Noodle is one of the few things that are shared culture between the Northern and Southern part of China. Although Southern parts do not eat it as the main dish, they treat noodle more like a snack after a meal or breakfast. Of course, different places still make their noodles in different ways, taking advantage of the local ingredients available. Beijing Zha Jiang Mian (minced meat noodle), Chongqing Xiao Mian (spicy noodle) and Lanzhou Niu Rou Mian (Beef Noodle) that we are going to talk about in this post are most popular ones. The popularity of the Lanzhou beef noodle can be seen from the sprouting chains of Lanzhou beef noodle restaurant across entire China and even overseas. Actually, several chains have been opened in Singapore in the recent year too (you can refer to here). Until recently I visited Lanzhou, Gansu Province where the beef noodle is originally from, I finally got to know what an authentic taste should be like.
Lanzhou is the capital city of the Gansu province. There are many famous beef noodle brands making authentic Muslim style beef noodle that combines halal-meat and clear beef broth flavoured with herbs and salt. We decided to visit the Amber 安泊尔 beef noodle chain near the central area where tourists are easily accessible.
The staff here are all Muslims too. Actually, Lanzhou is one of the places Chinese Muslims cluster so tourists can taste many more Muslim foods without going to farther places like Xinjiang. Menus are clearly written in Chinese with price stated as well. Like many of the restaurants in Northern part of China, customer first orders food from the cashier and then take the receipt to the corresponding food stall to pick up noodle, beef and small dishes.
For example, the photo below was taken through the window of the beef stall. This is the best part of a cow that is raised by Muslims with special care. Although with first sight, they do not look as appealing as a western steak, they taste very tender with relish.
And that is why there are always a crowd of people visit there again and again, even if sometimes the waiting time is long.
I told the chef to make wide noodles for me because it is my favourite. The noodles are all hand-pulled and thus very strong and chewy. As you can see from below, each bowl comes with slices of boiled daikon and beef (I added extra too) and is garnished with a dollop of chilli oil as well as a mix of coriander and spring onions in the hot beef bone broth.
As mentioned, you can always choose the size of noodle you like. With a different strength, the noodle still taste good.
I would say, the chilli is really spicy. Like a local here, we ordered a traditional drink – apricot tea. It tastes sweet and sour like ice lemon tea in Singapore, but more fruity.
I feel so satisfied with this simple but impressive lunch. So if you really like to see how an authentic Lanzhou beef noodle taste, do go to Lanzhou city to try out yourself.
Address: Beibinhe Middle Rd, Chengguan Qu, Lanzhou Shi, Gansu Sheng, China,甘肃省兰州市城关区北滨河中路 730046