Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lao Xi Er Noodle House- Arcadia, CA

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Exterior

Lao Xi Er Noodle House (老西兒面馆) is a recent entrant to the San Gabriel Valley noodle scene, specializing in Shanxi style noodles. Located in the southern part of Arcadia, Lao Xi Er adds a different perspective to a mélange of varied dining options located less than one block away from one another, not limited to Italian (Alex Di Peppe's), Vietnamese (Pho-licious), Japanese (Mako Sushi), Mexician (Cabreras), Taiwanese (Cafe Fusion), and Chinese (Fishing Boat Chinese Cuisine).

After hearing about Lao Xi Er from Clarissa Wei's post on Eater, we visited and since then, Lao Xi Er has become one of our go-to places for noodles. Within its small, humble surroundings (there are around 10 tables in the restaurant), the husband-wife duo and their team serves up a small selection of noodles, soups, dumplings, and a handful of appetizers and entrees that are quite well-executed.


Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Salad of Wood Ear Mushroom, Pig's Ear Salad, Cucumber with Hot and Sour Sauce
Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Dried Bean Curd Salad, Pig's Ear Salad, and Salad of Sliced Potato

To start off one's meal, Lao Xi Er offers a varied selection of appetizers. One page of three in their menu is dedicated to cold appetizers (凉菜), where one can choose three items (including vegeterian, pork, and beef options) to make a larger platter for sharing.

We've had the Salad of Wood Ear (凉拌木耳), Cucumber with Hot and Sour Sauce (酸辣黄瓜条), Salad of Sliced Potato (凉拌土豆丝) and Dried Bean Curd Salad (凉拌腐竹) from the vegeterian items, all of which have been solid renditions--quite freshly prepared, and not over-seasoned. The wood ear, cucumber, and potato salads were nicely  vinegary, while the bean curd sheets and cabbage were savory and coated with a light layer of oil. Lao Xi Er's Pig's Ear Salad (凉拌猪耳朵), on the other hand, is quite neat in that the pig ear comes in thick strips, which emphasizes the pig ear's crunchy white cartilage and chewy, jelly like exterior.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: "Ping Yao Wan Tuo" Delicacies

A few of their House Special items (特色菜) also serve as good starters. The "Ping Yao Wan Tuo" Delicacies (平遥碗托, 4.75 USD) has sliced, steamed dough mixed with sesame sauce, chili oil, garlic, and sesame seeds. The dough pieces were chewy and tender, and provided a nice canvas for the rich sesame and spicy oil.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: "Hun Yuan" Cold Jelly

More well known and commonly ordered is the "Hun Yuan" Cold Jelly (渾源涼粉, 5.75 USD), which has steamed potato flour jelly also mixed with sesame sauce, chili oil, and sesame seeds (and sometimes, wasabi too), with some julienned cucumber providing a lightness and texture contrast. The jelly is thickly cut and is quite soft and chewy. Likewise, it pairs well with the sauces, which are great paired with some of other Lao Xi Er's dishes when you want a flavor boost. 

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA:  Wife's Special Noodle with Fried Pork (He Lao Style)
Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Wife's Special Noodle with Fried Pork (He Lao Style)

One of the unique items offered at Lao Xi Er is the Wife's Special Noodle with Fried Pork (He Lao Style) (老婆小炒肉河撈面, 9.25 USD), which has three different toppings--ground pork mixed with fermented soy, braised pork belly, and tomato and egg-- mixed with helao noodles --河撈面-- and some greens that varies from time to time. 

