The Best Chinese Beef Noodle Soups in Los Angeles

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Beef noodle soup at Noodle King | Photo by Natalie James, courtesy of NJinLA.com

Beef noodle soup, known as niu rou mian, is the epitome of Chinese comfort food. Found all throughout China and Taiwan, it’s a beloved dish that takes hours to make. Beef shanks must be slow-cooked for hours before they achieve their creamy texture. Noodles must be chewy, and most importantly, the broth must be rich and sustainable. Traditionally, the noodles are paired with a heaping of pickled mustard greens, which offers a crisp, sour contrast. Spicy is customizable and in some joints, used extremely liberally. It makes for a sustainable lunch or dinner and thankfully, there are plenty of places in Los Angeles to get your fix. Here are our picks.

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Beef noodle soup at Dai Ho | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Dai Ho Restaurant



Dai Ho makes small-batch noodles and is only open 3.5 hours every single day. It’s a tough window to squeeze into, especially if you don’t live in the area, but the noodles are well worth the trek. The portion sizes here are smaller than most places, but the quality is noticeably top notch. The beef noodle soup is served in a dark, earthy broth. It’s not watery in the least bit (some places can be guilty of that) and the beef chunks are remarkably tender. It’s garnished simply: just a sprinkle of cilantro and a heaping of scallions. No MSG is used.

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Beef noodle soup at JTYH | Photo by Clarissa Wei

JTYH



JTYH is known for their dao xiao mian, or hand-shaved noodles. Chef Shi Peng, who has been under the toque for nearly 30 years, made his own blade and does all the noodle-shaving by hand. Expect thick, short pieces of dough. It soaks up the broth well. The standard beef noodle soup is decorated with pickled vegetables, cilantro and large cubes of meat.  The broth is made with a pork and beef base. You can opt for no MSG.

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Beef noodle soup at New Mandarin Noodle Deli | Photo by Clarissa Wei

New Mandarin Noodle Deli



The chef at New Mandarin Noodle Deli is a Shanxi specialist and makes all of his noodles by hand. Shanxi is a province in northwest China that’s famous for its handmade noodles, and the province Marco Polo visited before he - allegedly - took the recipe back to Italy. True to its roots, the restaurant has the most extensive selections of noodles here: hand-cut, thick, thin, glass, torn, the list goes on. We love the thick noodles, though note that they make quite a splash if you don’t have a solid grip.

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Beef noodle soup at Noodle King | Photo by Natalie James, courtesy of NJinLA.com

Noodle King



If you can, order the wide noodles at Noodle King. It complements the broth well. If you’re planning on sharing, order the extra large version. If you can take the heat, get it with extra spices. Crisp and tart pickled vegetables are served on the side, offering welcome respite to the beefy undertones of the rest of the dish.

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Beef noodle soup at Peking Tavern | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Peking Tavern



Peking Tavern is a Downtown L.A. watering hole known for their selection of baiju cocktails, a sizeable dumpling repertoire, and a hearty bowl of niu rou mian. And yes, they have gluten-free noodles so wheatless eaters can finally get in on this dish. The noodles are handmade and the beef is slow-cooked for hours to achieve the texture.

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Beef noodle soup at Pine & Crane | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Pine & Crane



Yes, there's a fantastic Taiwanese restaurant west of the San Gabriel Valley. A popular Silver Lake dining spot, Pine & Crane sources their vegetables from their family’s Asian vegetable farm. The menu is seasonal – a feature nearly unheard of at most Chinese joints. Here's hoping the beef noodle soup stays on the menu for quite some time. It’s extremely traditional - the noodles are bouncy and have an al dente texture, the beef shanks are soft, and the best part? The dish is finished off with the family’s bok choy.

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Beef noodle soup at Taipei Bistro | Photo by Clarissa Wei

Taipei Bistro



The main draw of Taipei Bistro? They use absolutely no MSG. While they’re known for their bento boxes, the beef noodle soup here is a great option because it’s a dish traditionally brimming with MSG. They have multiple versions here, but if you can take the heat, try getting the spicy beef noodle soup.