After reading several recent reviews here (and reviewing Jon Gold's review) my girlfriend and I decided to head for the wilds of Temple City to check out Dumpling House on Rosemead.
The place was nice and soothing. A little fountain gurgled away. Friendly faces greeted us and some lilting Chinese music and piped in sounds of birds tweeting echoed softly in the background. After reading a recent report of someone's terrible experience with the owner at Malan, I can understand why they felt much better upon arriving here. The server was friendly and helpful. We ordered the fried dumplings, za jiang mien (noodles in brown sauce), and broccoli.
After a few minutes, we realized that we did not specify 'hand pulled' noodles, so we asked a server and she assurred us that we would be served hand pulled noodles. In fact hand pulled noodles seem to be a big deal here-- not just because of J Gold's Counter Intelligence article (which they have framed and mounted near the endtrance), but because in BIG Chinese characters on the back wall with a purple background, it says "HAND PULLED NOODLES" (my girlfriend speaks Mandarin)
The first items arrived at the same time. Fried dumplings and broccoli. The broccoli was steamed but there was more to it than that-- it must have been quickly sauteed in garlic as well as the veg was quite flavorful and wonderful brilliant green in color. Sadly this was standard broccoli, not the Chinese variety, but it was still delicious.
Next were the fried dumplings. Note that these were not pan fried, but were in fact deep fried, with a really nice just-chewy-enough exterior to contrast with the soft filling. An unexpected but satisfying surprise.
Now-- here's where it turned really weird. The bowl of noodles in brown sauce arrived. The opaque sauce covered the top of the noodles, so we were unable to see underneath without mixing them. To my utter dismay, I saw the round, spaghetti-like sheen of machine made noodles. We called the waitress over and pointed this out to her. "These are the hand pulled noodles" she said, and walked away. I shook my head and looked back down. "Could they be?" I thought to myself. Perhaps they've just got a noodle chef with a really even hand back there. We continued to eat the soft, not-chewy noodles, growing more and more confused. We called over they grey-haired owner of the restaurant and asked him about the noodles. "These are hand pulled noodles," he said. "We trim the ends so that they are all the same length. Next time you can ask for the 'grandfathers and sons' (Chinese slang for including it all) and we will cook your order that way."
I looked at the noodles and couldn't believe what I was hearing... there was NO WAY these could have been hand pulled noodles. They were entirely uniform and contained no trademark characteristics of the rough squared edges and uneven widths that make real hand-pulled noodles such a culinary treat.
I've included photos of all of our dishes... hopefully the link below will work. I ask you, fellow hounds, please chime in and let me know what your thoughts are on this... particularly if you've ordered the hand pulled noodles here before. Why in the world were we lied to? The whole thing is rather confusing.