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Turkey Rolls At 101 Noodle Express In Fox Hills Mall

As you may have noticed, when TonyC reported earlier this afternoon that the new 101 Noodle Express had opened a few days ago, I jumped in my car and headed right to the mall. Actually, while the menu shows turkey rolls, they didn't have any when I got there, and I only mentioned turkey rolls in the heading to let you know that this is not your typical 101 Noodle Express location, as the menu is very limited and a little different from what we're used to. I was thinking 101 Noodle Express might be in the mall addition area, but in fact it's in the dining terrace f.k.a. food court. It was a little hard to find 101 Noodle Express as the signage was not conspicuous, and I in fact identified it by the menu (and the free beef roll samples). (Actually I'm kind of surprised Panda Express permitted 101 Noodle Express to open in such close proximity.) As noted, the menu is limited--beef and turkey rolls (with or without fries), dumplings, noodle soup, a few rice dishes, and a couple of salad choices. The beef rolls are comparable to what you get in the Alhambra, Arcadia, or other branches. The beef noodle soup was quite good and passes on all three elements--beef, noodles and broth. I guess if there's anything that would stop me from coming here a couple of times a week it would be the price. Three beef roll "pieces" were $6.25. When you order the beef roll in the SGV you get two rolls, each roll sliced into three pieces. I'm not sure if three Culver City pieces equalled one SGV roll, or whether perhaps it was a little more, but the three pieces plus the beef noodle soup came to $16, although you do save the tip. Besides being out of the turkey roll, they were also out of dumplings, and nobody was sure what kind of meat was inside their dumplings. One of the crew thought it might be ground beef, but since much of the crew seems to come from the hood, I wouldn't assume that was the case. This is certainly the best Chinese food the Fox Hills Mall has ever had (does anybody remember the original Chinese Buffet in the mall which was cleverly named "Chinese Buffet"?) and ranks with the Westside's best, so I hope they make a go of it.

101 Noodle Express
1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

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  1. Aaaah, westside inflation! Can't wait to check it out

    So is all that construction on Sepulveda in front of Fox Hills going to be going on during Carmegdon?

    6 Replies
    1. re: AAQjr

      I think it might, I just went through there making a Target run, what a huge PITA!! Definitely went home the opposite way. Typical for CalTrans and whomever else to screw up and delay, causing the whole area to be a huge traffic nightmare. I am not leaving my neighborhood that weekend, that is for damn sure!!

      PS - Chandavkl, please enlighten me: what is a turkey roll? Please say it doesn't involve raw turkey.....eeeewwww.

      1. re: Phurstluv

        I presume it is similar to the chicken roll you can get at the SGV branches of 101 Noodle Express. Their original chicken rolls weren't very good, but lately I've found them to be almost as good as the beef rolls.

        101 Noodle Express
        1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

        1. re: Chandavkl

          hate to press you, but I don't eat at the place so I don't know what a chicken roll is either!!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            A chicken roll is a Shandong style beef roll with chicken substituted for beef. Now as to what a Shandong beef roll is, let me defer to Jonathan Gold.


              1. re: Servorg

                thanks to both of you, SO for the visual, Chandavkl for the description. now I understand that it is more like a Chinese burrito. When I hear "roll" I tend to think more Japanese, as in sushi. Looks so good, I'd try one.

    2. Wow, what a daring location! Definitely sounds promising!

      1. $6.25 for one roll does seem a bit steep ... but please tell me they serve the crack-tastic cilantro/jalapeno/onion/whatever relish with them? Please???

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bradbury

          Frankly I didn't notice since I take my beef rolls plain. You do bring up a good point in that I deliberately used the word "comparable" to describe the beef rolls here, but did not say identical. The Culver City beef rolls appeared a little drier, perhaps not as oily, but with the same flavor. I'm thinking this might be a concession to WLA sensibilities, as I am sure the turkey part is.

          1. re: Bradbury

            That's pretty expensive for one roll. I was at 101 Noodle Express in Arcadia last week, and two beef rolls cost $6.99. But as long as the people are willing to buy it, I guess that's okay.

