In Search of Chinese Beef Noodle Soup - Bull Demon King, Dai Ho, Popcorn Chicken and Corner Beef Noodle House!

We were originally excited to just go try the newly opened Popcorn Chicken, thanks to @J_L’s report that a Westside place actually served good Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. But then to prepare our taste buds and maybe properly remember what a good Beef Noodle Soup might taste like, we realized it had been years since we last went to the San Gabriel Valley to try Beef Noodle Soup. :sweat_smile:

So what was supposed to be a simple one restaurant experience turned into multiple trips to the San Gabriel Valley. :expressionless: :smile:

Bull Demon King

Besides the wild name, Bull Demon King’s claim to fame are its Beef Noodle Soups with escalating levels of spiciness (at least according to our friend from the SGV :slight_smile:).

Bull Demon King offers Beef Noodle Soup with Small Spicy > Medium Spicy > “Big Spicy” > Hell #1 > Hell #2 > Hell #3 > Hell #4! :open_mouth: They proudly list using Ghost Peppers (amongst other Chilies), and I started to feel scared. :cold_sweat:

Garlic Cucumber:

So to prepare I ordered something cool first. :slight_smile: Their Chilled Garlic Cucumbers are well marinated, full of chopped up Garlic and Cucumbers that have been pickled for a while.

Scallion Pancake:

Very crispy, but a bit too oily. But enjoyable in small doses. :slight_smile:

Beef & Tendon Noodle Soup - Small Spicy:

I went wimpy and did their Level 1 Spicy level. And it was just the right amount of spicy for me. My friend decided to try Level 3 “Big Spicy” and said it was too hot, but finished part of it. :sweat_smile:

The Beef Soup feels a bit watery / thin (compared to the other places), but it had a decent taste to it, mainly of long-cooked Beef and Soy Sauce.

One nice thing with Bull Demon King is the option for 4(!) different types of Noodles (Thick / Flat / Thin / Glass Noodles). The Thick Noodles I ordered were like standard Spaghetti, maybe a touch thicker. It had a decent chew to it.

The Beef itself tasted off: It tasted like a completely different marinade than the Soup(!). Very off-putting. It wasn’t bad, but tasted like it was cooked in another way and then just added in.

Their Beef Tendon was somewhat tender, and the highlight of the dish. At $10.95, Bull Demon King was in line with other places price-wise, but QPR was the lowest in some ways, with 2 small pieces of Beef, and 2 pieces of Tendon per Bowl.

I’ll leave it up to @robert and other chili-heads to try the Hell spicy levels. But I’d imagine heat seekers would enjoy this aspect of Bull Demon King the most.

Bull Demon King
8632 Valley Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Tel: (626) 288-1188

Also at:

(Temple City is Cash Only)

5953 Temple City Blvd.
Temple City, CA 91780
Tel: (626) 286-4788

Dai Ho Restaurant

Dai Ho was probably one of our earliest introductions to Chinese Beef Noodle Soup, recommended many times on our old board. It had been years since we went back, but it was good to reset our taste buds to try Popcorn Chicken.

Soy Beans, Pickled Mustard Greens and Tofu Skin:

There was no English name, but our friend from the SGV translated it for us. One of my favorite simple vegetarian dishes, Dai Ho’s version is served from their prepackaged / chilled deli counter. The Mustard Greens and Soy Beans (Edamame) and Tofu Skin are perfectly seasoned and this is delicious! :slight_smile: It is also a bit pricey at $6 (+ tax and tip) for a small container of this.

Beef Stew Soup Noodles:

Dai Ho’s version is probably the safest go-to Chinese Beef Noodle Soup. And years later, it tasted about the same: Still long-stewed, more on the very savory side (with almost no sweetness), it has a “classic” Beef Noodle Soup taste as our Chinese friend attested to (who said it was their favorite version in the SGV).

The Beef was tender, and had a nice meatiness, and unlike Bull Demon King’s, it all tasted like it was cooked in the same stew / recipe. It was pretty delicious. :slight_smile:

Their Noodles are one size, a medium thickness, and being a touch soft, but still having some chew.

As with all the other places, none of the Beef Noodle Soup places make their own Noodles, but they were fine here.

Overall, Dai Ho feels like it’s QPR is getting worse and worse. Dai Ho served the smallest size Beef Noodle Soup, with about 4 pieces of Beef (no choice for Tendon), for $10 (+ tax & tip). But it has one of the most consistent, “classic” Beef Noodle Soup tastes in L.A.

