Emperor Noodles Finally Opens
After months of preparation, Emperor Noodles has finally opened up in San Gabriel, and it seems like it might have been worth the wait. They make their own noodles in house and serve a variety of noodle soup, thought mostly with strange piggy parts. However most noteworthy are a couple of Shanghai specialties. Wild yellowfish egg rolls are something I haven't seen before and are quite tasty, though a little fishy. And while shen jen bao are commonly available, I haven't see any like this before. To borrow a phrase from Jonathan Gold, these babies are weapons grade. They're the size of a small cupcake and toasted with sesame seeds probably a third of the way up. Pork filling is conventional size, though. Address is 800 W. Las Tunas Dr., #300.
So me and my dad rolled through today for lunch. We ordered:
*Pork kidney noodle soup
*Shanghai fried rice cake
The SJB was well-cooked - it looked "right" and the skin, I thought, was quite good in terms of being strong enough to hold the dumpling together but not a pain to bite through (see Kang Kang's version of this dish to see what i mean). The problem was that the meat inside was kind of bland. I know there's a tendency for SJB's to be sugared up so I'm glad they didn't go overboard there but man, it needed some more savory seasoning or something. Just was kind of 'meh' in my mouth, you know?
Pork kidney noodle soup was actually pretty good. I'm not a big fan of pork kidney but my dad likes it so I just let him order whatever he wanted. The broth was nicely balanced on the salt/spicy tip and the noodles looked and felt freshly made and were cooked right. I'd be curious to try a different noodle soup on their menu (they have quite a lot) and see how much better the bowl would be with meat I actually liked.
The fried rice cake = generic. Honestly, the only reason we ordered it is because I'm trying to avoid wheat but rice is fine so this was a stop-gap measure of sorts. That said, I wouldn't order it again.
Business for lunch on a Thursday was pretty chill. Maybe 4 tables full, including ours?
I went for lunch today and was pleasantly surprised. I had low hopes for it just because that spot has such bad luck, but the food was decent.
I had the vegetarian chicken, which was flavorful and tender. The Shanghai fried rice cakes, which was nice and chewy if not a little bland, but probably because it was ordered without pork or MSG for my husband.
The shen jian bao was one of the best I've had in LA so far. The bottom was nice and crispy while the top was pillowy and soft and not at all soggy. The filling was quite savory and wasn't bland at all, nor sweet. And I thought there was a decent amount of broth in it (see picture in this post: http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2012/...).
I didn't get a chance to try all their delicious-sounding offal dishes, but maybe next time. The table next to us got the yellow fish noodle soup which looked good. Did anyone try that one out yet?