At this place, playing with your food is the only way to get it fresh.
Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are always a good sign of delicious food. When it comes to Binondo‘s Lan Zhou La Mien, this holds true. Despite not being into soup at all, I went with two of my best friends to try it out.
Lan Zhou La Mien: No frills, all skills
The facade of the Masangkay Street, Manila branch, in particular, is a bit nondescript. Some pass by the branch without even giving it a second thought. But a closer inspection reveals the front window offers you a peek into their kitchen. You won’t even have to go inside to watch their cooks pulling noodles like experts! It’s definitely entertaining.
Once inside, the interior isn’t extremely jazzed up. This is in line with many other Chinese/Cantonese food places. Not for anything else, mind you. They only want you to focus on the food. That’s a gamble that’s paid off over the years.
La Mien gets their name from “lamian.” This is the Chinese word for “pulled noodles,” taken from the term for long, thin noodles (mian) and the word pull (la). While they also serve dumplings and fried rice, their crowning glory is their lamian. Their best seller is the beef la mien, followed by the spareribs la mien.
Pulled noodles, filled stomachs
Of course, our trio ordered the best of the best on their menu. I got the spicy version of the beef la mien, LKN got spareribs la mien and MJ got the classic beef la mien. As a person that’s not into soup, my expectations were extra high. Lan Zhou La Mien tore down my walls, big time.
Hand-pulled noodles have a texture all on their own. They have a firmness that can’t be mistaken for anything else. That’s why they’re preferred by many. There’s consistent pulling happening in the Lan Zhou La Mien kitchen. If you want to watch your noodles get pulled, ask the staff. It means your food will take a little longer, of course, but the wait will definitely be worth it!
Portion-wise, you might think they served you two bowls in one! The broth is clean and light but still manages to give the stomach a warm feeling. The spicy beef la mien was a little light on the spice for me. But thankfully, their tables are well-equipped with condiments for adjustments according to taste.
Lan Zhou La Mien is on Benavidez St., near Metropolitan Hospital in Manila. Delivery is available via the likes of Lalamove, with prior arrangement. For a more upscale ambiance, visit their Lucky Chinatown Mall branch. Contact 09178266888 or check out their official Facebook page for more information.
Featured Image Macky Arquilla