(Cash Only)

Dai Ho Restaurant
9148 E Las Tunas Dr.
Temple City, CA 91780
Tel: (626) 291-2295

Popcorn Chicken (Sawtelle)

With our taste buds properly set, we anxiously headed to try Popcorn Chicken on Sawtelle.

Chicken Cartilage:

Their Chicken Cartilage was unfortunately not very crispy or crunchy. It tasted mainly oily, but they had an appealing flavor, with White Pepper and a bit of sweetness to go along with the salty frying. After a few bites, we got used to it, but I think fans of Nankotsu (Japanese-style Cartilage (Fried or Grilled)) might want to skip this.

Beef Noodle Soup:

Taking a sip, and Popcorn Chicken’s version has a nice, even, smooth Beef Soup quality. It is sweeter than Dai Ho and Bull Demon King, but nothing off-putting; it’s just its characteristic. But the depth of flavor was indeed as @J_L said: Better than Bull Demon King for sure. :slight_smile:

I would say fans of a more savory version might like Dai Ho’s more, but Popcorn Chicken’s Beef Noodle Soup is solid and quite good, and even better that it’s on the Westside! :grin: This is legit Beef Noodle Soup.

The Noodles are thicker than Dai Ho or Bull Demon King, but has excellent bite and chew. The one oddity was that they used Cabbage (they said they ran out of Spinach). But in terms of portion and price it was $9.50 for about 150% of the quantity of Dai Ho! And this is on Sawtelle on the Westside (crazy). Good QPR. :slight_smile:

We’ll be back to try more items, but we’re glad this place that @chandavkl @J_L @Bigmouth @Gr8pimpin reported on has what looks to be a solid, authentic Taiwanese menu for West L.A.

Popcorn Chicken (Sawtelle)
2224 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel: (424) 832-3076

Corner Beef Noodle House

And then we remembered @ipsedixit @CiaoBob and others’ recommendation for Corner Beef Noodle House, so off we went. :smile:

Taiwanese Sausage:

As what @ipsedixit said, Corner Beef Noodle House makes their Taiwanese Sausage from scratch, in-house! And it was delicious! :slight_smile: More moist, tender and meaty than the typical mass-manufactured Taiwanese Sausage, they have a sweetness to them, but are still quite porky and fatty. Served with slices of Raw Garlic this was a nice starter.

Beef Noodle Soup (Half Meat / Half Tendon Beef Stew):

The Beef Shank meat was sadly a bit dry. :frowning: As you can see in the first pic, it looked dry and tasted like it was leftovers from the previous day.

However, the Beef Soup was amazing! :blush: It was by far the most complex, tasting of many ingredients, layered and nuanced. It was easily the best Beef Soup out of all of the places we’ve tried to date (even years ago). Soy Sauce, Star Anise, Shacha Sauce, slow-cooked Onions, amongst other ingredients.

And the Beef Tendon was fantastic! Long stewed, silky, tender, this was fabulous Stewed Beef Tendon! :heart:

Their Noodles have a good bite and chew, and were probably the best out of all the places as well, if you like thicker Noodles.

X.O. Sauce on Noodles (Dry):

But what was shocking was another @ipsedixit recommendation: Their X.O. Sauce Noodles use a Housemade(!) X.O. Sauce, which is made from Scallops and Shrimp amongst other ingredients. It is wonderfully briny, fragrant, and is indeed like crack! LOL. :smile:

Mixing up the ingredients:

And you get this magical bowl of oceanic Noodles. This was a surprise winner! :blush:

We wanted to give this place another try because it came recommended by so many, so on another day, off we went, back to the SGV for another visit.


Listed simply as “Cucumbers” on the menu, this is Corner Beef Noodle House’s version of the Chinese Chilled Cucumbers appetizer. Except they don’t use Garlic. But the Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce marinade works very well and the Cucumbers are crisp and slightly crunchy and delicious. :slight_smile:

Fried Pork Chop with Rice:

They make a respectable Fried Pork Chop Rice (we ordered this since one of our friends joining us was in the mood to try it). It’s not as good as Old Country Cafe, but it had a nice little crunch to it and was well-seasoned.

(Note: Be sure to ask them for “No MSG” on the Pork Chop Rice if you don’t want any added on.)

The complimentary Vegetable side dishes were quite good: Sauteed Cabbage and Mushrooms were beautifully cooked down, and the Tofu and Wood Ear Mushrooms were just as delectable.

