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Jun 27, 2012 12:22 PM

House Special Pan Fried Noodles

I'm looking for help finding this dish prepared a certain way.

When I was younger, there was a place in San Diego that made these really well that has gone out of business. I've tried ordering it at other places since then and have realized that the style of pan fried noodles I got at that place in SD years ago is not the normal style.

I'm finding that the norm for this dish is a bird's nest of crunchy noodles, topped with sauce, meats and veggies. The sauce is either a nice rich brown sauce, like a oyster sauce I think, or it's that weird clear ectoplasm gravy.

That is NOT the way I want it. The way that place in SD made it, the noodles were thicker, but not as thick as the szechuan style fried noodles common in SGV (although the place in San Diego that made these good pan fried noodles was called "taste of szechuan") picture something between Szechuan style fried noodles and regular pan fried noodles... They weren't fried to a crisp, they were fried so that the noodles were very well browned and crispy in some places and still noodle-y in others. And the sauce was that rich, brown (oyster?) sauce.

If anyone knows a place that makes it in the style I like, let me know! I have tried to find pictures of what I want that will help

This one looks close
this one does too

this one has the kind of noodles I DON'T want.
so does this one

Unfortunately, there are no pics of the pan fried noodle dish I liked from that place.

I wish I could describe what I liked about that dish better, I think it really boils down to not completely frying the noodle and using a thicker noodle, and not using that ectoplasm gravy. Thanks for the help!

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  1. Your photos of the dish you are seeking just look like "lo mein" to me. Have you tried ordering pan fried lo mein at your favorite Chinese place and seeing if you get what you want?

    lo mein images here:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      The noodle was exactly like lo mein, but the fried, crispy aspect was a key part of the dish.

      Pan fried lo mein tends to be not nearly fried enough.

      The style I'm looking for has about 50% of the noodle fried to a dark brown, even borderline black in places, and the other 50% is like normal noodle. Again I wish I was describing this better. I ordered pan fried lo mein once and it wasn't nearly crispy enough.

      If you know a specific place that makes PF lo mein that has the level of crispiness you see in the photos I posted, I'd love the rec, but the pictures your link brings up are (in almost every case) not nearly fried enough.

      I guess I'm looking for something between lo mein and the typical "bird's nest" style HSPFN.

    2. Why not go to a place like Yang Chow, which has the thick lo mein noodles you want, and ask for it to be extra crispy?

      1. The first picture likes like a different type of noodle that I've seen used in a few places for chow mein. I think Paul's Kitchen near the Garment District used those noodles at one point, but they did not fry them as much as you are looking for.

        1. years ago, Twin Dragon on Pico had pan fried noodle dishes that looked like your photos......haven't been there in ages so don't know if still on menu

          1. BrewNChow, I personally like the kind of noodles you don't like, but I have had noodles fairly close to the first two pics you posted, just wish I could remember where. Hop Li? I can't recall if they had the thinner, yellow, crunchy-fried noodles or the thicker kind that you like.

            The ideal noodles that you want, is the fried portion of the noodle kind of hard-and-chewy, rather than crisp-and-crumbly, and depends on the sauce to soften the fried parts enough to eat?

            3 Replies
            1. re: PeterCC

              I was also thinking Hop Li for those kinds of noodles, but haven't ordered this type of dish there in a while, and haven't been to either Hop Li but sparingly...

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Hop Li is my emergency-authentic Chinese food place to go. I try not to "have to" go there more than once or twice a year. I'd rather go to Chin Chin and enjoy it for what it is, if I can't go to SGV for the real stuff.

                (Admittedly, I haven't tried Hop Woo or Mandarin Kitchen, which I hear is better than Hop Li, while still being on the Westside.)

                Edit: Looking at the photos on Yelp for Hop Li, it looks like they use the thin yellow noodles:

              2. re: PeterCC

                YES you definitely seem to be talking about the same noodles.

                I had to laugh when I saw Hop Li mentioned. No, I haven't been there, but one of the pics I put of the noodles I don't want is from... you guessed it. So I don't think I'll go to Hop Li haha