We walk for a few minutes again while the sun is slowly setting. You can see the shadows kissing the facades gradually changing. It is getting darker but has that tranquil feel to it. Slowly, I notice people relaxing down with the way they walk. I do not mind this kind of vibe at all. I have been in the busiest district in the Metro, a little laid back time is all I need, to be honestly speaking.
Before sundown, we reach Lan Zhou La Mien. Unfamiliar Chinese characters written against its glass doors. One by one, we push the doors open and settle down next to each other. Our guide walks up to us and tells us a little trivia about the store’s name which I don’t catch again because I am too fixated with the food in front of me.
After taking “artsy” snapshots of the food, I find myself in a pickle — “which food should I eat first?”
I place the beef noodles bowl nearer to me and smell its aroma before starting to dig in. The rich brown beef looks enticing as it sits on top. On its sides are spring onions drizzled all over to create this illusion that its in a sea of wavy hand-pulled noodles. There’s a large Chinese chard lying across the bowl that looks like a ship trapped inside a moat.
Involuntarily, my hand grabs the soup spoon and cautiously stirs the noodles. I reach in for the first sip and the robust flavors explode inside my mouth. It managed to balance out the salty nature of noodles and the minty flavor of the spring onions. I sip some more before finally eating the noodle.
I’m slurping the food now — the loudest of all inside the shop, I assume. I can’t help myself from being that person who loves noodles so much.
I catch one beef inside the spoon and take a bite. It’s so tender, it’s not like I’m eating beef. I was used to beef being so gummy that I end up getting tired of chewing it. Moreover, you can taste the broth in it, which is a sign of a very excellent marinating treatment.
I pick up dumplings in between eating noodles and talking to my travel buddies. I alternately take one steamed and one fried with my wooden chopsticks. They both taste equally good. The one is crisp and the other is so gentle. I dip each piece I get and let it soak for a millisecond before getting too soggy. The fried dumpling surprisingly is as tender as the steamed one.
If you’re looking for an authentic noodle shop then this is your place. Lan Zhou La Mien will make you reminisce of those good food you had when you had your trips in Hong Kong or Southern China. Let the noodle transcend you to that day when it was just you and your travel buds, looking outside with that November rain pouring so hard and there’s nothing in the world that felt so good except a warm bowl of hand-pulled noodles and talks of crazy travel experiences.
Address: 818 Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila
Telephone Number: (02) 2445365