Beef Noodle Soup (Half Meat / Half Tendon Beef Stew):

On this 2nd visit, the Beef Shank was perfect! Tender, fresh-tasting, it was clearly a batch made that day and cooked long enough. And it was intensely saturated with their amazing Beef Noodle Soup. :slight_smile:

But their Beef Tendon was even better than before! Perfect, succulent, silky, tender, this was some of the best Stewed Beef Tendon we’ve had in years! Highlight of the meal! :heart:

Their Noodles were just as good as before:

Hot Mochi (Peanuts / Black Sesame):

Lastly, when I saw this on the menu I had to order it for @paranoidgarliclover: They serve Handmade Fresh Mochi coated in Peanuts and/or Black Sesame! :slight_smile:

Their Black Sesame Handmade Mochi is a giant, pillowy Pounded Rice Dessert, and it is intensely Black Sesame! @paranoidgarliclover this might be worth your time to try! :grin: The Mochi is also delicious, so fluffy and soft (and hot). :blush:

Peanut Handmade Mochi:

For fans of Peanuts / Peanut Butter this might be for you. Also delicious and very aromatic with the ground Peanuts. It was just a touch on the sweet side, but otherwise, pretty spectacular! :heart:

And lastly, paging @Ns1, in terms of QPR, Corner Beef Noodle House serves not only the best tasting Chinese Beef Noodle Soup - the depth of flavor is amazing - but in terms of portion, for $9.95 it is about 300% of the size of Dai Ho’s Beef Noodle Soup(!) :open_mouth:, giving far more Beef Shank and Beef Tendon than any of the other places.

Corner Beef Noodle House also offers Tripe, so you could have a Beef Noodle Soup with Tripe, or Tendon, or Beef Shank or all 3. And they have an option to Add More of any of the proteins or Noodles.

If Corner Beef Noodle House is more consistent (or normally like the 2nd visit), it is definitely a must-visit for Chinese Beef Noodle Soup. To play it safe, their Stewed Tendon was consistently delicious, and the Soup alone is amazing! :slight_smile:

We’ll be back for their Beef Noodle Soup (with Tendon), X.O. Sauce Noodles (amazing!) and the Handmade Mochi. Thanks @ipsedixit @CiaoBob and everyone for the great recommendation! :slight_smile:

(Cash Only)

Corner Beef Noodle House
3948 Peck Rd.
El Monte, CA 91732
Tel: (626) 453-8865

Update 2:

It had been too long since we had Corner Beef Noodle House’s wonderfully complex, fragrant Chinese Beef Noodle Soup. Time for a revisit!

Beef Noodle Soup (Half Meat / Half Tendon Beef Stew):

The first sip is an immediate reminder of the goodness: Fragrant, herbally, complex, it tastes like the result of years of cooking. Delicious! :heart:

The Beef Shank is meaty and just barely tender, and in our last couple of visits, they are served in thick, large slabs, a sign of laziness. With no knife provided, you have to lift up these large cuts of Beef and rip off a bite of the Beef Shank to eat with your Noodles. It’s rather unpleasant and a couple pieces were really firm. it remains the weak point at Corner Beef Noodle House.

The Beef Tendon is much better: Gelatinous, but still having some density; quite supple and delicious. :blush:

Their Noodles are a thicker variety and hold up well in the complex Beef Soup.

One minor annoyance: They now only provide a small thimble-size container of Pickled Vegetables to eat with their Beef Noodle Soup. :expressionless: And the actual Pickled Vegetables are nowhere near as revelatory as Cindy’s Kitchen’s version.

X.O. Sauce on Noodles (Dry):

One of the surprising gems of Corner Beef Noodle House is their X.O. Sauce Noodles. They make their own X.O. Sauce in-house and it is spectacular!

There’s a real burst of beautiful oceanic flavors from their Housemade X.O. Sauce, with Shrimp and Scallops and other seasonings coming through. Delicious! (Thanks again @ipsedixit!)

Large Wenzhou Wonton Soup:

Corner Beef Noodle House also serves a great Handmade Wenzhou Wonton: It’s much more engaging and flavorful than the usual Wontons found at many shops around the SGV. First, as the menu states, these are indeed large: Probably 4 - 5 times the size of a standard Hong Kong-style Wonton! :open_mouth:

The Wonton Soup itself is also a step above the typical flavors: It’s more clarified, light, but still aromatic with generous usage of Ginger and Green Onions and Fried Garlic.

