101 Noodle Express – Alhambra, CA

1408 E Valley Blvd

Alhambra, CA 91801

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Located on busy Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, CA, 101 Noodle Express serves up traditional Taiwanese fare to the largely Asian community. Plenty of unwell maintained parking is available for this location. Upon entering, it took a minute or so to be acknowledged for seating. After we were seated and provided menus, it took over ten minutes for someone to come take our order or provide drinks. During the time we were waiting, another table was sat, served drinks, and had their order taken.

When someone finally came by to take our order, we ordered the pork pan-fried dumplings and the steamed mini pork buns (xiaolongbao). A short while later, our water finally arrived. Then, the pork pan-fried dumplings arrived with 10 on a plate. Each dumpling had a signature sear on one side of the dumpling. The dumpling itself was quite oily and did not have much flavor. The wrapper was also very thick, thicker than most other dumpling joints I have tried. It took a significant while longer before the steamed mini pork buns arrived. When we looked into the tray of 10 dumplings, each one looked extremely wilted and sad. We prepared the soy-vinegar-ginger sauce prior to tasting this dumplings. After you bite into one of these dumplings, you will first notice that there is no soup in any of the dumplings. Each one of the thick floury wrappers seemed broken and punctured so no soup was left. The pork tasted plain and required extensive dipping into the sauce.

Overall, the service and food quality at 101 Noodle Express left little to be desired. Maybe their other locations can do better or their other menu options taste better. The pan-fried pork buns were OK, but the steamed mini dumplings were horrible. For the price they charge for the steamed buns, you are better off going to Din Tai Fung for sure. I would not recommend coming to this 101 Noodle Express, but I may give one of their other locations another shot in the future.

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