There’s a dearth of cheap eats around Xingfucun, where I often work from cafes and meet friends for lunch during the week. Sure, Great Leap and Pho La La won’t break the bank, but there are times when you just feel like a quick n’ dirty bowl of Lanzhou la mian or dandan noodles. Recently, a friend showed me a great little Shaanxi restaurant that few people except Xingfucun residents seem to know by name: Ling Er Jiu.
Located just around the corner from Frost and Bob’s Wines on Xingfucun Zhonglu, this unassuming eatery is often packed for lunch and dinner.
The main draws are superior renditions of two classic Shaanxi dishes: 油泼面 youpo mian (“hot oil noodles”) and 岐山臊子面 qishan saozi mian (“Qishan-style sister-in-law noodles”).
Youpo mian is a dry dish featuring wide biangbiang noodles; the meat version costs RMB 25 and the meat-free version costs RMB 20. It can be made with or without spice.
Qishan saozi mian is a non-spicy dish with a fragrant, vinegary broth and thin noodles. It can also be made with meat (RMB 25) or without meat (RMB 22).
The menu is rounded out with noodle variations, cold dishes, hot pan-Chinese dishes like koushui ji, and roujiamo.
For appetizers, try the spinach dressed with ginger (姜汁菠菜 jiangzhi bocai) or wannianqing with tofu (香干万年青 xiang gan wannianqing) containing firm and slightly chewy Chinese greens similar to spinach. On the menu, it’s listed as something like “mixed bean curd” in English.
The main drawback of Ling Er Jiu is the lack of space; with only 13-14 seats, it tends to fill up very quickly around lunch and dinner and is not a place to linger with friends. It’s best to get there by 11.30am for lunch and around 5pm for dinner to avoid waiting in line.
That said, Ling Er Jiu is an ideal place to grab a quick and cheap lunch when you’re short on time (or cash). The food is clean, delicious, well-made, and allows for non-spicy and vegetarian modifications.
Ling Er Jiu Youpo Mian (Chunxiu Lu Branch) 零贰玖油泼面（春秀路店）
Daily 11pm-late. Xingfucun Zhonglu (across from the blind massage place), Chaoyang District (5745 4029, 186 1188 8029) 朝阳区幸福村中路
Sijia Chen is a contributing editor at beijingkids and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, education, travel, environment, and culture. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The Independent, Midnight Poutine, Rover Arts, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @sijiawrites or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Sijia Chen
Photo: Sijia Chen