Frugal Find: Tasty Noodle House

North China’s coastal cuisine outshines the namesake starch at Tasty Noodle House

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.