China's Shanxi Province is known for noodles. At Lao Xi Noodle House, a small, unassuming restaurant in an Arcadia strip mall, you'll find about a dozen types of them that are not commonly seen in the SGV. There are knife-cut noodles (dao xiao mian), thick, rough-edged noodles made by slicing off chunks of dough with a knife. Cat's ear noodles (mao er duo), reminiscent of Italian orecchiette and named for their resemblance to feline ears, are made here from buckwheat flour and served on their own, or in a lamb soup. A real specialty is the “wife's special noodle,” which features white noodles pressed freshly into boiling water and served with pork, tomato, egg and bok choy. There are also thick noodles made from buckwheat flour and Hun Yuan cold jelly, made from potato starch and similar to the mung bean jelly noodles popular at Sichuan restaurants. This is a small restaurant run by a married couple from the capital city of Taiyuan, with dishes made fresh to order, so it can take some time to prepare. Don't be in a rush; relax and be rewarded with true Shanxi-style home cooking.
Credit: Jim Thurman