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Sep 3, 2009 03:47 PM

Excerpt from Monstrous SGV Rundown: Heavy Noodling (er, JTYH) is back. {pix + menu}

Opened first week of May, first date of visit, May 19.

Holy flying goat Batman! The lovers of pho and birria, you will get schooled here. This is where you will encounter a bowl of ethereal pho de chivo (©Sinosoul, hehe). I hate being so flippant but this bowl of lamb noodle soup is so much better than just “lamb”, “soup”, and “noodles”.

JTYH touts Shan'xi style noodles, mainly dao xiao mian, (刀削面), knife shaved noodles . This is a serious business at JTYH. The knife-shaved noodles just plain kicks Kam Hong’s arse; they come in longer strands and has a odd semblance of uniformity, despite the total squiggly squiggles. This iteration of shaven dough is also never over cooked ala Kam Hong’s products. They have 3 types of noodles, the dao xiao mian, hand kned noodles and some generic “thin noodle”. No idea what the latter are as the dao xiao mian is all that matters.

During one of the latest visits, powered by the appetite of Citynitz, Kung Food Panda, as well as JC and various SO’s, JTYH’s hot wok and simple flavors shown brightly. The fried chitlin’ seasoned to a Szechuan profile (Braised Pork Intestine) was much lauded by all. Pan fried Jin Du flat cake is chewy, crunchy while offering the physique of a double stacked quesadilla. Michelle’s pancakes’s might appeal to LA Times, I will guarantee JTYH’s Jin Du stuffed flat cake is the coolest in all of W. SGV.

The following are 2 of the deepest find at JTYH (strike the mou er dou, it’s been long covered by Jerome on Chowhound): June of ‘08, A bowl of Chinese naeng myun came to me serendipitously on Garvey Blvd at what is now Hengyang Chili King. At $5, it was cold and grand. Flavored with predominantly apple juice, “Chao style iced noodle” was lost in the SGV after Northern Dumpling House was closed in November of ‘08. No worries, tho. Exactly one year later, a similar bowl of “Chao style iced noodles”, aka naeng myun to the Korean readership, is back. This bowl of “Chao style iced noodle” uses the same noodles as naeng myun, but includes kimchi and abundant applique of tender beef brisket, something always missing from actual Koreans bowls of naeng myun.

Beyond Chao style iced noodles awaits more excitement. Flip the menu to its back and you will see a small printed box covering “Snack/Desserts”. Herein lies the deepest Chinese find in SGV for all of 2009: “mian guh dah”. A google search on this subject yields over 2two million hits in Chinese, yet I’ve never seen this darn this in a Chinese restaurant in America, in the last 5 years of dining out. 麵疙瘩, item number 6 and 7, roughly translates noodle pimples. Goose bumps, in Mandarin, roughly translates to chicken “guh duh”, ie, chicken pimples. Snack/Dessert item number 6, tomato scrambled egg “noodle pimples”, was my parents’ ultimate weapon of choice in insipid gastro punishment when I was young and we were poor. Nothing evoked my gag reflex quicker than watching them squeezing dollops of wet slurpy dough into the boiling water in preparation of this dish. Fearing item number 6 would make me puke up my hard earned dinner, I went with the safer item number 7, “noodle pimples” in dried shrimp and napa cabbage soup. The whole concoction wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but it really was nothing more than a mental exercise to trigger childhood memory flavors.

The various items from the deli case are available as combos for $5 (approximately) but of the tripe/cucumber/seaweed/tofu/brisket/tendon/etc. I sampled, all were either too bland, too salty, or just completely whatever.

Finally, a history lession. Mr Gold first wrote of “Dow Xiao” back in 1991 which makes “Heavy Noodling” one of the oldest existing Chinese carb house in all of SGV. He publishes the similar article in Counter Intelligence in 2000, with first mentions on Chowhound’s LA board in 2000 by chadavkl. Due to the LA Times Editor’s choice article title in ‘91, “Dao Xiao” took up the name “Heavy Noodling”. During this period, yours truly was kickin’ it in Ann Arbor, NYC, Chicago, etc., denied of this LA treasure, while Daily Gluttony was satiating her fat fetish with these bowls of wheaty gems. But they sudden closed the week before “going back to Cali” materialized in my life. Bastards. Since then, every shaved noodle argument ended with: “O, so you never had Heavy Noodling, it was the best, too bad”, ie: “Shut up, you never had the end-all, be-all benchmark of knife shaved noodles in LA”.

Remaining pix, along with menu stating the "Original Dao Xiao Shan'xi Noodles" can be found here:

9425 Valley Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
T: 626-442-8999
11:00am - 9:30pm
closed Tuesdays

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  1. Heavy Noodling was my most frequent stop in the SGV. The servers brought me a little dish of very thin red and green jalapeno pepper cross sections (which I would add to my soup) without my asking after a few times. Thanks for posting about JTYH, I'll try to make it tomorrow!

    1. We went here for lunch today on the strength of this review. The lamb noodle soup with knife shaved noodles was transcendent, every bit as good as Tony's hyperbole. It reminded me a little of the dac biet pho bac at Pho Minh (which is also transcendent). The lamb was incredibly tender, and the noodles were less rubbery that the knife cut noodles at Kam Hong Garden. We also had the iced noodles, and these were excellent too, though they were a little more parsimonious with the beef on our visit: five thinly sliced roughly silver-dollar sized pieces. This might be because I ordered the small size, though. The meat was a preserved beef reminiscent of corned beef, and was really good.

      Many thanks to Tony for the recommendation!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Peripatetic

        I also went there today, on the basis of Tony's review. I love dao xiao mien and it's not easy to find it - done well - in the states.

