SGV: Lucky Noodle King
When I heard Chaun Yu Noodle Town had closed, my heart hurt a little bit. Partly because I really enjoyed my experiences there and also from the remembered spicy food, in particular the dan dan noodles. Then I heard the chef had gone to Lucky Noodle King. I finally had a chance to try it out for myself last weekend with Anisha from Food is my Nish.
We started out with the seaweed salad I love so much. I was delighted by how enormous this dish was. At $3.50, this was an absolute steal. Anisha doesn’t eat beef so we didn’t order anything with beef which is fine since pork is king with me. The bean curd and pork dish with Chinese celery was a lovely dish.
Next came the mabo tofu. I was looking forward to this classic Sichuan dish but I have to admit that it was a bit strange. There was a citrus aftertaste. Anisha thought it was lemongrass. And after scooping around a bit, I found black beans in it (Chinese fermented soybeans). I don’t usually enjoy Chinese black beans and discarded them.
Then the moment came. I was waiting for the dan dan noodles, highly anticipating them because JGold had said they were even better than when they were at Chaun Yu. Well, they arrived in a smaller bowl than I remembered and covered in sauce. What is this? It didn’t look at all the same. Yes, I liked that there were move greens in this. But the wonderful freshly roasted peanuts were gone. And JGold may have liked the fresh noodles but I liked the bite of the al dente dried ones they used previously. Oh my god. This is not the dan dan noodles I wanted! Oh, sure, it was good. Better than some places but definitely not the same. Worst, it wasn’t even very spicy. Chaun Yu’s left a pool of spicy oil at the bottom of the bowl. This bowl was mostly peanut sauce.
Was this really the same chef? I heard some Cantonese being spoken in the kitchen though the server (owner?) spoke in Mandarin. You can easily see the two bowls are completely different. I’m going to vote this is a different chef. This place was busy with non-Chinese and capitalizing on good reviews. I know this is a foodie favorite but I’m going to have to go against the grain on this one. I am now in search of another Sichaun place that serves good dan dan noodles.
I do find it amusing the web site is pretty slick for this tiny noodles joint.
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Just finished my dan dan noodles…utterly disappointed. Soggy noodles, don'[t feel any numbing. J Gold raves about these dan dan noodles…seriously?
– Monsieur Know-It-All
Yes, I will never go back. I didn’t like the noodles AT ALL. I have found I don’t agree with The Critic about half the time. His taste is definitely not compatible with mine.
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The citrus aftertaste that you describe is coming from the sichuan peppercorns. I think you’ll find that “strange” flavor in most mapo tofu dishes in the SGV.