Lan Zhou Noodle Restaurant looks (and feels) more like a neighbourhood canteen than a restaurant, and could even pass as the staff/workers cafeteria of a small factory…in China (of course). Benches (which I am told are identical to those used in Chinese schools) rather than tables make up the dining area and set the tone for what is a rather communal environment.
Place your order at the front desk (cash in advance only, thank you very much), take your little chit to the kitchen window where it’s hung up with a clothes peg alongside all the other orders. It’s all so drab, drool, and not Dubai, you just have to love it. And then there are the little Bengali boys… who rule this school. They speak perfect, close your eyes and you’ll think you are speaking to a Chinaman, Chinese. I’m told it’s spooky. Thankfully I have my Beijing buddy with me. He tells me all this stuff.
As its name suggests Lan Zhou is all about noodles; fried, boiled or in soup. We tried them all (no biggie, this is not the most expensive restaurant in the world). Now here’s a historical fact for you, Chinese soup noodles (or noodle soup) are probably the ancestors of Japanese ramen. In fact, the word ramen is a Japanese borrowing of the Chinese lamian (拉麵). The first item on Lan Zhou’s menu is also their best seller, La Main. Pretty cool, hey!?
Lan Zhou is a cheap and nasty noodle house, nothing more, nothing less. Come here to tank up on affordable, authentic Chinese noodles, leaving any further expectations on the doorstep as you enter. Do this, and you’ll enjoy your meal. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the ambience; one bench completely occupied by Filipinos, one by Indians, another by a young Syrian family, and the rest by the Chinese themselves. Table turnaround is super-fast, with lots slurping and burping, adding to the international stereophonic chatter and clatter.
All this said, there are far better places in International City to enjoy authentic, affordable noodles. I’d take a good look at the other options before considering to come to this little noodle house again. But yet, that’s just me.
Waste NOT. Want NOT.