101 Noodle Express
101 Noodle Express is a Chinese restaurant chain in Los Angeles and Irvine that specializes in dumplings, hand torn noodles, and beef rolls.
I mentioned in my Lunar New Year Party post that we recently visited the Irvine location so we could buy some frozen dumplings. Since we were there, we decided to grab a quick bite as well.
The restaurant was packed, but the food still arrived quickly.
The restaurant is famous for their beef roll. Slices of marinated beef are wrapped in a savory Chinese pancake. It’s a bit like a Chinese burrito. Out of all the beef rolls I’ve tried, 101 Noodle Express makes my favorite one. The portion is pretty big, with each order containing two oversized rolls. The pancake is chewy and not too dry, the meat is flavorful and tender.
What really makes the beef rolls unique here, is the chopped green chili medley, which you can add to the beef roll. Normally I don’t like chilis, but I love how much better the beef rolls taste with this addition. The mix has cilantro, mild green chilis, and I’m not sure what else. The chili sits at each table and we always load up our beef rolls with it.
Steamed Pork Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)
Despite offering dozens of dumpling flavors, I’ve never been particularly fond of their steamed dumplings. The skins were far too thick and yet they also broke as soon as they touched our chopsticks. The flavor of the filling was fine, but most of the soup leaked out before these dumplings reached my mouth.
Pan Fried Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
My favorite dumplings are from either Mama Lu’s or Dean Sin World but both are in Los Angeles and we didn’t want to drive so far. 101 offers decent dumplings and a lot of flavors. We got the pan fried pork and shrimp ones. I like the crispy seared exterior but found the filling a little dry. For our party, we chose to boil them instead and they tasted much better.
Overall, we had a decent meal here. We love the beef roll and the dumplings are also decent. One thing to note is that the customer service is extremely friendly. Usually, Chinese restaurants are notorious for their abrupt and almost rude behavior, but the staff here was very nice and constantly cracking jokes with their customers.
101 Noodle Express
5408 Walnut Ave
Irvine, CA 92618