree of meat or meat juice for emulsifying/consistency purposes.

                                                                                                                                        I know I know... So not kosher, but as most Chinese will agree, oh so good....

                                                                                                                                    2. this may be a silly question...but is there a decent dumpling house (or noodle house or dim sum for that matter) in South Orange County? we are salivating over these reviews, but a drive to SGV for dinner is not an option unfortunately. Sigh...

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jcam4693

                                                                                                                                        A&J's at 4805 Jeffrey Road, Irvine has a good beef noodle soup, and their pan fried beef bun is good as well. Not really quite like Noodle House (no steamed dumplings or baos).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                          Do they have baked buns too?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jeryy

                                                                                                                                            Nope, but neither does Noodle House (the baos are steamed).

                                                                                                                                            Baked buns you have to go to a Chinese bakery or a dim sum place.

                                                                                                                                      2. Based on the overall rave reviews from this thread, I went there Friday for lunch and had sort of a mixed experience.

                                                                                                                                        On the plus side, the green onion pancake was probably the best I'd ever had. It was a huge order, and I appreciated that is was so much lighter than most other places. After the first few bites, I thought that the lack of oil might have sacrificed flavor, but then something seemed to kick in and before I knew it I had eaten almost the entire large order. Those green onion pancake was definitely the highlight of the meal.

                                                                                                                                        The main hook that sent me to Noodle House was the pumpkin shrimp dumplings everyone's been raving about. exilekiss said she still liked it even though she wasn't much of a pumpkin person and the taste was somewhat lost... Well I AM a pumpkin person so I was very eager to try these. I saw that you could order any dumpling in one of three modes: "water" (boiled), steamed or potsticker style. I asked to have them potsticker style but the waitress said they only boiled or steamed them. When I asked which way was better she said, "whatever way you like." So I got them steamed.

                                                                                                                                        I have to say I wasn't very impressed with these dumplings. They made me realize that I'm not so much of a pumpkin person as I am a pumpkin/sage/nutmeg/drizzled-in-butter person. Just little chards of pumpkin along with some chunks of somewhat dry shrimp didn't really have any taste at all, and steaming the dumplings just seemed to dry the dumplings out even more. I ate three of them and stacked the rest in a pile next to what little was left of the green onion pancake to take home.

                                                                                                                                        Even though I was pretty much full I wasn't satisfied: I still wanted to sample at least one other thing before I left. I'm not a baio person (although maybe I should have tried one anyway in the hopes of becoming a baio person), so I ordered pork and leek dumplings, boiled this time (because again, the waitress said they don't do any of the dumplings "potsticker style" anymore.) When I got them I cut into one first -- thank God, because some of the pork was still completely raw. Not undercooked, raw. I pointed it out to the manager and he gasped in horror and rushed it back to the kitchen, where he showed the cooks and they all gasped. He eventually gave me a properly cooked order and apologized profusely, and said the single dumpling to replace the broken one was on its way.

                                                                                                                                        So I tried them -- well, I don't know if it was the boiled versus steamed factor, or the pork/leek versus shrimp/pumpkin factor, but the pork/leek dumplings boiled were far better than the pumpkin/shrimp steamed, in my opinion. Very juicy. More similar to the XLB at J&J or the boiled dumplings at Luscious Dumpling, although like notmartha said, these didn't have the sublime taste that LD's dumplings do.
                                                                                                                                        By this time I was almost full anyway, so I only ate three of them and took the rest to go, including the "replacement" dumpling the waitress slid onto my plate. The manager later came to check that I had gotten my replacement dumpling, and I appreciated his concern. I asked him, "so you don't serve any of the dumplings potsticker-style anymore?" To which he responded, yes, of course, and he pointed to the "potsticker" option next the all the dumplings on the menu. I told him how the waitress said they're not done potsticker style anymore. He responded, "she doesn't know...next time, ask ME!" Um, ok. I left $20 to cover the bill, tax and tip and took half the food to go. Dumplings don't travel well and all leftovers ended up in the trash.

                                                                                                                                        Bottom line is that I personally prefer Luscious Dumpling over Noodle House for two reasons: First, maybe it's because I didn't order "correctly" at NH, but I simply prefer LD's dumplings (which are also "homemade") to those of NH, especially either of the two pan fried options at LD. They seem tastier to me, better seasoned. Second, unfortunately, I'm usually dining alone in the SGV, and at LD I can get a combo for 5 dumplings of my choice and a tasty beef and veggie noodle soup for $6. At NH they don't have combo's so I would have to spend more to get a variety. Sure I would get more food but leftovers aren't worth taking home.

                                                                                                                                        But, there were enough pluses about Noodle House to make it part of my SGV rotation. NH has much more to choose from. I also really appreciated the friendly staff, which is a rare find in the SGV indeed. I'll also go back when I can get there with at least one other person, or better yet, a small group, and/or if i'm in the mood for those wonderful green onion pancakes. I think next time I should be able to order better, if only to get some of the dumplings potsticker style.

