Name of restaurant: China Tasty. Although the restaurant has the same name and same ownership as previously, the owners have recently overhauled the menu to focus on Lanzhou-style lamian, or hand-pulled noodles. They've brought in a noodle chef, who you can see working through the huge window into the open kitchen, to pull noodles. These hand-pulled noodles are common in China, where they're kind of like fast food, but not so much in the San Gabriel Valley, where knife-shaved noodles are easy to find but pulled noodles aren't.
Where you are: In yet another strip mall in the San Gabriel Valley, a vast jigsaw of strip malls and residential and commercial neighborhoods with one of the highest concentrations of great food in all of California. You're in the same strip mall as 101 Noodle Express and right next to Golden Mile Bowling (if you still have energy after eating four bowls of noodles).
What you're eating: The house special beef-and-turnip noodle soup. This huge bowl is filled with the hand-pulled noodles you've just watched a woman pulling in the kitchen, plus slices of beef and turnip in a bone broth soup. The noodles themselves come in various shapes: standard round, small or medium flat, or triangle. Get the triangle noodles, which are kind of like the noodle version of laminated dough, pulled into layers and cooked until beautifully chewy.
There are other soups -- another house special, with beef tendon, as well as soups with pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables -- that all come with the hand-pulled noodles. There are also dishes with hand-shaved noodles (more readily found in the SGV, and very good here); green onion pancakes; vegetable dishes and dumplings, pan-fried and steamed. There are also pig's feet and pig's ears.
Who's at the next table: Older Chinese couples eating bowls of soup (with tea) and younger Chinese couples eating bowls of soup (with iPhones).
Remember: If you live in the SGV, you're on Valley and thus very close to Mission -- where there's a lot of construction right now. If you use Siri to get around, just turn it off: It doesn't handle construction well, at all.
Also worth remembering is that, according to our server, these noodles will likely show up at the next 626 Night Market, to be held over the July 4 weekend at Santa Anita Park. (As if you needed more reasons to go.)
Service: The servers are attentive, helpful and bilingual.
What you're drinking: There are a few bottles of beer, but you'll probably be ordering tea or boba from the pretty extensive menu. The chrysanthemum-jujube tea comes in what kind of looks like a beer stein, the better to see the floral arrangement in your glass.
Info: 1308 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra, (626) 457-8483.
Because taking pictures of food is almost as much fun as eating it, on Instagram @ascattergood