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Pita Bread Soaked in Soup and Shanxi Knife Cut Noodles at Shaanxi Gourmet In Rosemead

For those of you who like your carbs thick, the recently opened Shaanxi Gourmet is just for you. It's in the same shopping center in Rosemead as Tip Top Sandwiches and Noodle Boy. Menu is very short, but quite interesting, led by pita bread soaked in either lamb soup or beef soup. I'm not sure how literally that should be interpreted, as I opted instead for the Shanxi noodle soup with lamb. Noodles were triple the width of fettuccine (or maybe half of a wonton peel), great for those who like your noodles chewy. Other menu items include the Chinese hamburger (apparently made with stewed pork), "basin" mutton, and biang-biang noodle (whatever that is), plus a handful of untranslated items. Shaanxi Gourmet is at 8518 E. Valley Bl. in Rosemead.

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  1. Sounds like we might have our own version of Xi'an Famous Foods.

    1. Thus answering the question "where will I be eating lunch tomorrow?"

      3 Replies
      1. re: odub

        I indeed went there for lunch today; it was packed so if this was a recent opening, word has gotten out quickly. Take what I'm saying here with a grain of salt but it's at least the second place to open up in the area, specializing in Xinjiang region

        I noticed immediately that like Omar's Xinjiang Halal, Shaanxi Gourmet has a "big plate of chicken" dish; I didn't get to try it but it looked pretty awesome sitting on the next table. I decided to try the lamb noodle soup instead, which is very similar in basic design to the lamb noodle soup at JTYH (one of my favorite bowl of noodles in L.A.).

        The version at SG has similar flavor though their broth is more "dark/clear" vs. the "milky/clear" at JTYH. I thought SG's was heavier on the salt - perhaps a bit too much so - but it wasn't lacking in flavor, especially the rich essence of long-stewed lamb that also benefits JTYH's version.

        The knife-shaved noodles here are comparable - "heavy noodling" indeed - though as I've been migrating from knife-shaved to either knife-cut or hand-pulled, I'm not as crazy about the sheer density of the noodles. These also seemed very plain and starchy - a good noodle, texture-wise, but it didn't carry much flavor with it. From the look of other tables, everyone seems to get the cold sesame noodles, which might be a better test of the noodle's worthiness.

        SG also pushes their "<a href="http://soul-sides.com/wp-content/uplo... pork burger</a>" aka "Chinese hamburger" which is basically a thin smear of pulled pork in between a hot, crunchy bun. It was likable but too thin on the pork ("it doesn't look like the <a href="http://soul-sides.com/wp-content/uplo... picture</a>!"). Fatten that sucker up just a little bit and you'd have a solid appetizer (but it's too one-dimensional to be a good meal in itself).

        Definitely worth coming back to try other items on the menu though.
        http://bowlingfornoodles.tumblr.com/p...

        -----
        JTYH Restaurant
        9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

        Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant
        1719 N New Ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        1. re: odub

          Chinese hamburger were all over streets of Hangzhou (which is, obviously, nowhere near Shaanxi; but then again, neither is Xinjiang) when we last visited. This example at Shaanxi Gourmet looks rather pathetic.

          In general, WSGV has figured out how to pawn off poorly executed flour-based foods as authentic dishes. Beijing Pie House has such bad noodles that nothing beyond the bing/pie is edible. I don't buy it. These house of carbs tumble eventually.

          -----
          Beijing Pie House
          846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

          1. re: TonyC

            Yeah, you'll have to forgive my terrible Chinese geography. I shame my family. Anyway, I can't speak to their regional authenticity but this place did seem like a small mashup of JTYH with Omar's. I'll give it at least one more shot.

            Don't know why I can't edit my post above but I wanted to correct the bad links. Here's that pork burger: http://soul-sides.com/wp-content/uplo...

            And the accompanying wall photo: "http://soul-sides.com/wp-content/uplo...

            -----
            JTYH Restaurant
            9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

      2. I went for dinner tonight and indeed, it has the new-place-opened crowd. Lots of Shanghainese customers when I got there.

        I had the lamb "burger" which I think was one of the best dishes of the night among other good ones. It's a simple stewed lamb on two pieces of Shaanxi flat bread. Nothing fancy, but incredibly good in a simple way. The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth tender and rich with just enough fat to make the dense bread delicious. I predict David Chang ripping it off in a few months and charging $9 for it if he hasn't done so already.