                                                                                                                                        25 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the very thoughtful review. I too am a mostly solo diner, but I didn't know you could do the combo of 5 dumplings of any kind. Very useful info. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                            Thanks... re Luscious Dumpling, yeah, the combos are written in Chinese on the menu so unless you can read and speak it, just tell the waiter (you know, the guy who looks like he just pedaled back from the Tour de France) exactly what you want in your combo (any soup and a half order of any of the dumplings for $6.) The first listed soup (a beef noodle) and the second-to last listed dumpling (pan fried pork, etc. dumplings) combo is a match made in a very affordable heaven.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                              just to add the 101 noodle express info - you can combine any two varieities on a plate (5+5 dumplings) as many times as you like. this can increase the variety if you're dining with fewer than six.
                                                                                                                                              For specials - theyr'e very traditional there is an order group for $6 of dumplings and noodles - you get five dumplings (choice of vegetarian, potk with celery, or with chinese leeks [jiu-cai], or with 薺菜 shepherd's purse - a wild vegetable, or with bok choy , or with huixiang-
                                                                                                                                              fennel (maybe seeds, or leaves or roots, i can't tell, it's chopped up fine). You get five dumplings on the soup with noodles. one big bowl

                                                                                                                                              btw they also sell the sweet beijing either drinkable- or eat with a spoon - yogurt at 101 noodle now. Again - cross posting, but i went to the shop on main st (137 w) in alhambra - you can get it frozen as wel and with pinkberryish mix-ins.

                                                                                                                                              should wipe pinkberry off the map - it's real yogurt, if this were a just world.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                The real "destination dish" at 101 Noodle Express is their beef roll.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                            Hi chowmominLA,

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the detailed report back. Sorry to hear about your experience (side note, I'm a he not a she :). If I may mention a few things: IMHO, Noodle House's strengths are in both its made-to-order Dumplings, but especially their Steamed Buns (Baozi). It's one of the only restaurants (the only one I've ever seen) here in LA that makes the entire Steamed Bun to order, when you order, rolling out the dough, etc.

                                                                                                                                            I agree with you that Luscious Dumplings' fillings are more seasoned than Noodle House, but I actually find Luscious Dumpling to be too heavy-handed in its seasoning. Also, another difference is that Noodle House rolls out their skin and stuffs them on the spot. Many places have "homemade," but they're wrapped in the morning (night before, etc.) and kept in the fridge or freezer. There's a noticeable difference in the suppleness of the skin that can *only* be had when it's done fresh this way. I was schooled by a couple of my Dumpling Hounds on this in the past, but it's subtle, so if one isn't looking for it, they may not notice it. Again, your mileage may vary. :) (All my Dumpling Hounds prefer Noodle House, 101 Noodle Express and Dumpling 10053 to Luscious.)

                                                                                                                                            Also, comparing "either of the two pan fried options at LD" to the steamed and boiled dumplings you had at Noodle House isn't a fair comparison. Although I agree that it's a *great* Lunch Combo deal at Luscious when you can order a small order of 5 Dumplings and a Noodle Soup for $6! That's definitely one of the best things at Luscious. :)

                                                                                                                                            The Pan-Fried Dumplings at Noodle House are only made now when the kitchen isn't backed up. That's what the manager told me the last time I went. Since Pan-Fried takes the most time out of the various Dumpling options, when they're too busy with orders, they've been requesting the customers to not order them.

                                                                                                                                            Ultimately, if you decide to go back to Noodle House, feel free to try an order one of their made-from-scratch, made-to-order Steamed Buns, but if you're not a Baozi fan that's understandable. I appreciate Noodle House's variety of flavors (for Buns and Dumplings) as well (compared to Luscious); perhaps try the "Combination Seafood Dumpling" (with Marinated Ground Pork, Shrimp, and Sea Cucumber). Their Fish, Pork with Vegetables Dumpling that I reviewed originally is so wonderful, but it's on the lighter side, so if you want the stronger seasoning, that may not be for you. In general, Noodle House's selection are definitely on the lighter side (i.e., less salty, no MSG). It depends what someone's looking for. I enjoy Noodle House because it's not overly seasoned, too salty, and has no MSG. It reminds me of the purity of the dish, and while I've only had homemade Dumplings from a Chinese friend's family once years ago, I understand why my Dumpling Hounds and Chinese Cuisine Hounds love Noodle House (and 101 Noodle Express and Dumplings 10053).

                                                                                                                                            But that's what makes food so fun for everyone: Certain flavor combinations, spices, seasonings, etc. have different effects for each person tasting the same dish. (^_^)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                              I'm not much of a bao person either but the bao at Noodle House are quite wonderful. Next time consider getting an order. I really liked the double mushroom and the pork/green onion. Also, our SCARF group last Tuesday asked for some of our dumplings to be pan-fried posticker style and we were turned down and told they don't do them that way (the picture on the wall notwithstanding). And they weren't much help when asking whether we should have water-boiled or steamed, I think we opted for water-boiled for most if not all of them, maybe one of the orders was steamed. Definitely agree that the more people the better at this place, I would say a minimum of four people are needed to do it justice.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Debbie W

                                                                                                                                                exilekiss and Debbie W, thank you both so much for your thoughtful responses. And EK sorry for assuming you were a she! Re the dumplings, do you recommend boiled, steamed or potsticker style (when available?) I definitely will give the place another shot and try a bao and the combo seafood dumplings. And definitely get the green onion pancake again too. As I said, regardless of the mixed experience on my first visit (as first visits often are), I think it's got enough pluses to add it to my SGV reperatoire.

