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By Steven Li on 2007-03-07

March 06, 2007

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My dad and I both get along so well because we eat with such enthusiasm. You see, when we eat at family dinners, or even with my grandparents, my dad takes care to not slurp his noodles loudly. Because then my grandma will scold him in Chinese like he as if he were still a child, and who wants that. But when he eats with me and it is just the two of us, he knows slurping with gusto is a great free for all. So we both slurp away. And I guess this is a habit I picked up, because I’ve noticed that I only slurp my noodles when I eat with dad. Whenever a third person is present, slurping quickly becomes nonexistent.

My dad and I have long agreed that our favorite noodles to slurp in all LA is a Noodle Cafe in Monterey Park. When he came to visit me we came to Noodle Cafe for breakfast FIVE times. And he was only here for five days, so you can see how much he likes this place. If I had discovered Noodle Cafe on my own, I would have mostly likely found the noodles to be good, very good in fact, but hardly a place worth making a daily excursion of 40 miles for everyday of the week. But because I have become coming here since the tender age of 10, Noodle Cafe is somewhat ingrained in my blood. And in that sense I’ve developed a nostalgic fondness for this place, dirty tables and all.

The menu covers a wide range of noodling territory, but we always seem to end up ordering the fish and chicken noodle soup ($4.50). It is as plain noodle soups go, but splendid in taste. A very mellow chicken based soup made complete with a generous hand of wide cut funn, so soft, pure, and positively slippery in your mouth. Shreds of dark chicken meat and pollack, sweet and simple, give substance, and a round of fried onions and green onions for color. If you ask politely, they’ll even bury a mound of boiled bean sprouts beneath the funn, giving a welcomed, contrasting crunch to the noodles. We slurp our noodles with great joy from beginning with no end in sight, and take comfort in our neighboring diners, who too, more often than not, know how to properly slurp a bowl of Chinese noodles.

And of course, you would be silly to think that an order of noodle soup is complete without a stick or two of you tiao ($.95). There is nothing quite as decadent as sinking the crisp fried tail of you tiao into the steaming hot soup and letting it sit there till its wonderful sponging abilities soak up all the savory flavors of the soup. Ah yes, I like my you tiao soggy, buffonned up to twice it’s original size and falling apart in your mouth, there’s something so wrong about it, that it becomes so right. Or maybe I just picked it up from dad. Like father like daughter, we savor our noodle soups and fried dough, soaked soggy.

Noodle Cafe
441 W Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754-1632
(626) 307-8849



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