I can’t remember the last time I was up in San Gabriel Valley for a Chinese meal, but I know it’s been WAY too long. Over the weekend, we drove up to meet some friends we’ve not seen in a very long time, and to share a long overdue meal together.
Noodle Harmony is a little hole-in-the-wall in the same plaza as one of my favorite Hong Kong-style bakeries (Kee Wah). They speak perfect English, so there’s no reason for non-Mandarin speakers to be intimidated in any shape or form. We order an array of dishes to share, starting with appetizers.
My son is a huge fan of pig ears and therefore, Pork Ear in Chili Oil Dressing ($6.99) is a must. I love the texture of pig ears — slightly crunchy — and seasoned in a beautiful dressing that’s not overly spicy. This cold dish is a perfect way to whet your taste-buds for what’s to come.
Tofu with Green Onion and Garlic ($3.99) is a surprisingly delight. Soft tofu is topped with not only scallions and garlic, but a savory sauce with hints of bean flavor. We all agree it is one of the most delicious and innovative ways to serve tofu.
I’m a huge fan of Mung Bean Cold Noodle ($5.99) and the one here is fantastic. The slippery mung bean noodles are tasteless on their own, but with a good sauce, it is transformed into something wonderful. The sauce has ample dark vinegar to give it the acid it needs, and very garlicky. I’m salivating just thinking about it. It is a must-order!
We order the refreshing Cucumber ($3.99) as a respite to cool our palates when the heat becomes too much to bear.
With ‘noodles’ in its name, we make sure to order some to try. Signature Beef Noodle Soup ($10.99) is stellar. The soup base is rich and flavorful without being greasy. There is a generous amount of tender beef brisket as well. I am impressed by the texture of the noodles… perfectly executed, possessing a chewiness that remains even after soaking in the hot broth for a little while.
Dan Dan Noodles ($6.99) are also tasty, although a little more ground pork would have been welcomed — I would have gladly paid a few dollars extra for it. Even so, it is better than any dan dan noodles we’ve experienced in Orange County.
We are interested in a house specialty — Spicy Crawfish Noodle ($9.99) — a dry noodle dish with seasoned crawfish. The noodles are incredibly aromatic, and the crawfish is good if you’re willing to put in the work to coax them out of their shells.
Often times, Sichuan cuisine can be overly greasy, overly salty, and overly spicy. My son commented on this when we were last in Hong Kong, how the Sichuan food doesn’t taste the same as it does in OC. I believe Noodle Harmony has mastered the subtle art of balancing the flavors, like they do in Hong Kong. I love how bouncy the noodles are here, and every noodle dish possesses a flavor of its own. Whether you’re into dry noodles, or soup noodles, know that you’ll receive a piping hot bowl that is flavorful without one flavor overwhelming the other. Now if only they’ll open a location in Orange County!
735 W Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754