                                                                                                                                                Thanks again!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Debbie W

                                                                                                                                                  I was craving those green onion pancakes so I gave Noodle House a second chance today for lunch. Overall much better than my first experience a few weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                  I ordered the combo seafood dumplings "water" style because they refused (again) to make anything potsticker style. Which was annoying because (A), the guy who took my order was the same guy who had promised me last time, "Next time, just ask ME" for potsticker style dumplings... and (B) they weren't even crowded when I ordered: only three other tables were occupied at the time. But I wasn't in the mood to whine over the method so whatever... boiled would be fine. I also ordered the pork and leek baos as suggested by y'all. And of course I ordered the green onion pancake.

                                                                                                                                                  As with the first visit, the green onion pancake came out first, and the first bite seems to lack flavor but then something kicks in and before you know it they're almost all gone before getting anything else.

                                                                                                                                                  Then came the baos. As I've said I am not one for baos, having been subjected throughout my childhood to so many dried out wads of bread with a flimsy piece of char siu inside. But I trust you CHers and ordered them anyway and as promised, they were delicious. The bun was soft and supple and the bun-to-meat ratio was perfect. The meat was juicy and tasty inside and had much more flavor than the steamed shrimp and pumpkin dumplings I had on my first visit. However, having eaten almost all the green onion pancake and knowing dumplings were on the way, I could only eat two and packed the rest to go.

                                                                                                                                                  The boiled combo seafood dumplings came next and were also delicious. Definitely a lot of pork in there, but that's okay because for me the pork balanced the seafood out nicely. Again these were much better than the steamed dumplings from last visit. I was able to eat two or three and then took the rest to go.

                                                                                                                                                  So yeah, boiled is the way to go. Unless you are lucky enough to get potsticker style...

                                                                                                                                                  Was still annoyed at having to pay over $20 for lunch again in order to get a good sampling, but oh well. Hopefully my leftovers will keep better than they did the last visit and the $20 will cover dinner for me and my toddler tonight too.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                                    I think the only time I've been able to coax them into potstickers is when I've gone first thing when they open. (They are very good).

                                                                                                                                                    I still haven't been able to convince them to make the leak pockets for me, though.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                                      Why insist on a dish that is simply not on the menu?

                                                                                                                                                      If you must have potstickers, just get the boiled dumplings, take them home, get out your pan, and make the potstickers yourself! It takes like 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                      Unlike the throngs on this post, I feel the scallion pancakes at Noodle House are simply so-so. Not salty enough.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                        according to the menu, they prepare all the dumplings in any of the following three methods:

                                                                                                                                                        boiled, steamed or pan fried.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wilafur

                                                                                                                                                          and they go out of the way to make you feel like they would make them if they could. A few weeks ago they said to me their Grill/griddle was broken and if I came back in a few days when it was fixed, they could make them for me.

                                                                                                                                                          Not Likely.

                                                                                                                                                          - P.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wilafur

                                                                                                                                                            Then their menu has changed. Potsticker-style was NOT on the menu when I went a month and a half ago. I even asked the owner. Not on the menu, she said.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                              the first time i went to noodle house was @ 6 weeks ago (7/12) and they had all three preparations listed. went back basically every other weekend since then with the last trip being this weekend..guess what? all three preparations listed. hmm.....

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wilafur

                                                                                                                                                                I'm sticking to my story. Like I said, I even asked the owner.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                                  We were there a few weeks back and guotier were definitely on the menu (my wife is from Taiwan and is fully fluent and literate in Mandarin)

                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                            Having had the boiled dumplings pan fried at home, and the potstickers at noodle house, they are NOT the same.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                              true that. you need to cook them when raw in a an oil and water bath that evaporates as the potstickers cook.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                              "Why insist on a dish that is simply not on the menu?"

                                                                                                                                                              Yeah like others said, it IS on the menu and not qualified in any way as being available only during certain non-peak times. And I didn't insist on it, I just ordered them boiled. Even though the sameguy had promised pan fried "next time", and even thoughthey weren't that busy. In retrospect Ishouldhave said something.

                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, I pan fried some of the boiled leftover dumplings and microwaved the others. The pan fried ones were better than the nuked ones. But probably not as good as if I'd gotten them that way to begin with. Definitely not as good as Luscious Dumpling, which would always accommodate that method. Also not as good as theonesI make myself.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                                I went this Sunday at about 1:30 and tried to order the pot sticker through my waiter (some cantankerous dude with glasses) and he simply told me that they "didn't have any." So I sat and contemplated over what to order a little longer and asked another waitress (the one I had last time) when I might be able to come back and order pot stickers since she told me that they were "too busy to make them." She said that since they weren't busy, she'll ask the kitchen to make them for me. So, voila! Out came my order, POT STICKER STYLE!
                                                                                                                                                                I could see that another dude who came in after me got to order them too.
                                                                                                                                                                After this trip, I don't think I'll be going back because I too ran into the problem of undercooked pork in the bao... no bueno!

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: chowmominLA

                                                                                                                                                            thanks for the review. good to know that they do make potstickers.

                                                                                                                                                            "Dumplings don't travel well and all leftovers ended up in the trash." that's a bummer, did they boil your dumplings too long? i've taken home leftovers from noodle house and everything from the baozi's to noodles to dumplings have always traveled well.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wilafur

                                                                                                                                                              yeah I love dumplings as leftovers. Makes great lunch the next day.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                Right, in any Shandong household, yesterday's left over boiled dumplings are today's tasty pan-fried dumpling. That's the reason you normally don't find "pan-fried dumpling" as a restaurant menu item. Instead, potstickers are invented to fill that void.

