Frugal Find: Tasty Noodle House

North China’s coastal cuisine outshines the namesake starch at Tasty Noodle House
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Photograph by Jessica Boone

The menu’s first three pages of northern Chinese soups, dumplings, potstickers, and steamed buns are merely a prelude. San Gabriel’s Tasty Noodle House (the name is misleading; you’ll find noodles here, but they’re not the focus) specializes in updates of the robust dishes of Dalian, a coastal city in northeastern China. Hunks of braised eggplant are dotted with baby shrimp, still firm beneath a rich brown glaze. Stir-fried lamb is flavor packed with cumin and a slew of chilis, but here it arrives without the usual puddle of oil. A star anise-kissed stew of pork rib and potatoes is given some California-style brightness, thanks to fresh tomatoes and al dente green beans. Marine world: What’s with all the jellyfish and sea snails on the menu? Dalian is on a peninsula surrounded by the Yellow Sea, and chefs make abundant use of ocean creatures—including the jiggly ones.  » 827 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, 626-284-8898.