There has been some previous discussion of restaurants in the Monterey Park area specializing in noodles and dumplings, but the topic has not been treated in any detail. I frequently visit the area, often try new places, but am rarely excited by the noodles I find. Since I lived for three years in Taipei and a year in Beijing, my standards are fairly high. When I see zha jiang mian on a menu, I am hoping for a variety of julienned crisp vegetables atop a sauce with some spice to it--not pure dou ban jiang (bean paste). When I see hong you chao shou on a menu, I want small, delicate wonton-style dumplings in a piquant, oily broth--not big, sticky dumplings in glop. When I see cong you bing (scallion pancakes) on a menu, I want large, chewy, savory pancakes that have been browned on the outside without a lot of oil (and I now know that I can find these in Westminster at Peking Restaurant--but not at Mandarette and not at any other place I've been to in southern California). The noodles need not be dao xiao mian (knife-shaved noodles), but they should have some chew to them. Has anyone familiar with the better xian bing, niu rou mian, dan dan mian, you doufu xi fen, guo tie, cong you bing, niu rou da bing of Taiwan ever encountered their equivalent in Monterey Park (broadly conceived)?
And besides the fine Ranch 99 markets, are other markets in the MP area worth visiting? I am especially interested in water chestnuts, holy basil, good kimchi and pea sprouts.