Lanzhou Beef Noodle on Market Street in Nottingham is my favourite spot in the city to get my fix of noodle soup. It really helps that they are the most authentic that you will find outside of any Chinatown district.
Hand-pulled noodles in Nottingham? I hope you know how lucky you all are, I know I am feeling truly blessed 🙂
I first visited the week that they opened back in May when they were offering four different bowls of soup noodles and a noodle plate dish. Since then they have had added a couple more noodle plate dishes.
I think that I have eaten everything now that they have to offer, although I did see a chalk board on the back wall with the word “Dumplings” on it. So I am hopeful that there is still more to come!
Anyway just for now this is what I have devoured thus far 🙂
The Soup Noodles
They have Four soup noodle dishes on offer at Lanzhou Beef Noodles. Every dish is £7 which includes a drink. It’s hard to work that out from the menu so I am telling you now just to make it easier on you 🙂
The 4 soup dishes are “Braised Beef Noodle“, “Spicy Chicken Noodle“, “Tomato and Egg Noodle” and “Original Beef Noodle“.
Braised Beef Noodle
I already wrote about the Braised Beef Noodles (read more here) but I had another great picture of those super handpulled noodles floating in that lovely broth that I wanted to share
Below are my thoughts on the other three soup noodle bowls, in order of my favour.
Spicy Chicken Noodle
I really liked the Spicy Chicken Noodle, it is a very hearty and satisfying bowlful. There is not that much actual chicken in there but what is there chopped up on the bone does add loads of chicken flavour. There is a fair bit of potato as well which thickens up the soup as you eat it when it breaks down a little
The spiciness added from a little bit of chilli oil into the broth also helps to clear the sinuses and makes for a very warming experience. Slurping this soup certainly added a few beads of sweat onto my brow.
You can see the chicken fat floating in the soup too and it adds that kind of comfort that you get from a chicken soup when you are feeling under the weather
I would most certainly order this soup noodle dish again (and as an aside I have done on many occasions when I have a cold!)
Tomato and Egg Noodles
The Tomato and Egg Noodles brought back a lot of happy memories from my time working in China. We often had a simple bowl of tomato and egg soup at lunchtime and it was always very refreshing. I like this mixture alongside those hand pulled noodles as well. The tomato adds a little brightness and sharpness to the soup and the soft egg folded into the stock is very comforting.
You can have this as a meat free dish with just the noodle water as the base of the soup, or if you want you can also have it with the meat stock. It seemed to be a fresher dish with the noodle water as you just then taste the aromatics and the tomato.
Original Beef Noodles
The Original Beef Noodles and the one that the joint is named after is possibly my least favourite of the four noodle soups on offer. Now don’t get me wrong, it is still an amazing bowl of food, the only differentiator is the actual slices of beef that you get floating in the bowl.
The thinly sliced beef is a bit raged and a bit chewy, while it imparts a lot of good meaty flavour to the stock, I found that I enjoyed the soft chunky braised beef more. I guess though that the whole point of the original Lanzhou Beef Noodles is that you are making the best use of the ingredients that you have on offer to make a tasty bowl of food!
The Noodle Plates
Oil Spill Noodle
The Oil Spill Noodle plate was a real surprise find. Thick wide noodles lay on top of a spicy chilli oil dressing, topped with crunchy chopped peanuts, a chilli paste, chopped coriander stalks and leaves, clumps of ginger and garlic paste, and a pile of thinly sliced cucumber.
It really is a pretty amazing dish of food the thick noodles are fantastic, the spicy chilli oil coats everything and clings to both the noodles and to your taste buds at the same time. It imparts both heat and flavour, pain and pleasure. It is an unexpected joy to eat.
The crunch of the peanuts adds lots of texture to the bite and the freshness of the cucumber helps to balance out the heat.
It is quite hard to eat as the noodles are quite heavy to the untrained chopstick user, luckily though you can get a fork to twist them up so that you can shove them into your mouth. Don’t fear that you have given up as no-one is judging your ability to use the sticks, they are just happy to see you here enjoying their food 🙂
Big Plate Chicken Noodle
The Big Plate Chicken Noodle plate is a very hearty and filling bowl of food. This is another noodle plate that makes use of those big thick flat noodle strands that need wrists of steel to pick up with chopsticks.
The Chicken and Potato are really great in this dish and it’s just like getting your Mom’s chicken casserole on a bed of noodles. Well it would be if your mum was from China anyway I guess.
There is a nice broth underneath the noodles that you need to mix everything up with so that you get a bit of everything. It’s best to pull the chicken off the bone before you do though!
It is not a particularly spicy dish but it is very satisfying to eat. I enjoyed it a lot
Soybean Paste Noodle
I ate the Soybean Paste Noodle just because it was on the menu. I will confess that I wasn’t that excited to try it but I am happy to say that I was probably wrong to doubt it as a dish worth eating last.
It’s all pretty simple you get a plate of noodles, a side scattering of freshly sliced cucumber, and a big dollop of the soybean paste sauce. You need to mix it all up in the bowl so that the noodles strands are coated with the sauce, and then my friend you have a really nice bowl of food to eat.
Flavour wise it is sweet and salty and a little bit nutty in a peanut butter kind of way. It actually feels like a sauce with mince but there is not meat in there. It did remind me of some of the simple bowls of noodles that I ate on the streets in Beijing once when I was visiting one of the universities in a former life.
I did like it though, but it is way down the list of my favourites here at Lanzhou Beef Noodle so I probably wouldn’t choose it over another dish. Still it’s worth trying out
So there you have it, a whole lot of noodle eating went into this post and multiple visits to try dishes out again. Well to be honest the ‘multiple visits’ part was just because I love goddam Chinese noodles so much and it is hard to resist ones as good as this.
Original Beef Noodles, Spicy Chicken Noodles, and surprisingly the Oil Spill Noodles end up as my top three that you really should try while you can
I don’t know how long this place will be here on Market street, it still has the feel of an illicit pop-up that flew in under the radar to serve us some noodles for a while.
I walked by this week and see that there are workmen in there, I am hoping that they are tarting the place up a bit as opposed to it having closed
If it moves or closes then I really hope that it can find a home somewhere else in the city!