        I also had the pita bread in soup, which was also very good. My dad told me an interesting story about it, which I won't go into here, but I wrote up here (http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2011/...). The pita bread is cubed neatly and soaks up enough broth to make it seem like cooked noodle dough. The broth was rich and fatty. Definitely get it if you're a fan of lamb.

        The big plate of chicken is indeed a big plate. Enough for 2 hearty diners, or 3 regular diners. It's the right amount of spicy and the chicken has a subtle anise flavor. The standout of this dish though, are the sauce-soaked noodles underneath. Satisfyingly chewy, long, thick, noodles.

        I also had the cat-ear noodles. Normally, it's stir fried and then topped with a meat broth, but this time we had them make it with veggie broth because my husband is vegetarian. The noodles were wonderful and the broth so good that we doubt its vegetarianess.

        We saw a group of four order three bowls of the cold sesame noodle, so we knew we had to try it too. The noodles were pretty basic, just wheat noodles and sesame paste and some bean sprouts, but they were surprisingly good. This place has the texture of these noodles down flat. The wheat noodles had the smooth, springy texture of a rice noodle. Amazing.

        9 Replies
        1. re: PandanExpress

          Regarding the extended comments on your blog, the "Gourmet" part of the name is actually appropriate, since this indeed does seem to be LA's version of Xi'an Famous Foods, but in a much nicer, sit down format.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Rolled back today with one of my eating buddies and we ordered:
            *pork burger (does it come in lamb?)
            *big plate of chicken: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/...
            *sesame noodles (seems like handcut noodles with a garlic-heavy sesame street

            )

            I still ride for this place; it was all pretty good. The big plate of chicken is slightly larger than what they have at Omar's but they also charge nearly $20 for it (vs. $12.50 at Omar's?). I still like the version at Omar's better since their noodles are damn good but the hand-pulled/cut (I couldn't tell) that comes with the chicken ain't bad.

            TonyC: sooner or later, you're gonna try 'em. We await the review.

            1. re: odub

              I stand corrected: http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/11/...

              These guys are real. I mean, they're scarily real. Backed by [unverified] mainland cash, they have the resources to make an instant impact. The chefs are being flown in, the machinery is in place; it's a bit like Hyundai Motors invading America. They've done no advertising, but business is already steady based on what I've seen.

              That said, I don't particular like the 2 signature dishes. The "Chinese" burger is available ONLY in pork, and is beyond dry. The pao mo is evocative of mian ge da. I despise the texture. When the next door space opens up, and the Xian woked dishes starting flowing out of the kitchen, I will immediately return. Until then, y'all can enjoy these weird noodles (ala JTYH's cat ears).

              -----
              JTYH Restaurant
              9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

              1. re: TonyC

                They've moved into the space next door, which gives them 40 more seats...and all were taken Saturday night. Place was packed. They also have a new, much larger menu, now without a single word of English (the same applies for the take-out menu).

                1. re: JThur01

                  The menu does have photographs, though there are many items without corresponding photographs. Our waiter spoke English reasonably well, and he was friendly and helpful about trying to reconcile the list of recommendations from this thread with the menu. As TonyC noted, there's no lamb burger on the current menu, but I really liked the spicy and sour pork burger.

                  We went three days after lunar new year expecting it to be relatively quiet, and the place was hopping.

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    That's a very good point, there are photos of some items and the waitstaff does seem to speak English well. There are also wall photos of some of the signature dishes in the main dining area. Just do some homework on the dishes you're seeking and check with your server. It's definitely worth the effort. It seems a remarkably well run restaurant.

                    1. re: JThur01

                      > It seems a remarkably well run restaurant.

                      Agreed. Definitely also check out the cold deli counter at the rear of the main dining room. Everything we tried from it was excellent, particularly the spicy beef tendon.

            2. re: Chandavkl

              It sounds more like Spicy Village (aka Henan Taste) on Forsythe St. (with the da pan ji, big tray of chicken, etc.) than like Xi'an. But I daresay it is bigger and more "comfortable"....

            3. re: PandanExpress

              Nice review PandanExpress. You've sparked my interest.