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA:  Wife's Special Noodle with Fried Pork (He Lao Style), Mixed

Together, you get a tasty pairing of sweet, savory, meaty, and bright flavors coming together. The thick, extruded, round noodles are helpful, as the extrusion provides a light texture that helps the noodles grab on to the sauces.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Noodle in Lamb Soup (Mao Er'duo Style)

A hearty item on the menu is the Noodle in Lamb Soup (Mao Er'duo Style)(羊湯貓耳朵, 8.99 USD)Mao Er'duo, or cat ears, are small pieces of dough that are shaped by pressing one's thumb forward, lending to the slight curl of the noodle. Wood ear, white button mushrooms, and lamb cubes provide additional depth to the lamb soup, while some cilantro and green onions provide some needed brightness. Some glass noodles provide some additional texture contrast.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Lao Xi'er Special Beef Noodle Soup

Lao Xi‘er Special Beef Noodle Soup (老西兒特色牛肉面, 9.99 USD) is also hearty, if a bit simpler. Thin noodles are paired with tender beef cubes and cilantro in a clear beef broth that is not too imbued with seasoning.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Whole Lamb Soup Noodle

A more complex, richer noodle soup is the Whole Lamb Soup Noodle (全羊汤面11.99 USD), which comes with various lamb parts and the thin noodles in a milky lamb broth. Do note that it is possible to switch the noodle type, if desired.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: House Special Fried Noodle with Fried Boiled Pork (Dao Xiao Style)

In contrast to the relatively lightly seasoned noodle soups, Lao Xi Er's House Special Fried Noodle with Fried Boiled Pork (Dao Xiao Style) (過油肉炒刀削面, 8.99 USD) is a deeply seasoned, flavorful stir fried noodle dish. Chewy knife cut (also known as dao xiao) noodles are paired with guo you 過油 pork, which can also be ordered individually as an entree. Slices of pork loin are sautéed with plenty of oil, wood ear mushrooms, leek, onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and black vinegar. The pork loin is prepared so that it is soft and tender, and flavored deeply with the soy and black vinegar, which cuts through the carbohydrates and oil quite well. 

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: House Special Fried Noodle with Fried Boiled Pork (Mao Er'duo Style
Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: House Special Fried Noodle with Fried Boiled Pork (Mao Er'duo Style)

Given that you can order the previous dish with dao xiao noodles, one can also order it with mao er duo noodles if desired. The mao er duo noodles act like sliced rice cakes, and the smaller nature of the noodles makes this preparation easy to scoop and eat. The sesame sauce from the cold jelly pairs well with the noodles in either case, if you want additional flavor.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Lao Xi'er Fried Vegetables Mixed with Flour (Bo Lan Zi)

To go along with the noodles and side dishes, the Lao Xi'er Fried Vegetables Mixed with Flour (Bo Lan Zi, 老西兒撥爛子, 7.25 USD) is an intriguing veggie option. Potato slices are coated with flour, providing a noodle like texture. After those are cooked, they are stir fried with carrots, wood ear, onions, eggs, and some chili peppers for a lightly salted vegetable side.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Dumpling

Dumplings (水饺, 8-8.99 USD, 12 per order) can be ordered with pork and leek, pork and napa, or lamb fillings on the standard menu. Occasionally, other flavors pop up on the menu too, such as pork and fennel. Their dumplings are on the smaller side, with lighter seasoning compared to most restaurants, but the fillings are of good quality and the skins pliant.

Lao Xi Er provides well prepared Shanxi cuisine, with plenty of noodle types and dishes offered to satisfy the palate. The surroundings may be simple, the service friendly, albeit sometimes slow during busy periods, but the food has been consistently well-prepared.


Lao Xi Noodle House (Yelp)
600 E Live Oak Ave Ste A
Arcadia, CA 91006
Tel: (626) 348-2290
***Closed Mondays

Lao Xi Er Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


P.S. Lao Xi Er also occasionally offers special items on a blackboard menu, if you would like to try non-regular menu items.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Spicy Intestines

One example of this was this dish of of spicy intestines, which unlike the fried version on the menu, is boiled and pan fried with a spicy sauce. These intestines were quite rich but not too fatty, with the onion providing some additional sweetness.

Dumplings, noodles, and other meats occasionally pop up on this menu too.

Lao Xi Noodle House- Arcadia, CA: Crispy Onion Pancake

Previously on their menu was also this Crispy Onion Pancake (4.25 USD), which hit the flaky and tender marks of a good scallion pancake. I do wish there was more green onion in their rendition, however. 

2 comments:

KirkK said...

Looks pretty good. I've heard a bit about this place.

EatTravelEat said...

Kirk,
It's one of the restaurants that I re-frequent!