            101 Noodle Express
            1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

          2. I'm very excited about this!! Right here a mere few miles from my house, not 1/2 hour on the 10 East. Thanks to TonyC and Chandavkl for the heads up on the opening - I'll be there this weekend and report back. I do hope they have the yummy green delight to put on the beef rolls....

            1. Went the other day since I was on a late shift for work all week. Had the Spicy Beef Noodle Soup and Beef Roll. I noted several Chinese guys cooking in the Kitchen and one who seem to be the owner who while Multitasking on his cell turned to me and said "You Like?" and turned back quickly to what he was doing after I nodded yes.

              The soup was good. Westside spicy but they will offer you added chili oil if they think you can take it and I got some. The beef in it was really beefy and the amount of noodles in it was huge. I had to stir them a bit to unclump them and get the broth flowing to all parts of the mass.

              The beef roll was good but a little different. Though the flavors were there it didn't seem like it was hot off the grill so to speak. In texture, it was kinda between their beef roll and a fresh soft lavash with beef roll filing.

              I think this place will give me a reason to go to Fox Hills mall more than twice a year even though I live down the street and look forward to trying the ground pork with noodles and their dumplings. And Dommy has threatened to have lunch there every day until she gets sick of it and that may be a long ways away.

              Take care

              - P.

              1. I went yesterday, and for me it was a mixed bag. Beef roll was great, I didn't find a lot of difference between this version and the originals I've had in SGV. I hadn't had spicy beef noodle before, so it may be just me, but they were very 1 dimensional and I did't get much from either noodles or broth. Noodles were a bit gummy, though the oil kept them mostly distinct, but spicy was just a bunch of chili oil floated on top - like a quarter inch or so - and though I dug down to get to the broth, I didn't see any layers at all in the flavors.

                I see a few issues I'd really like to see them fix

                1. Give us the green stuff! There was no extra cilantro paste for the rolls, which is one of the best things about them! If you offer something with opium as a main ingredient, you gotta keep that stuff flowing, man.

                2. They had no dumplings, or seafood, though it was on the menu. Hmmm. Maybe start w/a menu signage that reflects what you have?

                3. This food is not familiar to most of my co-shoppers, or even a freaks like us. They are going to need to sample most everything and have someone who can explain it, otherwise this won't fly, and folks will buy the insipid teriyaki or pseudo pizza with sugar loaded crust.

                4. if you're going to offer spicy noodles, have free water avail and don't worry so much about margin! They told me they had no water. You have a soda m/c and a kitchen, I think you can find some water!

                They do have DanDan mian, though, which is novel for CC and not at a place called Lukshon. I've had their version at 101 in SGV and it wasn't the best, but was passable at least.

                I'll definitely give 101 CC another go in the next few weeks. Hopefully the owner or manager is reading our posts and moves their model forward some, since I'd selfishly like to see this place make it! But they are going to do more to beat down Sbarro, I think.

                3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

                11 Replies
                1. re: CulverJack

                  How can a restaurant NOT have water? That is absolutely necessary for cooking and hygiene I HATE when water is not available for customers, and most often I will not return.

                  1. re: CulverJack

                    This is absolutely, genuinely not meant to be anything but an impersonal observation on CulverJack's perfectly valid remarks (in other words, this is not meant to be condescending) -- but isn't his post somewhat emblematic of why "authentic" Chinese restaurants just don't work (or are reluctant to open) on the west side?

                    1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                      Yeah, kinda feeling dumbed down by the teacher.

                      1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                        Well, I hope not in this case, since they are here now, are invested in it, and I don't think it will take all that much to (I hope!) make this work. I think you have a point, though, and this may be a triple whammy. The expectation of svc even from me + the need to learn about the food + a not very obvious spot in a not obvious mall for beef rolls.... I'll take the optimistic POV that it can be done...