            4. Thanks to Chandavkl, I have found my long sought after Palm Noodles (previously asked for here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/735684), or at least a very close facsimile.

              Go get them.

              11 Replies
                1. re: Chandavkl

                  Ask for it by name.

                  Because they make "biang biang" noodles or aka " 油泼扯面" they can easily make palm noodles because traditional Shannxi 油泼扯面 is simply pounded and then rolled out to resemble a big thick belt. So to make palm noodles, you simply pound and then tear them into pieces as opposed to rolling them out.

                  Actually, now that I think about it, any chef worth their salt in making noodles can do this.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Does the Biang Biang Mian come with peppers?...or should it?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Any kind. While there must be variations, I've seen peppers listed as one of the ingredients.

                        1. re: JThur01

                          There were no peppers in the my topping that I could discern.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Thanks for the clarification ipsedixit.

                      2. re: JThur01

                        fwiw, the character isn't in the standard dictionary - biang biang mian
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi%C3%A1...

                        1. re: JThur01

                          They're called ku dai (belt) mian on the menu. The toppings are all served on the side, and you mix them in as you like; if memory serves, there was a kind of tomato sauce, some long beans and other vegetables, but I don't think any peppers.

                          1. re: will47

                            No, that's not it.

                            It's not listed on the menu, at least not the one I was given.

                            1. re: will47

                              Thanks will. I simply asked the server for Biang Biang Mian and that's what I got. I got the six little dishes of items to mix in.

                    1. looking forward to this. The pita-bread lamb soup, paom(u)o yang rou, is around although the place that specialized in it in rowland heights is long gone. China Islamic has it (just ask for the pao mo yang rou, everyplace translates it differently). The fun way to eat teh soup is to get the paomo bread, not really a pita, as pita is slightly leavened, and break it up yourself into small bits and then have the broth poured over. China Islamic breaks it up in the kitchen. A;so, another place that has it, is in the same mall as Lucky Noodle, Tianjin bistro. Oddly, tianjin bistro has shaanxi dishes and just a few tianjin dishes - kinda like this new Shanghai place people are writing about seems to be a cantonese place with a few shanghai dishes thrown in.
                      China Islamic
                      7727 E GARVEY AVE
                      ROSEMEAD

                      Tianjin Bistro -534 E VALLEY BLVD # 8
                      SAN GABRIEL

                      1. Shaanxi just opened a second branch--in Las Vegas. (3400 S. Jones Blvd. #16)

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Does that instantly make it the best Chinese restaurant in the Las Vegas area?

                          2. I really wanted to like this place, but I found their signature lamb soup on the bland side and the torn bits of pita-like bread didn't add anything but extra starch. The lamb skewers had good flavor but poor quality meat that was gristly.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Ernie

                              Absolutely agree. It's interesting, but it doesn't taste particular good. Except the stir fry potato strings from the deli country. That stuff is fantastic.

                              1. re: Ernie

                                I've liked everything I've had there, with the caveat that I haven't had the skewers or the pita soup. I have had the regular lamb noodle soup though, and I concur that the lamb soup is bland. I prefer JTYH's. The noodles used in the soup are better at Shaanxi (but only slightly), but the broth itself is better at JTYH. Funky, in a very good way. I love the sesame noodles at Shaanxi and the lamb and pork "burgers" are quite good. And the shredded potato from the cold case is outstanding. While the cold case is small, the offerings are good.

                                1. re: JThur01

                                  Biang-Biang noodle, Liang Pi, Chicken plate, and Qi-Shan palm noodles, all good.

                                  1. re: JThur01

                                    i found the pork burger to be a little bland myself, but IMO the reason to go is the noodles. $3 seems cheap but the serving were correspondingly small - not even big enough to be used for a traditional bowl haircut.

                                    the actual memorable moment was the ong choy. not a big deal, i know, but what made it memorable was that it was the first time a friend had ever had it. immediately after lunch, we went to the san gabriel superstore supermarket where he bought some ong choy to make at home. this person seldom cooks, and he more seldomly eats vegetables.

                                    it has since occurred to me that the chinese cuisine in general does not feature mushy vegetables.

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                2. Had a taste for yang rou pao mo like I had in Xi'an and found this review and a couple of others. It was delicious! And we were both given menus in English and at least one of the waitresses was fluent in English. Most excellent!