Bear with me while I catch up on some of the more popular joints in the San Gabriel Valley...I'm doing some reviews for another outlet and thought I'd preview them here. 101 Noodle Express, a modest Alhambra minimall storefront, is so popular, in fact, that it's where the Blood and Dumplings tour I mentioned earlier will be stopping for sustenance. And there's plenty of sustenance there, mostly of the starchy variety. Their famous beef roll, pictured at left, is like a bastard child of a burrito and a bahn mi, or what a wrap could be if it had any ambition. While it looks really heavy, the fried pancake encloses fairly delicate slices of beef and a refreshing sprinkle of cilantro along with some hoisin sauce, so it's actually possible to power through at least half of the order without your stomach exploding. Matt says I hogged four pieces out of the six, but I think I was in a beef roll coma, as I have no memory of that. The sweet and sour soup, which you can glimpse above the beef roll, is an excellent variation on hot and sour soup that mellows and deepens in flavor after a day in the fridge, where it will sit while you finish digesting the beef roll. The next time I get sick, I will require a vat of it delivered to my house, please. We also tried the pumpkin dumplings with shrimp and pork -- a hearty serving of thick-skinned sinkers full of pork with just enough chopped pumpkin to seduce you into thinking there was a vegetable in the meal. Can anyone describe the wheat/grain dry noodles or mixed grains dry noodles on their menu? What about lamb sticks? And how are the eggplant hot noodles? There's plenty to explore on the menu.
101 Noodle Express
1408 E. Valley Blvd.