                                                                                                                                                                A proper pan-fried dumpling is normally a boiled dumpling which had cooled down, and then pan-fried. While a pot-sticker, the skin is different and is pan-fried directly without going through the boiling stage. So you can see that in terms of troublesome-factor, pan-fried dumpling ranks the highest, then pot stickers, and finally boiled dumplings (and lastly steamed dumplings)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tanspace

                                                                                                                                                                  exactly - jianjiao are leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                  guo-tie'r are different and should have that fried slurry skin.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jerome

                                                                                                                                                                    Coincidently just finished enjoying my leftovers from 101 Noodle Express with my son. I had 5 pumpkin/pork/shrimp pan fried dumplings and a half order of a beef roll left over from lunch (posted about lunch on the 101 thread), and simply toasted all of it for a few minutes in the toaster oven. It tasted almost as good as lunch. My son loved it too.

                                                                                                                                                          4. My husband and I tried Noodle House for lunch on Saturday. We enjoyed trying the place out, but ultimately, we weren't overly impressed. Like others have mentioned, our main issue was the underseasoning of the dumplings. They just tasted bland.
                                                                                                                                                            We got the shrimp/pumpkin (which I think also contained pork, so I stopped eating them immediately - why don't they put that on the menu?????), the double mushroom/pork (for him), a green onion pancake, and the leek bao.

                                                                                                                                                            The green onion pancake was one of the better ones we've had. And I enjoyed the leek steamed bun once I added some chili, soy, and vinegar to it. My husband thought pretty much everything was too bland.

                                                                                                                                                            The server did seem particularly concerned that we enjoyed our food - checking on our replacement dumplings (I guess they break when boiling) and making sure everything was OK when we asked for a lot of our food to be wrapped up to take home.

                                                                                                                                                            I would have liked to have tried some of the cold appetizers - like the seaweed/bean curd skin/garlic thing or the seaweed salad, but two of us can only eat so much. While we did enjoy the experience of trying a new place, we probably won't be back anytime soon. Next weekend we're going to check out Green Village.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: redbobsled

                                                                                                                                                              Try Dumpling 10053 sometime if you get a chance.

                                                                                                                                                              FWIW, my mother (who I trust like a blind squirrel on all things dumpling-related) tried this place a couple of days ago and left unimpressed. The wrappers were too flimsly and the fillings tasted like the flavors never had time to mingle and become "one". Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: redbobsled

                                                                                                                                                                redbobsled, I was also there last Saturday at Noodle House.

                                                                                                                                                                You're right in that the filling was underseasoned that day. I went with my family a few weeks ago, and it was perfect for us. Indeed, the shrimp pumpkin dumpling was the only one that has a similar flavor profile to my family's dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                If you're looking for a strong pumpkin flavor, this isn't it. The pumpkin adds a sweetness to balance with the salt/soy/whatever else is in there.

                                                                                                                                                                Alas, Saturday's flavors were a bit off. It also seemed like the dumplings weren't as juicy as the first time we went. I'm sure it was just a blip because I'll keep going for their beef tendon noodle. Thanks exilekiss!

                                                                                                                                                              2. I can't eat wheat. What is your opinion are most dumplings in LA made with rice flour or wheat flour. If you don't know how would I go about asking the restaurant?

                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hershey Bomar

                                                                                                                                                                  I think dumplings are a generic term for anything that can be wrapped in a dough of some sort. Although most chinese dumplings referred to on this board are the northern style jiaozi.

                                                                                                                                                                  So the only rice wrapped chinese 'dumplings' I am aware of are the dim-sum type such as hargow (shrimp dumplings). The shaumai are egg based with wheat wrapping, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                                  I think it's relatively easy to tell - rice based wrappers are white in color, and the wheat based are more a beigey color, and the egg ones are a tad yellow. Although like Jerome pointed out - if you are deathly allergic, ask first.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                    This is also the case with Russian dumplings, vareniki and pelmeni, which are often incorrectly but commonly referred to as pierogi.

                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Hershey Bomar

                                                                                                                                                                    A digression about dumplings has been moved to the General Chowhounding board, here:http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5506...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                                      We're having a problem with the redirect for the dumpling digression on General Chowhounding. We regret the inconvenience and hope to recover it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                                        Gosh, a "dumpling digression" sounds great!

                                                                                                                                                                        Sort of like a pub crawl, but with dumplings! I think I'll put one together!

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Had dinner there a couple nights ago. I ordered: pickled cabbage salad, corn soup, green onion pancake, pumpkin and shrimp dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                    The pickled cabbage salad was nothing special, but good enough for me to eat it all. It came topped with a couple carrot slivers and a few jalapeno slices.

                                                                                                                                                                    The waitress brought out the corn soup and said "Oh, it's sooo good." There was enough for two. It was sort of like cream of wheat made with corn meal, but more watery. Other than salt, I don't think there was any seasoning. If you like the flavor of corn, this stuff is for you.

                                                                                                                                                                    The green onion pancakes were indeed less oily and more dense with onions than those I've had at, for example, Mandarin Noodle House (Garvey just east of Atlantic). Looked like whole wheat. Quite hearty and worth trying. I also liked the table soy sauce, but there was no vinegar. (Apparently I should have asked for it.)

                                                                                                                                                                    The dumplings were warm and the shrimp inside plump. I had them "watery" style.

                                                                                                                                                                    For me, the weakest point of the experience was the atmosphere. I found it a bit cold with the fluorescent lights and mirrored wall.