        I concur: the lamb noodle soup, done up dao xiao style, is excellent; the broth is deliciously infused with lamb-ness - warm, comforting and satisfying. I also liked the simple but effective ingredients - a handful of cilantro, some Chinese greens and of course, the butter-soft, thinly sliced lamb that goes into it. I do wish there was more to go around; the lamb ran out quickly and much as I did enjoy the dense chewiness of the noodles (which I though were done quite well though a few pieces may have been just a touch too thick). Well worth trying though next time I go, I'd be interested to get a different noodle dish, just to try.

        I didn't see the Chao style iced noodles on the menu - is it listed under some other name?

        We wanted to get the awesome looking plate of 10 pan-friend bao - we're talking small fist-sized bao! - but the waitress told us they take a while - on the order of 30 minutes or so. We ordered the pan cake w/ beef instead (which I think is like the beef rolls at other places around town) and that was quite nice - the pan-fried process gave the pancake a nice, oily crunch, contrasted with cool veggies and warm slices of meat. They were too liberal with the hoisin sauce or perhaps it was just that their hoisin was too cloying; either way, it could have been dialed down a bit. Otherwise, a great dish.

        The problem: it too took 30 minutes to come out, at least. Might have been more but I didn't check my watch more. However, the noodles came out within 5-10 min of ordering and even after we finished that off, we must have waited close to 15+ minutes for the rolls. The table in front of us were getting pretty pissed about the wait too - they had some noodle soup dish that took almost as long as the buns to come out. I don't know if the kitchen is just mis-managed - the restaurant was only about 1/3rd full so it wasn't as if they were slammed.

        Personally, I didn't mind the wait but it was unexpected and, in my opinion, unwarranted given the demands of the plate itself (it's not like I'm ordering a pot pie). I think it's still worth getting their buns and pancakes, just be aware that there might be a lot of idling time involved.

        That said - I will absolutely come back here again; no question.

        1. re: odub

          It was posted in Chinese only on one of the windows; Tony has posted a photo of it on his blog (at my request!): When I was there on Friday, the window shade was pulled down over the sign, but fortunately I had brought a print out to point to.

          FWIW, our dishes were slow in arriving, too, especially the iced noodles (probably around 30 minutes).

          1. re: Peripatetic

            Ah, I see. Could Tony or someone else provide the phonetic pronunciation of the dish? I'm tempted to guess - with my childhood Mandarin - that it'd be something like "chao bing mien" but that's just a random guess.

            The slowness of the dishes are really quite surprising and somewhat arbitrary. We were the 2nd of three parties to arrive within 5-10 minutes of one another and Party 1 got *all* their food before Party 3 got a single dish. Our noodles came relatively quickly but as noted before, we had to wait a long time for the pan-fried dish. I'm guessing perhaps they're short-handed in the kitchen?

            1. re: odub

              Very close odub:
              chao(2) xian(1) leng(3) mian(4) (Chao style Refreshing Cold Noodles?)

              No excuses for the erratic style. I make sure I put in the order as soon as I sit down, and then I hustle the waitresses big time.

              When the tour buses drop boatloads of people off, holy cow! Just leave.

              1. re: TonyC

                I went back yesterday for lunch again and this time, did order the Pan Fried Buns w/ Pork. For one thing, it didn't take very long to come out; I guess the kitchen was less busy than it was the last time I was there.

                The buns are...ok. To be honest, they look a lot better than they actually taste; the meat inside tended towards the dry side, I found it too doughy but mostly, it just lacked flavor. You need to hit it with a good dose of soy sauce and vinegar. I really would NOT recommend this dish to others; if you want a tastier pan-fried bao, I'd get the Shanghai style ones at Kang Kang.

                I also got the knife-cut lamb noodle soup again to confirm - yes, this is indeed delicious. But next time, regardless of the kind of meat I get, I want to try something besides the knife-cut. It's great every once in a while but having gone twice within a week, I found it too heavy. I'd like to try their hand-pulled noodles instead.

                1. re: odub

                  Concur on the pan fried baos. I like the crisped Jin Du pancakes much more. Overall, their dumplings are also quite lacking. But really, when it's 90degs out, I really just want that bowl of $5.50 Chinese naeng myun.

      2. happy to see it's back. looking forward to trying this.

        1. Thanks for the heads-up, we just tried JTYH ourselves!

          The verdict: Excellent knife-cut noodles (we had the beef tendon knife-cut noodles). Perfect broth, very chewy goodness (I like to call it 'Chinese al dente') in the dough. Generous with the tendon and beef. Nice amount of spinach in there as well.

          We had some other stuff also:

          "Amuse bouche": Slightly spicy ginger-pickled celery - a great way to whet the appetite.
          Scallion pancakes : OK, nothing great.
          XLB: Meh.
          Tomato& egg drop soup - That was VERY good. Fresh tomato flavor, and generous egg dollops. Nice.
          i ordered a beef roll to go - I have not yet enjoyed it. Will report back.

          Bottom line: The knife-cut noodles is worth the trip - the menu has a lot more items, so we'll be back to try more.

          They also sell frozen dumplings to go - the staff was wrapping them at the table next to ours while we were eating - they use pre-processed dumpling skins, just as an FYI.

          1. Really enjoyed the knife-cut noodles here; I'm eager to try them in the various soups to see which one I like best (I started with the basic NRM beef noodle soup, though Tony's pho de chivo and the simmered spare ribs were both certainly tempting).

            I also had the beef roll, as per ipse's suggestion, and I certainly appreciated the added vegetal quality of it: fine juliennes of cucumber are in the mix, thus JTYH's rendition actually comes across as a bit more balanced.

            $6 gets you a large starchy bowl of knife-cut noodles, while the beef roll (listed on the menu as Pancake with Beef) is $6 as well, both dishes really built for sharing, and so you can see that it's pretty inexpensive here, too.