We all know that we shouldn’t judge anything by it’s cover. But once in a while it’s just hard not to. JJ Noodle House in Rowland Heights, from the outside looks like any other cheap crappy Chinese place in the area. Didn’t really help that the windows were darken. But if you do decide to take a leap of faith and walk into JJ, you will be pleasantly surprised and be rewarded with 1 of the best meal you’ll ever have.
I have said many times that good Chinese food, the place has to be dirty. Dirty floors, crappy chairs and bad lighting. JJ was the total opposite. Bright, clean and leather seatings. Yeah leather seats! Situated inside a plaza, yes a plaza(!), typical LA style yo, in Rowland Heights it didn’t really stand out compared to the other bigger louder restaurants. Actually the first time when we tried to look for it, we couldn’t find it and ended up going to another Chinese restaurant, which I’ll blog about it later.
Once we sat down, before even bringing our tea, the waitress asked us if we wanted juicy buns because it’ll take time to make so it be best if we put in our order first. We told her we weren’t going to order any. I know I know I should’ve gotten some.
Tofu with doubanjian or spicy bean paste.
This was good and when I say good I probably mean excellent. You see I’m not a big fan of tofu. I’ll eat it if it was deep fried. So for me to say a tofu dish was good, damn it must be good. And the spiciness was just enough to tell you that “hey we’re here!” I ate 2 slices of tofu all by myself. Y’all should be proud of me.
Yeah can never resist potstickers. I have eaten many potstickers where there would be juices inside but never as much as juicy buns. But hot damn, good thing I nibbled on the skin because juices came rushing out into my spoon like a juicy bun. These were more like potsticker juicy bun hybrids and they were oh soooo deliciously good.
These were slightly smaller than your typical scallion pancakes and slightly more crispy which I really liked. And not at all greasy. My sister thought they were only okay and I ended up eating most of it. Yes!
Shrimp and pig kidney noodles
On the menu it actually said “noodles with shrimp and waist”. I was puzzled by the “waist” part. What did they mean by “waist”? The waist of the shrimp? If so…HUH? Finally my dad read the Chinese words and it actually said shrimp pork “waist” noodles. Ok, still didn’t make sense. So FINALLY, just now after 4 days I called my mom and asked what the heck is pork “waist”. She said it’s pig kidney. Classic chinglish. The way you say kidney sounds just like waist, hence pig waist. Ok ok enough of that. The shrimp and slices of kidneys were served on a separate bowl. We weren’t sure how to eat it so my mom just dumped everything into the bowl of noodles. My my this was so tasty. The noodles were perfect, the shrimp tasted fresh, the kidneys were awesome and the flavors were strong and good. I really wish I can have a bowl of it right now. BUT it’s the noodles that I ordered that I wouldn’t mind moving back to LA for.
This may sound boring and simple and even when it came to our table it looked boring and simple. Served in a clay pot it had baby bok choy, mushroom, chicken and noodles. Like the restaurant, don’t judge by how simple it looks. The flavors were sooooo intense, it was amazing, yet it tasted clean. It was such a wonderful combination of bok choy, mushroom, chicken, noodles and broth. This bowl was beyond perfect.
Sesame filled mochi in a hot wine broth
Like all the other Chinese restaurants, a meal wouldn’t be a proper meal if it didn’t end with a complimentary dessert. Here is a bowl of hot sweet broth that had wine in it with egg white flower and tiny mochi balls filled with black sesame. In past I would’ve not even taken a tiny sip because I just couldn’t stand Chinese desserts. Give me cheesecakes and tiramisu anytime but Chinese desserts, NO THANKS. But I guess I’m getting old now. I actually ate/drank a small bowl of this. I was hoping I would get drunk from it but I hardly tasted any alcohol in it.
JJ Noodle House has become my most super favorite noodle place now. Please please, if you’re ever in LA please make the trek out to Rowland Heights and try this place out. I plan to try their soup dumplings/juicy buns next time, for sure.