                                                                                                                                                                    The second weakest point was the parking lot. About 10 minutes after I sat down, I looked out and saw a half dozen guys standing around my car. I was concerned. Then I figured out there's a traffic school (or something else?) in one of the other store fronts. These guys were on their smoking break. Ten minutes later they all went back to class.

                                                                                                                                                                    Another interesting thing about that mini mall is the store front that says "Chinese Traumatology." Never seen that term before. Guess it has to do with acupuncture.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Great review. Are you talking about the restaurant that has a somewhat orange/red exterior, its own little parking area and is just up from the intersection of Atlantic and Garvey? If so, I totally concur on their great food -- we've been eating their beef noodle soup, dumplings and scallion pancakes for years, but I do believe that their soups contain MSG, if this is the same place we are talking about. In fact, lots of MSG.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NAspy

                                                                                                                                                                        Totally different place. Google the address.

                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NAspy

                                                                                                                                                                          Hi NAspy,

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks. As Mr Taster said, totally different place. Click the Place Link on the Right-side Nav Bar above. :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank You!! We'll try it out for lunch soon!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Dropped by here on Friday evening, and really enjoyed the meal. Had 2 of the buns, the seafood combination and pork with cabbage (or some other vegetable, I forget exactly). Had 2 of the dumplings, scallop with pork (boiled), and shrimp & tofu (steamed). Also had the Northern style pork noodle soup, which was surprisingly good, after reading some of the mixed reviews by others on the noodles and soup.

                                                                                                                                                                          Place is getting popular, as there were at least 3 groups of people waiting to eat when we left at around 8:30PM.

                                                                                                                                                                          I did drive by the other Noodle House on Atlantic & Garvey, and at first thought I wrote down the wrong address. But we kept driving to the correct address and were relieved to find the Noodle House in this review. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Wonginator

                                                                                                                                                                            Hi Wonginator,

                                                                                                                                                                            Nice to see you made it out to Monterey Park! :) I haven't tried the Northern-style Pork Noodle Soup yet, so I'll have to try that next time, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                              Exilekiss, the dish was interesting, as it wasn't really a soup with a broth to it, like you described the beef tendon soup to be. It was more like a rice noodle dish, like wet-style chow fun, with a pretty thick gravy. They did serve it in a bowl, but they could've served it on a plate, and would've been fine. Pretty good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't try to order anything potsticker style after reading the mixed reactions from others, some who successfully got potstickers, some who didn't. We were happy ordering the boiled and steamed versions. Only thing we tried to figure out was how much to order for our party of 4. We ended up getting 5 items, but I think we could've gotten a 6th dish to fill everyone's appetites.

                                                                                                                                                                              But if others are able to successfully order potstickers consistently, we'll give those a try next time.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. A lot of Caucasian groups now, probably because of CH. The couple next to me didn't seem to enjoy their meal, they ordered about 2 dishes of baozi, ate about 2 of them, then chatted for the rest of the time and had the rest to go. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AndyGanil

                                                                                                                                                                              visiting from NY and decided to give noodle house a try. we ordered the pork and leek dumplings and the fish and yellow leek dumplings, as well as an order of scallion pancake. pretty good. i had my nits here and there, but overall, i'd come back.

                                                                                                                                                                              first, the skins were perfect. it's so hard to find well executed wrappers and these were fantastic. just the right thickness - too thick and its gummy, too thin and you don't get hte right "bite". and clearly very fresh as i tend to find old dough tends to lose its texture in dumplings / noodles.

                                                                                                                                                                              loved the fish filling. very subtle flavor, but you can taste each ingredient so well and with a dab of vinegar, yum. the pork and leek filling was ok. i've definitely had better. this was chock full of leek, which i generally like, but didn't have the aroma that i want in a dumpling. i wonder if its because they use a less fatty pork than i am used to, as the juice didn't seem all that greasy. whatever it was, it lacked a certain richness that my favorite dumplings houses in NY have.

                                                                                                                                                                              the scallion pancake was the best part of hte meal. a lot of places get lazy and deep fry mounds of dough. these were pan fried and had many layers of dough interspersed with lots of scallion. and again, the freshness of hte dough shines in this - i can't describe the texture but it should be crispy on the outside and then your teeth should feel a "springiness" in the dough as you bite the full way through. i only would have added a dash of salt to perfect this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                              anyways, we tend to hit the taiwanese spots whenwever we visit family here, because its so hard to find where i'm from, but thanks for helping my find this place. well worth the trip.

                                                                                                                                                                              and afterwards we hit up china islamic which is probalby my favorite place in this town.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                                                Hi FattyDumplin,

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for your report. Glad to hear you enjoyed the meal. :) If you go back next time, definitely give their Baozi (Steamed Buns) a try. One of my favorite things to eat there. :)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. On the basis of all these wonderful reviews, we went last weekend. We think you are spot on about the steamed dumplings. Normally, this is something we never order because they are so doughy. But the texture of the bun, and the ratio of filing to bun was perfect. We really enjoyed the mushroom and the pork/leek. However, we might be in the minority as far as what we thought of the rest of the dumplings. We ordered a number of the others and altered between steamed and boiled. (Based on the comments, we did not even attempt to order pan fried.) We tried shrimp and tofu, shrimp and pumpkin, the seafood combo, the pork and onion. While I thought the dumpling skins had amazing texture and lightness, we didn't care for the filings. The pumpkin was too al dente. The tofu was too thick and crumbly. The pork...well there was not enough of it. THe seafood was really just a fish cake, it was a white meatball. We didn't love any of them.

