Soup's on for La Presse's restaurant critic this week. Marie-Claude Lortie files her first dispatch of 2016 from Nouilles de Lan Zhou, a peddler of lamian-style noodles and beef broth. The dish, native to northwest China, is a supreme winter cure-all, much like ramen, pho, laksa, and tom yum, declares Lortie. In typical Lanzhou fashion, the Chinatown restaurant makes a show of the hand-pulled noodle process (see below). "On peut le voir travailler quand on marche sur Saint-Laurent. C'est spectaculaire," writes the critic.
While the menu at Nouilles de Lan Zhou was recently expanded to include a vegetable-based soup, the restaurant's staple broth has much more personality. Both come with a toothsome, curry-marinated egg, but the simmered beef broth's Chinese five-spice punch, enriched with beef blood and Lan Zhou's signature noodles, is particularly restoring. There are some side dishes of note, too. Lortie enjoys two salads: seaweed and daikon, and spiced cucumber with peanuts. Service at Lan Zhou is fast, and courteous, but not necessarily in French. No matter. The soup's the thing. Lortie will be back.