Everything at Bang Bang Noodles, from the lamb shoulder to the beef shank.

  • Bang Bang Noodles in Los Angeles serves biang biang mian, a popular hand-pulled noodle dish in the city of Xi'an, China.
  • Owner Robert Lee hand pulls every noodle to order in the window of a temporarily closed bar.
  • The menu includes dry and soup noodle bowls with lamb, beef, mushroom, or seitan proteins.

The following is a transcript of the video:

Robert Lee: The name of the noodle is called biang biang mian. It's the sound that it makes when you slap it on the table. It's hand-pulled and torn. It is a Northern-style street food.

Narrator: Tucked away inside a bar in Highland Park, chef Robert Lee's Bang Bang Noodles is bringing his version of the popular Xian street-food noodle dish to Los Angeles.
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Customer: My friend sent it to me on TikTok, and when she sent it to me on TikTok, I liked the fact that it was hand pulled the most. I've never actually seen someone hand-pull noodles, so I just shot right over.

Robert: It was a dish that I really connected with in the East Coast and something I could eat on a daily basis. Aside from that, it's a naturally fused cuisine from Northern China, where it fuses Muslim culture and Chinese culture together. That's the main thing I really liked about it. I learned to work with different noodles for a long time. I cooked in different restaurants for a while, and I worked with different pastas for a while too. And this was one of the dishes that I really kind of connected with. It is a lot of practicing to kind of build and learn it. So it's, right now at the moment, I still feel like I'm constantly learning and teaching myself on how to get this going and get it right.

Narrator: Bang Bang Noodles has four bowl options: tingly cumin soup, tingly cumin dry, Xian tomato, small plate chicken, baby.
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Robert: So, everything needs to be kind of quick and done. [noodle slapping] You got two noodles per order. Obviously cook these bad boys, and then we turn them into whatever the actual customers want. And from there on, we have also another choice of protein. So it's kind of like a customizable bowl. They could opt stuff out and in, but we personally like everything in there. And from there on, we finish it off with either sauces. Usually most of them, except for the Xian, is with the chili oil. I started off with this menu with just the tingly cumin soup, 'cause I just connected with soup more, like, noodle soups. Then I developed a sauce version of it. And then from the sauce version, it was basically the more popular dish in the East Coast. And I developed another dish where I wanted to have our voice in it. It's a playoff on a stewed tomato. Now it's like a new biang biang mian-style street food in Xian. Braised stewed tomato and also a bok choy. Now I did a chicken dish. It's a play off a dish called big plate chicken. [noodle slapping] And it's a braised chicken with different spices. You have Szechuan peppercorn and all that stuff. Lamb is definitely the most popular protein. The reason why is 'cause it's the most popular protein in Northern China. And aside from that, we also have a braised-beef version of beef shank. I have a seitan that I make in-house. I really want to try to keep my protein and all the meat and everything I have to kind of be more regional. I like seitan; I like the actual idea of having it as, like, a fresh product, but I didn't want to outsource my protein as well, so I just wanted to make it in-house. Kind of a long process, but I personally think it's worth it 'cause of the end results.

Narrator: The noodles are made fresh every day right before service begins. It's a belted noodle that Robert stretches and tears by hand. To effectively make these noodles, the dough has to be fresh. Since no preservatives are added, letting the dough sit overnight would make it impossible to stretch and tear into this type of noodle. [noodle slapping This also ensures a better texture and a better bite for the noodle when it's cooked. Customer: Just scrolling on their Instagram's how I came across it. And, man, I'm not disappointed. It was amazing. It was fire, to be honest. Like, the flavors in here, never had them before.
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Robert: It's like an endless cycle with this noodle shop right now, because the demand's so high.

Employee: Order for Katherine!

Robert: And aside from that, the preparation is so demanding too, and it's tedious. I personally think it's important to have just a little bit of more diversity, because LA is a diverse culture, and we definitely have a lot more cuisines. I just want to have something where it kind of radiates my culture. I'm trying to refine LA street food by making everything from scratch, and try to make something at least that is a healthy kind of bite for everybody too, as well as something that could at least, something for dinner and lunch and, you know, an all-day kind of meal. We do make everything in-house right now. I'm feeling like there's gonna be a point where we can't, just cause of the demand. I was doing it in the streets for a while. I did this for, like, six, seven months by myself. So, I had a line down the block for, like, at least I had, like, 50 deep. It was crazy in the beginning. You have to wait for, like, an hour or two, and sometimes you'll get your food, and sometimes you won't get your food. We implemented something I wanted to do way before, when I was selling by myself, a preorder process, and all I do is just pick up. 'Cause I was selling it by myself, I wanted to figure out a way, can I just sell all these noodles ahead of time? And I at least alleviate one step.
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We're ideally kind of sold out throughout the whole weekend. But Friday usually gets filled up a little bit faster than usual. It's very hot, careful. So, my favorite dish, well, I'm kind of, kind of, like, strange Asian. [laughs] I like hot soups in hot days. I don't mind it. I just like noodle soups in general, so I'll gravitate towards it almost all the time, even in hot weather. When I first started this, I like hot soup so much that's all I sold, 'cause I wanted people just to drink, eat hot soup in a hot summer day.

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