                                                                                                                                                                              We also got the beef/pancake wrap and the tendon noodle soup. The beef to me was not salty enough and lacked flavor. As for the soup, the tendon was a hearty and succulent piece that was more like oxtail than tendon. The noodles themselves were great. But as for the broth, because of the seasonings it was very reminiscent of Pho, and IMHO too salty. I LOVE a lot of salt so this is a weird comment coming from me. I found it not beefy enough.

                                                                                                                                                                              BTW, the male owner/mgr waited on us and it was the single best example of service we have ever had at a chinese restaurant of any caliber. He went out of his way (all unasked) to move us to a bigger table when he saw we were going nuts with ordering a lot. He made sure we had plenty of to go containers, staggered the dish arrivals, kept the beverages coming, and all in all was extraordinary.

                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wasabica

                                                                                                                                                                                I've been to this place twice since exilekiss' original post and have everything here to be subpar by SGV standards -- both the dumplings and buns. The noodles are probably mediocre at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi ipsedixit,

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry to hear about your disapproval. We usually see eye-to-eye on most restaurants (thanks for your continual SGV recommendations :). IMHO, I wouldn't call Noodle House *sub*par (even below par) (I find it delicious), but that's what makes food so interesting and fun. :) It can move and excite people; it can generate a whole range of responses from different people at any time.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                    Couple of things about Noodle House.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The dumpling skins were not very good at all. It was obvious that they had not been kneaded enough; they were flat and had no give (or chewiness). The fillings -- for both the dumplings and buns -- left much to be desired. The pork was almost too fatty and the fillings had a bitter afteraste.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Also the buns had the texture of white bread -- proper buns need to be chewier, or denser. It sort of reminded me of those dinner roll type bagels -- soft and doughy -- and totally antithetical to what a true bagel should be -- chewy and a bit crunchy. It's almost like Noodle House let the dough for the buns rise too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: wasabica

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi wasabica,

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the report back. I'm glad you enjoyed the Baozi (Steamed Buns), definitely the best I've had in L.A. so far! I brought a few friends of friends from Shanghai and Taiwan and they were very impressed. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  The Dumplings are definitely a matter of taste, and my condolences that you didn't enjoy them as much as the Steamed Buns (as an FYI, their Fish filling is their own made-from-scratch version, but I can see why you didn't like it).

                                                                                                                                                                                  Strange about the Beef Noodle Soup: I've only ordered it twice (on two visits) and it wasn't too salty (and I don't like things too salty).

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, yah, the male manager/owner is really nice, thanks for reminding me! He's always taking care of all the customers and really courteous (good service).

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hasn't Noodle House undergone a change of ownership? Is this not the place that closed around mid-November 2008 and was owned by a woman? That would also explain the lack of comments from mid-Fall to January 09 and perhaps also the inconsistent reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Biffles

                                                                                                                                                                                      Hi Biffles,

                                                                                                                                                                                      That's a different "Noodle House" in Arcadia. This one (Chinese name "Mian Hsiang Yuan") is a totally different, new place on Garvey.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. Congrats on reaching 200 replies! Amazing that your review of Noodle House had 20 times the response of your review of Spago. And thanks for finding Noodle House for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                                                    haha this place is substantially more exciting than spago

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                                                      Hi Chandavkl,

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, but it's not me - just a good credit to Chowhounders for good discussions on food. :) I can't wait to try more of the places you've found for all of us in the SGV! (along w/ ipsedixit, raytamsgv, tonyc and so many other great SGV Hounds.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Hi! I know this is an older post, but I just wanted to add my thanks for this review! Finally got myself to Noodle House on the way back from Vegas last weekend, and I am SO glad that I oversped on the freeway to get there before closing. My mother's dumplings are my favorite food in the entire world, and by extension, all dumpling-type things are my true love. I can't agree more about the fish and pork dumplings here - really excellent. Some of the best dumplings I've had. I don't know what the issue was with people ordering pan-fried, but I got an order without any trouble. They were some of the best guo tie I've had in a restaurant - so much depends on the skin, so the freshness really comes through.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The beef tendon soup was good. The best part of it was the noodles. The tendon was quite good, but I did find the broth a bit too light for my taste. It was very nice and very clean, but I like a little richer spice to my beef noodle soup, probably because I'm more used to how my mom does it. But definitely a very high quality rendition of this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't a huge fan of the beef roll. It is a lot lighter and healthier than the one at 101 Noodle, but I also found it to be less flavorful and a bit dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm sad because there were only two of us, and we had just gorged our way through Vegas for the weekend, so I curbed our ordering. I wish I hadn't. I saw too late that they have leek pies - I wish I had ordered those. I also wish I had ordered some steamed buns, but they just sounded too heavy to me at the time. But I will most definitely be back!

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks again, exilekiss!!