                        1. re: CulverJack

                          No serious cost analysis done here, but I'd think a beef roll at 101 must cost them $1-$2 to make. Cut one up into sample-size pieces, garnish with the "green stuff," and offer to passers-by. Instant market created and their only worry will be where to open the next shop in the Westside.

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            No serious cost analysis done here, but I'd think a beef roll at 101 must cost them $1-$2 to make

                            Cheaper. More like under a $1.

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              I had a chance to stop by this past friday and they were actually handing out beef roll samples. I think that will help them if they keep it up!

                              We ordered Dan Dan Mian and were happy with it. Had a brief conversation with the guy who seemed to be the manager about often going to the San Gabriel locaton, and he threw in an order of fries (maybe an odd combination - but it is a mall food court I guess).

                              CulverJack: We did ask for water and were given it no problem - actually in a large soda cup rather than a small one that you would normally get when asking for water at a food court restaurant Odd that you had a different experience. Wonder if it depends on who is there, or if they are still trying to figure things out.

                              1. re: Mos

                                We went Sunday at around 5:30PM to grab some dumplings, beef rolls and noodles. We were offered beef roll samples as well - that's pushing in the right direction.

                                No dumplings when we got there - boo! No "salads" either. I'm guessing Sunday PM is not an optimal time to have choices at a mall's food court. Sorry - I don't do fries with my Chinese food! Kinda counter to my food rhythm. Burgers with rice balls? Tonkatsu with potato chips? Tacos with fufu? This really threw me off. Ended up getting the beef rolls, dan dan noodles, and minced pork noodles.

                                The beef rolls are good - not great. There's something different about these - maybe the pancake/roll part is not the same? A little on the drier side? Also, no "green crack." Gotta have the spicy pickled greens or it will never be the same in my eyes.

                                The noodles - oh brother - two words: quality control. The guys behind the counter need to be apprenticed by a real chef. When the noodles were "finished" boiling in the basket strainer, the guy tried to pour the noodles from the strainer into the plastic bowls - THUD, THUD, THUD. The noodles were each massive cohesive balls. The finished products were these pasty noodle balls with dan dan stuff or ground pork on it. No matter how hard I tried to seperate and incorporate the sauce, the ball wouldn't budge X 3 (bowls of noodles).

                                No average Amerinese take-out eater is going to know what dan dan is - they should probably consider offering some samples of this as well, but before doing so, please - please - nail the noodle part down - perfect it - before someone rips down the "Noodle" in this place's name. Also, I've never had dan dan mian at the "real" 101s in SGV, but this rendition seems too salty and one-dimensional compared to other versions I've tried in SGV. I'm glad that there's an outpost of 101 in the Westside now, but it's in the "express" form and can use a fair amount of improvement on technique, inventory (maybe offer a few different types of dumplings and hopefully carry more stock) and maybe nudging recipes in an easterly direction (as in make it like someone in SGV would want it).

                        2. re: CulverJack

                          Response to Culver Jack

                          I had a similar experience Saturday with 101 Noodle Express. We went there pretty much to try their dumplings and were very disappointed they didn't have any. Beside the beef roll and noodle soups, their menu is not going to wow very many people. And what's with the beef roll and fries combo? My wife went to Kyochon instead, but I stuck with a beef roll and fries and an order of Dan Dan Men. I think noodle soup and dumpling or roll combos ala Luscious Dumplings might work.

                          I did enjoy both, but didn't think people would go for the Dan Dan Men. I hope they succeed, but they do have their work cut out for them. By the way, I think the Fox Hills food court might have the most diverse offerings of any food court I know, for what it's worth.

                          1. re: Ogawak

                            Reading all these report I get the feeling the food maybe made elsewhere - except for the fries - and just warmed up before serving.

                            1. re: fkingford

                              They do make the pancake for the rolls there. I watched the more capable of the two staff members making them as the rolls were ordered.

                        3. Still no turkey rolls or ground pork dumplings. Next week, the manager says, though last week I was told "tomorrow". They're handing out noodle samples today.

