Our Critics' Picks


101 Noodle Express

1408 E. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Best Of
101 Noodle Express +

Photo by Anne Fishbein


  • Daily 11am-1am
  • $
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • No Alcohol
  • Family Style, Takeout
  • Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Accepted, Reservations Not Accepted
A bleak mini-mall storefront next to a bowling alley, 101 Noodle Express isn't undiscovered, exactly, although in all my visits I have never had a waitress say a word to me in English that didn't happen to be "7-up" or "Coca-Cola." Everybody orders a lovely if orthodox bowl of hot-sour soup, and a tan, wrinkly specialty called "De Zhou chicken." But mostly, the cafe is home to the Shandong-style beef roll, a massive, bronzed construction that commands its platter like two El Tepeyac burritos laid side by side - brawny Chinese pancakes rolled around slivers of stewed beef and seasoned with a sprinkling of chopped scallion tops and fresh cilantro. The inside of the beef roll is smeared with a sweet, house-made bean paste with an ethereal, almost transparent top note, a bean paste that bears the same relationship to ordinary hoisin sauce that a fine demi-glace might to a slug of canned brown gravy. It is a simple composition, and yet not ordinary street food raised to a transcendent level.

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