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: heinous

                                                                                                                                                                                        You went there and got no steamed buns?!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: banquisha

                                                                                                                                                                                          I know, I know - I'm stupid. The only reason is that I had this place marked in my memory for dumplings, but I had forgotten (until I read this thread again yesterday) that it was also the place with the freshly made bao that exilekiss had reported about. But next time, I'm definitely getting the bao. I might get them all just to make up for it. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: heinous

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hi heinous,

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks. :) I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. Love the dumplings here, but definitely give their made-to-order Baozi (Steamed Buns) a try for sure the next time you visit. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yikes...I had really high hopes for this place but it absolutely failed the family test tonight. It wasn't that crowded when I got there and the kitchen and/or waiter really messed up our order. There were people who arrived after us getting their food before we did. We gave it a good amount of time but finally had to cancel a few orders. It was getting ridiculous. The food that we did get was average.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kure

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi kure,

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry to hear about your missed orders; that's always unfortunate whenever it happens in any restaurant. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. I went here last week and I have to say that I was really disappointed with the experience. We ordered beef noodle soup, some other noodle dish (it was brothless, had ground pork and black bean sauce), and pumpkin and shrimp dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The beef noodle soup was very average. The noodles, if fresh, were still machine-extruded and lacked the density and gluten that superior noodles have. While the beef was very tasty and tender, the broth was thin and lacked that beefy, spicy body that my Taiwanese genes demand.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The dumplings were also extremely disappointing. The wrappers were soggy and also lacked that springiness or gluten that I like. The filling was underseasoned and completely unremarkable. It reminded me of the kind of bland food I eat when I have the flu. Maybe I'm just looking for a different kind of dumpling. My mom and I can totally make better dumplings at home (and we're only OK cooks barely talented enough to cook so we don't give ourselves food poisoning).

                                                                                                                                                                                          The other noodle dish my mom ordered she didn't like. I didn't really know what to expect of it so I can't comment, but it had the same kind of noodles as the beef noodle soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The service was fine. Our waiter was very nice but a couple of people behind the counter got into this huge shouting match in front of all the customers. Not very professional but, whatever, it's a noodle place.

                                                                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: geekbruin

                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been to this place twice and each time was worse than the time before.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Go to Luscious Dumplings or Dumplings 10053 -- both are far superior even on their most pitiful of days.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                              Will do! Do either of them have beef noodle soup, too? Noodle House's average version whetted my appetite for the real deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: geekbruin

                                                                                                                                                                                                Luscious Dumplings makes a great beef noodle soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: geekbruin

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi geekbruin,

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry to hear about your experience. I agree with you about the Beef Noodles; as noted above, I also found the Noodles to be a bit too soft (even they are fresh-made; they mentioned they are machine cut).

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm a bit surprised by the dumplings though. Each of the ~10 times I've been there have been outstanding. Very springy, fresh, delicious. They are definitely on the lightly seasoned side, but I'd rather have them be not seasoned enough vs. over-seasoned (since you can't lessen oversalted food unless you dunk it in tea or something :).

                                                                                                                                                                                              Did you try any of their Steamed Buns (Baozi)? Probably the best thing there.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                No baozi. We only had room for noodle soup and dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I may have just ordered the wrong kind of filling for me. But I have to say that the problem with wrappers is pretty frustrating. Maybe they were cooked too long? I dunno, like I said they were fighting with each other in front of all the customers so maybe they were slammed and/or having some kind of problems that day. I'm going to try these other places in the meantime, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekbruin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi geekbruin,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you go back, definitely give their Baozi a try. Their San Hsien Bao (Combination Seafood Bun), made up of Shrimp, Marinated Ground Pork and Sea Cucumber is probably the most savory of the flavors for the Baozi. It's made fresh-to-order and pretty nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For the Boiled Dumplings, it sounds like an aberration (or maybe a lighter filling), but it doesn't excuse them for serving you an overcooked version. Ideally, every customer's visit to a restaurant should result in their 100% best for that customer, but as we hear about all the time, unfortunately that is not the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                    it sounds like consistency in how well or undercooked their dumplings are is a major problem. when i went, they were undercooked and i read somewhere on this board that i wasn't the only one who experienced that. now, from what geekbruin states, they're being overcooked.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    i would just suggest that anyone going here shouldn't order anything BUT the baozi, because everything else is just obviously not very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: banquisha

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That doesn't sound right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It doesn't take a rocket scientist to cook dumplings. Basically, once the dumplings float to the top of the water, they're done (usu. after 2 or 3 boils).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cooking dumplings is actually the easiest and most mechanical part of the process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Making the dumpling skins, and the fillings to some extent, require real expertise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And, of course, folding and pleating the dumplings is what separates the true artisan from mere mortals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm a little perplexed too. Even I don't usually overcook the dumplings. I don't know what to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fresh baozi are wonderful. We should have gone with those.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: geekbruin

                                                                                                                                                                                                I went to Noodle House yesterday and tend to agree with geekbruin and other posters that the food was bland and underspiced. I tried to convince myself that I wasn't learned enough to taste the subtle nuance of the flavors, but nope, I think they're just kinda bland. Perhaps we're all to used to MSG/salt-laden Chinese food, and to find a restaurant who doesn't use MSG throws us off?

                                                                                                                                                                                                I had the pork and leek dumplings and the scallion pancake. I'm not a scallion pancake expert, so just found it fine. nothing earth-shattering. The same is true for the dumpling. Not overflowing with juice or flavor, and the leeks seemed more to be scallions? Am I missing something in the translation?

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think I'd go back, with so many other places nearby recommended on here, and only infrequent trips to the SGV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekbruin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bringing up an old post...If you said last week of Jan 23/2009, , that would be around mid Jan. Owners changed. That explains the change in taste. Sorry to hear....

