Wumule Penghui Beef Noodles has become one of the preeminent places to get a bowl of Lanzhou noodles in the city, at least since winning the 2012 Lanzhou pulled noodles championships (of course that’s a thing). And also it’s a time-honored brand, which is kind of an official stamp of approval from the Ministry of Commerce on the merits of history, techniques, brand, etc. with strong Chinese significance or representation. So for my last meal in Lanzhou, it was off to Wumule, located on the northwestern edge of town off the sloping highway that runs along the northern banks of the Yellow River. The one characteristic of large Chinese kitchens is that somewhere there is a boy (or two) who look like he is just barely twelve. At Wumule, they are in charge of pulling the beautiful, beautiful glob of dough into beautiful, beautiful noodles.The slightly older dudes handle the boiling of the noodles and the mixing of the spices, chopped green onions, and a generous portion of chili oil. You can watch all of this action as you make your way down the line (each order is made to order, with requests taken for spiciness, noodle thickness, yes or no scallions, et cetera). Then, separately, there’s another area where Wumule’s other attraction, the beef brisket, is doled out. The already chopped up meat is approximately weighed, then plated to go. And here is the award-winning bowl. A vivid bowl that just screams to be dug into and devoured.(Plus a generous plate of brisket, marbled with lard-hardened rivulets of fat and tendon-like gelatin. Another heap of gorgeous.) The noodles, fresh-pulled and -cooked, are springy to the bite, a tangled mess of spaghetti circumference, flecks of chili pepper, sesame, and scallions clinging alongside. The broth itself is simple, slightly milky and ambiguously meaty, but mostly drowned out by the red tide of heat, which isn’t of the numbing or intensely spicy variety. It’s just a good, solid heat that will tingle your sinuses a bit, leaving your sweat glands largely be. With the straggler bits of brisket lending their intense smokiness, each bite was a genuine pleasure.And to be sure, I cleaned out that plate of brisket. It was just irresistible, part smoky tender brisket goodness, part chewy spice-rubbed (star anise? white pepper?) jerky.
A prominent expat China food blogger to back up my claims, here. So, take that, Internet.
Wumule Penhui Beef Noodles / 吾穆勒蓬灰牛肉面
1268 Bei Bin He Zhong Lu, Lanzhou / 七里河区北滨河西路2168号(近黄河水岸怡园黄河楼)