Chinese Lanzhou Auspicious Palace, Melbourne CBD

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MELBOURNE | A few months ago I was walking through Melbourne’s Chinatown when I noticed a small restaurant that I hadn’t seen before. It had a line of people, mostly Asian, of all ages outside the front and down the street, and I was intrigued as to what was going on. I walked closer to the entrance and couldn’t find anything in English apart from “Halal” and some small lettering below the main Chinese sign. The letters read “Chinese Lanzhou Auspicous Palace Hand-Made Noodlesoup With Beef”. At a very minimum it was descriptive, and I knew I had to return to try this place.

I did return a few months later and thankfully huge lines weren’t an issue. I walked inside and looked around while I was being shown to my table – still no English anywhere. Never mind, clearly the signature dish is noodle soup with beef. Indeed it is, but thankfully for those of us who can’t read Chinese, the menu is in both Chinese and English. The space is long, narrow and simple. Cool white lighting fills the room while artwork on the walls shows images of people cooking and holding ingredients – I can only surmise that the text relates to the history of the noodles, the cooking process, and the ingredients. Wooden seating and glass tables. At the back is the open kitchen, where the chef can be seen making, stretching, and cutting the noodles to order, by hand.

The star of the menu is, of course, the beef noodle soup. Beef noodle soup is one of the most popular dishes in China and Taiwan and there are several fast food chains dedicated to the dish. It was created by the Hui people (a Chinese Muslim ethnic group) during the Tang Dynasty of China, hence the Halal designation on the front of this restaurant. The Lanzhou version of the dish is differentiated by others by its clear soup and hand-pulled lamian noodles.

Along with the signature noodles, there are several other things on the menu at Chinese Lanzhou Auspicious Palace. Noodles can be had hand pulled or sliced, with braised beef instead of sliced beef, and with tomato and scrambled eggs instead of soup. There’s also a selection of things like braised beef and sliced beef plates, vegetables, tea eggs, and rice dishes. We ordered the signature Lanzhou noodles, along with a tea egg and a side of vegetables and braised beef.

The tea egg has a delicious almost roast chicken like flavour to it while the braised beef and vegetables are tender, with a saucy, gelatinous sauce. The highlight however is of course the noodles. The bowl reaches your table with a very generous serve of perfectly springy, textured noodles, inside a clear broth that smells of a harmony of herbs, kind of like Vietnamese pho. Slices of tender beef and sliced spring onions and white radish complete the dish. The dish is relatively mild as is but each table comes with a jar of chilli sauce so you can make it as hot as you like. The flavour is sublime – light, warming and herbaceous. Servings might be big, but you’ll want to eat every last bit, even if you get full before finishing.

Eating at Chinese Lanzhou Auspicious Palace reminded me of what I loved about eating in this city when I first moved here. This was before the age of the food influencer and Instagrammer, when the food blog was the only way you got your message across to readers. It was when you’d discover places by chance or through word of mouth, and try them out not really knowing what to expect. It was when you’d uncover hidden gems that had no advertising, no online presence, no marketing budget, and write about them because you wanted to. Places like this still exist in Melbourne, and are waiting to be discovered. Chinese Lanzhou Auspicious Palace is one of them.

Chinese Lanzhou Auspicious Palace

128 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: n/a
E-mail: n/a
Website: n/a

Open
Sun – Thu: 11:00am to 10:30pm
Fri – Sat: 11:00am to 11:00pm

Chinese Lanzhou Auspicious Palace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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