                          Has anybody tried the fries?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Yeah, they threw in free fries after a nice conversation when we mentioned that we had just been at the San Gabriel store the weekend befroe. They were good food court fries. Nothing mind blowing, but good, I thought.


                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Has anyone told them to bring in the Valley BLVD condiment?

                            2. Tried these turkey rolls today and can't report much except to say I agree with the OP on all counts. These are fantastic, but expensive for mall food. They now have a "two rolls plus side dish" or "three rolls plus side dish" option except the only side dish is...you guessed it...french fries (always what I want with my Chinese food).

                              I was unfamiliar with these Shandong rolls but really enjoyed them: like Phurstluv suggests, a Chinese burrito stuffed with (my guess) meat, glass noodles, soy sauce, white pepper, and a generous amount of cilantro, with hoisin sauce. Sort of a Mu Hsu/Peking Duck kind of experience. I'd be curious to try the missing condiment, but they're mighty good without.

                              But yes, it is expensive, and portions are small.

                              Word of caution: they also don't take plastic at all, cash only. I hope they rectify that soon.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: BobtheBigPig

                                I went there about a week and a half ago, and though I had to ask, the sides available were fries, salad or veggies. I got the veggies, which were a mixture of edamame, diced baked tofu, a green veggie (maybe Chinese broccoli?) and boiled peanuts. Pretty good, though my tongue was tingling by the end, and I wondered if there was MSG in it. Also, I'm glad I don't have a nut allergy, because I wouldn't have expected peanuts in my side of vegetables. Definitely going to give them another try.

                                1. re: beingreen

                                  > Also, I'm glad I don't have a nut allergy, because I wouldn't have expected peanuts in my side of vegetables. Definitely going to give them another try.

                                  Most people who have a nut allergy are fine eating peanuts since they're not nuts. They're legumes.

                                  I stopped by yesterday for lunch and saw someone in the back area folding out a pancake, so they do make them at the little food stand. I got a spicy beef noodle soup and my lunch partner got the beef rolls. Even though I had sufficient warning, I was shocked with how little my money got.

                                  The beef noodle soup was a little bland and had only a few pieces of beef. The beef that I did have was at least not tough and the right texture. The noodles were also nice and chewy and not soggy at all. Maybe it was the not-that-hot-broth.

                                  The beef roll, I didn't try because I didn't want to deprive my lunch partner of his precious 2 pieces.

                                  Overall, it was what I expected for mall food and it could be worse. I wouldn't call it a destination spot though. Fox Hill Mall recently got a major facelift, so that may account for the increased price. I also think it's weird to have french fries with your Chinese food, but maybe that's to coax those unfamiliar with the food in.

                                  1. re: PandanExpress

                                    I know they're legumes...I meant peanut allergy. :) My point was they're not what one might expect in the veggie side and people might not think to ask.

                                2. re: BobtheBigPig

                                  No turkey rolls today. Was told they would have them "in a week" (as opposed to "next week").

                                3. I visited last night and tried the beef rolls, dan dan mien, and dumplings. Beef rolls were tasty -- a little dry but good flavor. The dan dan mien was ok -- they're still having the problem with the clumpy noodles. I thought my plastic fork was going to break when I tried to mix the sauce with the noodles. As for the dumplings, I found them super oily and disappointing. Meat was flavorful but too much oil dripping down my chin and not in a good way. They also don't have condiments available -- chili sauce or vinegar which would have helped the dumplings. They are still ramping up and were out of the turkey rolls, any non-french fries sides as well as the minced pork noodles that I was interested in trying. That said, I'll go back for their beef rolls and in hopes that they can work out their noodles..

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Jeddie

                                    Went by there last week. Funny how 101 Noodle Express is the main reason I now stop by Fox Hills. I noticed they also opened up a Millions of Milkshakes on the ground floor. It was great being able to order good dumplings here on the Westside. Dean Sin World is still our go-to place, but this is great. Still not used to having french fries, though.

                                    101 Noodle Express
                                    1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

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

                                    Millions of Milkshakes
                                    8910 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069