No. 1 Noodle House (Rowland Heights)

Okay folks, repeat after me: Rowland Heights. As in ROH-land Heights. That is the proper way to pronounce the city right off of the Fullerton exit on the 60. Now that that’s out of the way, how about some noodles?

No. 1 Noodle House is located in a food-court in Yes Plaza in Rowland Heights. It’s incredibly hard to find from the street, so just pull into the plaza, find parking, and walk toward the inside corner, where the weird house facades are. The people working at the restaurant has okay English, but the main menu is all in Chinese, so either bring a friend who can speak Chinese, or be ready to do a lot of pointing at pictures and asking questions.

You order at the counter, pay, are given a number, and find a seat inside the indoor food-court. If it’s a warm, sunny day like the day I visited, sit outside.

No. 1 Noodle House
No. 1 Noodle Nouse is known for their spicy beef noodle soup. The noodles have the same texture and taste as ramen noodles, but aren’t as crinkled. I asked for what amounts to “mild” spice in the soup, but they must have a different scale than me, because I was breaking into a sweat after the second slurp. The soup packs a powerful heat, but not that much Szechuan numbness, so order accordingly. Despite the pain my mouth was in, I couldn’t stop myself from slurping up spoonful after spoonful of savory, beefy soup.

The beef in the soup, which I couldn’t really taste because my tongue was on fire, had the texture of corned beef. It was tender, fell apart in strings, and was a much needed respite from the chili-oil-laden soup. I also enjoyed the various pickled veggies thrown into the soup, but had to be careful that I wasn’t accidentally eating a chili pepper disguised as a green bean.

No. 1 Noodle House
The BF likes the dan dan mien (cold noodles) here. If you’re looking for a solid meal, be sure to order the large serving, because the default size is quite small. He ordered these vegan (I assume the regular version has ground meat), and extra spicy. The cook took the extra spicy to heart because he put in a healthy dollop of chili paste in this bowl. I’m a wimp and already suffering some mouth pain, so I didn’t dare try a bite of these.

No. 1 Noodle House is a delicious, quick place to drop by for some good, spicy noodles and not a lot of frill. That means that you shouldn’t go there for the ambiance, although I did like sitting outside watching a nearby table of Asian high school kids play cards. It also means that you shouldn’t visit if you think that Pace Picante Salsa is the epitome of spicy. Only visit if you like eating in hole-in-the wall Chinese restaurants reminiscent of noodle stands in China. Oh yeah, do yourself a favor and grab a cold watermelon slushy at Tea Bar next door before you sit down and attack the red-hot noodles. Your fire-breathing mouth will thank me later.

No. 1 Noodle House
18180 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 839-7093
No 1 Noodle House in Los Angeles

Sapp Coffee Shop’s Famous Thai Boat Noodles

Maybe it’s because I live with a vegan and usually eat vegan or vegetarian meals at home, but sometimes, I get The Hunger(tm) and it’s not just a craving that anything can satisfy — it’s hunger for a mouth-watering, tantalizing, meat dish.

The Hunger drove me to Sapp Coffee Shop for lunch on a Friday afternoon when I just happened to be working from home. The Thai restaurant, famous for appearing in Anthony Bourdain’s show, is well known for their Thai Boat Noodles. My stomach growled in anticipation as soon as I walked in and scoped out the room: bright yellow lights, rickety chairs, an all Thai specials menu board, a set of condiments on each table — all signs pointing to a tasty authentic meal.

I sat down knowing right away what I wanted: Thai Boat Noodles with all sorts of random meat (#3 in the menu). Wanting to gauge the taste of the soup first, I ordered it to be medium spicy instead of full on spicy.

Sapp Coffee Shop: Thai Boat Noodles

My bowl of Thai Boat Noodles came out after a few minutes. I took a tentative slurp of the dark, murky soup and was blown away. If pho broth is the soft caress of a feather, this broth is a kick in the face with steel toed boots. The broth was complex with hints of sweetness, spice, rich beef flavor, and a refreshing tang that had me slurping one spoonful after the other.

The broth was phenomenal, but I wish I could say the same of the noodles. The rice noodles came clumped together, as if they had been sitting around pre-cooked for a while. I had to exert some effort to untangle each bite of noodle from the main clump.

The meats in my bowl fared better than the noodles. The beef balls were crisp and flavorful, but could have been hotter. The fried skins still had a nice crunch to them and were even more delicious after soaking up some of the rich broth. The pieces of beef were a bit on the tough side, but were fragrant with soy sauce and star anise.

The Thai Boat Noodles at Sapp Coffee Shop were exactly what I was craving and satiated The Hunger beautifully, but a few hours later, I was craving the broth again. Even as I type this up now, I’m wondering if I should pop over and have another bowl. $5.50 is a hell of a deal for a bowl of tasty, rich broth with a clump of rice noodles thrown in.

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Sapp Coffee Shop
5183 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA‎
(323) 665-1035‎

Homemade Spicy Noodles

Dinner: spicy herbal soupI know it’s getting hot and all, but I had a craving for noodles in a spicy herbal broth last week. I finally got around to making it this week and the homemade noodles I made this time were even better than the ones I made last time, although a bit too salty for my tastes. Maybe I shouldn’t have put so much salt in the noodle boiling water.

The broth was pretty simple: random Chinese herbs, kombu, salt, szechuan spicy hot pot paste, and soy sauce. I also added some sliced vegan kidney (scary, I know) to the broth to add some texture and protein to the dish. I then added some cabbage and arugula just because veggies are good.

The noodles were the best part of the dish, IMO. As the BF said, they were rustic. I’d like to think them as artisan, the perfect balance of chewy and plump.

Dinner: spicy herbal soup