Back when I first started posting on Chowhound—back in the bad ol' days before even the Hot Posts feature was available and everything was just a grey blob of threaded discussions—I remember the excitement about Malan Noodles. Hand-pulled noodles! Get a show and then get a bowl of beef soup!
I went, and I was enthralled. It was just five dollars for a bowl of these wonders. You could pick the noodles and they'd make it right there, throw it into a pot of water, then drain it and top it with soup, herbs and beef. It sparked my love for the San Gabriel Valley, a love that was nurtured by years of working in Rosemead.
As I was driving along the 60 tonight, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia, and I decided to have dinner at Malan for old time's sake.
I don't know if it's the same, and I just didn't know any better at the time, or if it's gone downhill, but it was not a good meal at all. I ordered thin noodles—my fault really, I suppose—and there was no way enough time passed for the noodles to be made by hand before the bowl was set on my table. The noodles were totally mushy and overcooked, without a shred of "cui", the toothsome "pop" texture that corresponds to al dente. Moreover, they'd been carelessly whisked out of the water and had drained their water into the weak soup, so that I had to add black vinegar just to get some taste into the soup.
The beef was carelessly cut and incompletely stewed, and the whole thing was covered in cilantro, which dominated the broth.
It was disappointing. I paid—the price has gone up, of course, but not much, to $7—and left unhappy.
2020 S Hacienda Blvd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745