Corner Beef Noodle House remains one of the standout places for Chinese Beef Noodle Soup locally, with arguably the most complex and distinct Beef Soup. The Beef Shank is their weak point, though, too inconsistent and in big, unwieldy slabs that are often not cooked long enough. However, the bowl is still delicious enough, especially with their tender Beef Tendon and that amazing Beef Soup, their stunning X.O. Sauce Dry Noodles, and the Large Wenzhou Wonton Soup, which is one of our favorite Handmade Wontons in the area at this point.

(Cash Only)

Corner Beef Noodle House
3948 Peck Rd.
El Monte, CA 91732
Tel: (626) 453-8865


Thank you for a fantastic report!! Well done!!


Fabulous! We love Corner Beef Noodle House. Although I still have a soft spot for Mandarin Deli’s version.

We liked the version at Popcorn Chicken quite a bit. But for out of SGV, I still prefer Peking Tavern in DTLA. I also enjoy their cucumbers the best too.



Ohmigod, I totally love peanut-covered fluff, too! I also love stuff w/ shredded, dried scallops, so this seems like a win-win all around. :slight_smile:


My favorite dish!

You covered some really good ones.

If you ever go out to Rowland Heights, Stinky Tofu King does a solid bowl.


Along with a good broth, QQ noodles, and tendons…

A good bowl should have plentiful suan cai/pickled vegetables.


Thanks @Gr8pimpin for your reports on Popcorn Chicken as well, now I know some more dishes to order. :slight_smile:

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Hi @Dommy,

Thanks! And thanks for the rec on Mandarin Deli. Have you been since they sold it? I think @chandavkl or @ipsedixit mentioned a while back Mandarin Deli was sold, so I wasn’t sure how good their food is anymore.

And thanks for the recommendation for Peking Tavern; I’ll have to give it a try next time. :slight_smile:

level 4 if they still give you a bowl for free if you eat it all, it’s do-able, but not recommended; rather than take the challenge, i paid for a bowl. i really couldn’t taste anything at that level.

i know it’s popular, but maybe i caught them on an off day; i didn’t find any of their offerings all that remarkable.

one word: YES

my only lament is the relatively small portion of XO noodles

those sausages are good

if i ever stop exploring and get back into a regular rotation, corner beef would be included in the rotation.

and it might be more about the noodles, but liang’s version is also pretty good IMO with huge hunks of tendon though it’s probably overlooked because of the lamb noodle soup there.


Hi @secretasianman,

Congrats BarryC on finishing Hell #4 at Bull Demon King. :open_mouth: Yes, they still have the Hell Challenge if you can finish the bowl and other stuff, they’ll give you the meal for free and a T-Shirt and a picture on their wall of fame (at least that’s what the menu says). :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the rec on Liang’s Kitchen. Is that the one on 788 S Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, CA 91754? Most of the other branches closed down right?

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Yah, I think you’d like both Handmade Mochi flavors then, and the X.O. Sauce with Noodles. Really tasty (and they sell their Housemade X.O. Sauce (w/ Scallops and Shrimp)) by the jar to-go! :slight_smile:

that’s correct. they abandoned the franchise menu a few years ago and now serve some of the best noodles in the SGV. they went through a bit of an identity crisis and renamed themselves shang jie but are known as liang’s again.

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Thanks @JeetKuneBao. :slight_smile: I’ll keep it in mind for RH if we make it out that way again.

And definitely enjoy the Tendon and the Pickled Veggies!

Thanks @secretasianman BarryC. Besides the Beef Noodle Soup, any other highlights worth ordering there?

The newly opened 1987 Beedle House in Walnut does what might be described as an artisan beef noodle soup. Plus that’s almost the only thing on the menu. Details to follow.


For a very solid beef noodle though probably not as spectacular as Corner Beef Noodle House without the trek out to SGV, Pine and Crane is a good choice. I also had a pretty solid version at Lao Sze Chuan in Glendale, and the portion is HUGE.

assuming we are both talking about liang’s kitchen, they actually have their ‘top 10’ in front of the menu, which includes the lamb noodle soup,

and a fried-then-steamed noodle dish

which i recommend highly.

i like liang’s i don’t think anything on the menu will disappoint you.

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It’s not really so much “artisan” as it is Tianjian-style beef noodle soup (or clear broth).

Thanks for the clarification.

BTW, @ipsedixit and everyone who’s been to Corner Beef Noodle House:

How’s the Minced Pork - Soy Paste Noodle? My friend who went with us from the SGV said the Chinese name was Zha Jiang Mian, which I’m always curious to find a good version of. :slight_smile:


Thanks @chandavkl. Looking forward to your thoughts.