Jul 2009

101 Noodle Express – Alhambra

In spite of its billing, tangled heaps of slurp-worthy strands aren’t what it’s all about at 101 Noodle Express. A quick glance around the packed dining room makes it crystal clear that the beef rolls bring all the Northern Chinese bread food-seekers to the yard.

A Shandong classic, the hefty beef roll ($6.75) is comprised of a fried wheat pancake smeared with a hoisin-like bean paste and stuffed with fresh cilantro and thin cuts of beef. A single order includes two foot-long logs filled to the brim and sliced into manageable sections.

The flaky pancake was warm to the touch and substantial enough to keep the fixins in line. Unadorned, the beef roll tasted like a carne asada burrito with a bready exterior and no trace of guac. My dining companion thought it tasted like a deconstructed bowl of pho.

What really made the beef roll come alive were the two tableside condiments—a mixture of fresh chilies with cilantro and a chili infused oil. The container filled with the former was depleted by the time we were through.

It’s about time this restaurant drops the “101 noodle” gibberish and re-christens itself Beef Rolls Express.

101 Noodle Express
1408 East Valley Boulevard
Alhambra, CA 91801
Phone: 626-300-8654

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16 thoughts on “101 Noodle Express – Alhambra

  1. Argh, you’re evil Cathy. I’m eating strawberries and non-fat yogurt and you’re blogging about my favorite Beef Roll in the area. I always get this to-go and sometimes this can last 2 meals. Great place, but I’m actually curious about the rest of the menu!

  2. KFP – I tried the seaweed salad and the pork/shrimp/pumpkin fried dumplings during my visit. Both were fine, but not nearly as special as the famed beef roll. Some of their cold noodles sounded great though. Try those and let me know how it goes 😉

  3. Your writing is worthy of the Times’ food section, and by that I mean the New York Times. Excellent post. I have to hit this place up soon. Maybe lunch?

  4. If I actually liked cilantro, this would be my dream dish. But since I can’t stand the vile weed, this beef roll would be my worst nightmare. (I know, flame away. As Tony C. once said, someone needs to take away my Chinese badge)

    But, enough about me. Great post as always!

  5. I love the Beef Roll there. It’s never failed me no matter how many times I’ve been there. Your next trip there, try the Shandong Chicken. It’s a cold chicken dish that’s so refreshing, especially in this heat.

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