Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bamboodles Restaurant - San Gabriel (Closed)

When I first saw Bamboodles Restaurant replace the Chinese ramen restaurant, I figured it was along the same lines and didn't pay much attention. Then via Pleasure Palate, I saw Exile Kiss's post about how the noodles were kneaded by a man bouncing on a big bamboo pole.

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Err. That sounds a lot dirtier than it actually is.


Man bouncing on bamboo pole.

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Fold over dough.




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According to the Bamboodles's website, bamboo stick noodles were invented by Guangdong chef Hu Min in 1940. His protege, Hu Guang opened his own restaurant in 1979. The Lew brothers learned from Hu and opened Bamboodles last fall in San Gabriel.

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The large bamboo pole is anchored on one end of the table. The bouncing bamboo motion kneads the dough to the perfect light, yet springy consistency.

Of course, I had to record it so you can see for yourself. If you have difficulty seeing this, you can watch it directly on my YouTube video.

A limited batch of the noodles are made each day to ensure that they are always fresh. Once they run out of a certain noodle or dumpling that day, that's it until tomorrow.

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I first tried the restaurant when my childhood friend and her roommate wanted to check it out. I was sickly and coming from work so I told her to order for me. They got the green tea pork noodle special which came with a cold salad and tea for $6.95.

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The pork is cooked in green tea. The broth is light and flavorful. It reminded me of a lighter version of fresh ramen. The pork was fall-apart tender. Sooo sooo good, especially when I was under the weather.

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The bean curd and bean sprouts cold salad that came with the soup.

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Or raw potato and seaweed salad if you wish.

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Or boiled peanuts and celery cold salad.

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My favorite was the bean curd and bean sprout salad. The salads are $1.95 if ordered separately.

I liked my meal so much that I went back later with the oldest '87's middle sister. We got the spicy beef lo mein with spinach noodles special for $7.50. Again with a choice of the three salads above and a drink.

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I poured the beef over the noodles. The beef was tender with a nice amount of spice.

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By this point, I was pretty enamored with Bamboodles and went back with cousin Q, his older brother, his older brother's wife, and his younger brother.

We got the beef lo mein again, but with regular noodles. I think I preferred this with the spinach noodles. Just nicer color, even if I didn't taste much difference.

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Spare ribs steamed rice, $5.95. The bamboo imparted a nice freshness to the rice. No free drink or salad as this wasn't a special though.

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The daily steamed rice special was $2.95 for two eggs steamed in the bamboo. The rice had a nice fragrance, but this was a little bland and we poured the extra sauce from the spare ribs on top. Much better.

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The pan-fried dumplings were $6.50.

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The dough was as light and springy as the noodles. Yummy crispness.

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We also got spicy wontons for $1.95. Eight pieces of green onion and pork wontons in chili oil.

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My cousins also noticed a sign for $1 noodles. So we had two plates of chicken green onion lo mein. For $1!!!

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Later, when lil' sis, the middle '87, and the older '88 were home for spring break, we were back again. Cousin Q asked where we went, and he and his younger brother joined us too. As if you couldn't tell we were hitting up Bamboodles pretty regularly by this point. :P

This time, the $1 special was dan dan mian. Spicy and peanutty.

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I also bought the noodles and dumplings to take home. Clockwise from top left, carrot noodles $1.75, spinach noodles $1.75, dumplings $3.50, and two orders of the regular noodles for $1.50 each. The dumplings were nicely packaged with plastic in between each dumpling so they wouldn't stick.

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Close-up of the spinach noodles.

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February 5, 2010 update:

I went back recently when my father's friend's daughter was in town and found that the $1 noodles are no more. Instead, we got $1 sopaipillas drizzled with condensed milk. Eat these while they're hot and crispy.

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The noodles, cold salad, and drink specials are now $8, which is still a great deal for what you get.

April 10, 2010 update:
The current Monday to Friday promotion is buy any regular-priced noodle dish and get a second dish of the same noodles for only $1. And yes, you can take the second noodle dish to-go. Unlimited orders per table.

April 9, 2011 update:
Bamboodles is now closed. :(

Who else ate at Bamboodles?
Exile Kiss's post spurred me to finally try the restaurant.
Gourmet Pigs went for $1 noodles with me.
Weezer Monkey liked the bouncy, elastic noodles too.

Other noodle and dumpling restaurants posts:
Dumpling 10053 - El Monte
J & J (Jin Jian) Restaurant - San Gabriel
Luscious Dumplings Inc. - San Gabriel
Mandarin Noodle Deli - Temple City
Mei Long Village - San Gabriel

Bamboodles Restaurant
535 W. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays

1 year ago today, Angkor Thom: Victory Gate, Bayon Temple, Prasats Suor Prat, Terrace of the Leper King, Terrace of the Elephants, and Phimeanakas - Cambodia.
2 years ago today, Japanese Gobo Root (Burdock) Fries.


  1. Would it make a difference if they use their hand to press the pole instead of bouncing on it? I guess I wouldn't be sensitive enough to tell the difference.

  2. bouncing on a bamboo stick... i don't know what to say. haha besides that's pretty darn cool technique to use to press down the dough.

  3. Whoa, definitely something I haven't seen before! Although, I must say, there has to be an easier way to work with that dough besides using that big bamboo pole! ;D I love the color of the spinach noodles.

  4. Hey WC - I've been wanting to check this place out.... and am now even more excited about it!

  5. Love the video!

    Sad I missed dinner tonight. :(

  6. Okay, I must try this place very, very soon.

  7. I tried out this place back when it was new. It was okay but I guess I was too hyped up by the media buzz and my expectations were too high and we never returned after bad service was also given to us :(. Looking back at my old review not on my blog, I want to laugh at fretting over the fact that the noodle soups were 6 dollars. Everywhere now they are 7! But the items now available are a much better deal compared to how it was back then.

    The Green Tea Pork Noodles was the dish I liked then as the noodles were bouncy still when cold. Back then, their noodles were overcooked and sadly did not have the bounce they are supposed to have.

  8. I saw that bamboo pole technique on an ep of no reservations! pretty neat, and the food looks delish!

  9. Nice post. I went to Bamboodles last year. I thought it was pretty good, too. I like the 1 dollar noodle deal.

  10. Ubermuc,
    More pressure this way. He can put his whole body into kneading the dough.

    Just more reasons for you to drive up here to eat. OC definitely doesn't have this. :)

    Sure there might be an easier way, but it wouldn't get nearly as many stares. :P

    It's pretty good!

    I can't believe you and the missus haven't tried it yet with all your SGV trips up.

    We'll catch up soon!

    We can go. I'm always up for Bamboodles.

    I went when it wasn't brand new but before the hype. So they got some of the kinks worked out, but weren't overwhelmed. I stopped going for a while after the increase in traffic just because I hate dealing with crowds. Seems like it's back to normal now.

    It's gimmicky but it's good!

    Thirsty Pig,
    I wish they still had $1 noodles. Although the sopaipillas were pretty good.

  11. I remember when you went to this place almost every day! :P At least 3 times a week. I was sad I didn't get to see the bouncy man in action in real life though.

  12. Burumun,
    Yeah, I know! I go through phases though.


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