SGV: Chasing Beef Noodles at Dai Ho
My noodles partner and I have started our noodle blow-outs with a vengeance again. We recently visited Chengdu and said our next point of attack was Dai Ho. I have heard of this small noodle shops for years but stories of the “Noodles Nazi” never interested me. I wanted to know if the noodles were actually good. Stories of the Noodles Nazi yelling at you to not read newspapers or books while eating lunch seemed intimidating. When I got to the tidy shop in Temple City, I was relieved to see he was nowhere in sight. Instead, the restaurant is run almost entirely by women–at least the front of the house.
My noodles partner has been here before. She usually gets the peanut noodles and minced meat noodles. She said she never heard the spicy beef noodles was the thing to get. That’s funny because that seemed to be the only thing that mattered in reviews I read. So we compromised and got all three. We opted for small bowls of the peanut noodles and the minced meat. The spicy beef only comes in one size.
Since Peking Tavern is my latest point of reference, I couldn’t help but compare that bowl to Dai Ho’s. Immediately I noticed Dai Ho’s had a good, clean broth but it didn’t seem very rich to me. It also wasn’t very spicy. Actually, it was spicy. We had asked for it to be medium spicy which I think they took as “these chicks are wimps, give them no spice.” We spooned the spicy oil from our firm tofu and tripe appetizer into the beef noodles but I have heard you can ask for chili oil.
What I liked about the bowl was the generous handful of spinach and tender beef. I had my doubts over some tough looking pieces but they turned out to be delicious.
We also noticed the noodles in all three bowls were the same. They were al dente and great but I wished each bowl had different noodles. For instance, the beef noodles would be great with hand torn noodles. And perhaps the minced meat could go with a slippery noodle, maybe mung bean.
As the appetizers go, my noodles partner ordered my favorite tripe and tofu. We wanted to try more but the prices at this place is quite a bit more than other shops in the vicinity. Chalk it up to popularity. The table next to us had a whole spread of appetizers. I might get the seaweed next time.
I like dan dan noodles or peanut noodles with minced meat so I was a little surprised by this bowl of plain peanut noodles. It also wasn’t spicy. This also got the leftover chili oil from our appetizer. I wouldn’t get this again but my noodles partner loves it.
We were rapidly running out of chili oil from our appetizer plate. But we managed to eek out some more for the noodles with minced meat. The minced pork noodles supposedly are better but also oilier. I’m glad we got to control the oiliness on our own. This was a good bowl but again, I missed the spice. And at $6.50, this was incredibly expensive for a small bowl. I hate saying I could get a giant bowl elsewhere for less but it’s true.
So no Noodles Nazi, small portions and more expensive than the rest of the SGV? All this would point to no return trip but I’d go back for the easy parking, beef noodles and more people so we can try more appetizers.
Dai Ho9148 Las Tunas Dr., Temple City, CA 91780 — (626) 291-2295
© The Minty 2013