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Just a quick update here...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mian Hsiang Yuan (Or I'd like to call Garden of Fragrant Noodles) has changed owners. I can't seem to find any updates on yelp or here. I am a frequent visitor of Mian Hsiang Yuan since last year, at least 2 to 3 times a month. But was out of country for while and only to returned to the restaurant today and found that the change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So if you tried Mian Hsiang Yuan after mid Jan 2009 and find that the dumplings or other dishes are blend, then I am with you. If you somehow think that the dishes are out of this world, then imagine the pre-Jan 2009 quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My last memorable meal at Mian Hsiang Yuan was sadly in late Dec 2008. I distinctively remember that when we left, it was around their afternoon break and the owners said Happy New Year and hope to see us again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sigh...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Vince S

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Vince S,

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, thanks for the update. I'll have to give them a try and see how it compares. Did the entire kitchen staff change as well, or just the ownership? If they retained some of the kitchen cooks at least, then there's still hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Hi, exilekiss. Thanks for your great review. My sister and I just returned from a trip to the Noodle House, and were totally impressed! We followed your recs, and wow! It was amazing to see our order literally made-to-order. My sister loved the pork and leek potsticker dumpling, while I LOVED the seafood dumplings and the fish potstickers. The seafood bao was nice, but a bit too much dough and not enough filling. We also enjoyed their hot and sour soup...which was totally fresh with lovely chunks of shiitake and woodear mushrooms. Thanks, again, for a great review!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: attran99

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I come here just for their fishballs. You might say "I got hooked on them".
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hopefully, nothing has changed despite the new ownership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attran99

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi attran99,

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you. :) Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Try their Combination Seafood Bun next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Hi All,

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just got back from a visit to Noodle House to confirm Vince S.' report:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        *** Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan) has changed owners. It was sold to the new (current) owners sometime at the end of Dec. 2008 / early Jan. 2009. The original Chef and the entire Kitchen Staff have been replaced. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The waitress mentioned that the current chef was hired from Go Bu Li (Dogs Don't Care) in Tianjin, China. While they still make the Baozi (Steamed Buns) and Jiaozi (Dumplings) fresh to order (including the skins, etc.), the flavors are nowhere near as delightful as when they first opened up in July 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Combination Steamed Bun (San Hsien Bao) is saltier and fattier than before. The Yu Rou Shwei Jiao (Fish Dumplings) are denser, saltier and more mundane. Not as bright and airy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Cong Yoh Bing (Green Onion Pancakes) are really oily (dripping oil with each piece) and nothing like the original.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll second what Vince S. said: It's not bad or horrible now, but it's nowhere near as great as back in July 2008 with the original Chef and kitchen family that were making some truly wonderful items.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to withdraw my recommendation of Noodle House (Mian Hsiang Yuan) with its current kitchen staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        *** Current Rating: 6.9 (out of 10.0) ***

                                                                                                                                                                                                        First, Dumpling 10053 got sold and went in decline and now Noodle House. My SGV Hounds are weeping and I weep with them. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                          gou bu li is actually a type of bun that is famous (from tianjin)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ... And thus my search brought me to Dumpling House in Arcadia recently (read my review, if you so desire).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi exilekiss,

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the update, and for taking the time for a fact-finding mission. This is indeed bad news -- I went once last July and took for granted they would be around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I lived in New York many years ago I notice a pattern where many ethnic (especially Chinese and Thai) eateries would open, be amazing for 6 months, and then suddenly go off a cliff. I've always wondered whether this is a common business model: someone starts a new place with the objective of making a quick sale once it's established a reputation. Is this a pattern you've come across? If so, do you think that's what happened here?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                alot of times the chefs dont have much loyalty if they're not the owners (and alot of times they aren't), so when the chef leaves (for more money, start his own restaurant) which is very common the food falls off a cliff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or their visas expire ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, a chef makes a fortune here compared to the mainland so some good ones do end up in SGV. Then they realize how popular their cooking is and move on to greener pastures where they can either be owners or get better terms. That's the American dream, isn't it? I'm sure there are many more chefs who are par for course and stick around at the same place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Peripatetic,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No worries; I wanted to find out myself as well. It was worth a trip out to the SGV to see how much it's changed (or not). It is indeed very sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lau summed it up very well: There's not a lot of loyalty between Chef and Owner at many of these restaurants, so there's definitely a real potential for one or both to leave / sell and then the food goes south from there. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      does the food ever go North from there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Occasionally it does. For example, Golden City in Chinatown is much better than it was many years ago, after changes in operation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What's a credit to us in chowhound is how quickly new reviews noticed the change without knowing it. I had two awesome times at Dumpling House (coming from San Diego), looking forward to the next new hot stop. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. I am now very sad that I didn't have the glorious experience that exilekiss originally had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. fwiw goubuli already has been offered at a place in Rowland Heights. Goubuli are greasier than other dumplings, the wrapping thicker, and they're a very popular streety food in Tianjin as noted above. They aren't the subtle shandong style jiaozi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They can still be fun and delicious. But if this is the specialty of the house, expect something different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. So I was salivating reading this insane review by exilekiss...home made to order dumplings,buns, etc....and then more than halfway thru the horrible news...from transcendent to recommendation withdrawn and i never got over there...what are the best made to order spots today, if there is such a species in the SGV? ive been to Tampa Garden in Reseda thanks to CH and was delighted....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tampa Garden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8241 Tampa Ave, Reseda, CA 91335