Lanzhou, the capital of the northern Chinese province of Gansu, is famous all over the country for its springy hand-pulled noodles (lamian), served in a clear, consommé-like broth with slow-cooked beef. And that’s the speciality of Master Lanzhou (say “lan-JO”, to rhyme with “dough”, not “zoo” or “how”), a chain of more than a dozen noodle shops founded in 2017.

This was the first location, and it’s noticeably poky in comparison to its younger, flasher counterparts in big shopping centres and the CBD. Order at the counter and, after taking your seat, expect to literally bump elbows with your neighbours as you ferry noodles up to your mouth.

The menu is modular. With several broths and thicknesses of wheat noodle to choose from, the potential combinations are many. Most choices include hunks of chewy Angus shin meat – opt for chuck steak if you’re after a more tender bite. Also on the menu are dry noodles and small cold dishes like sliced cucumber, but soup is the star.

For the sake of consistency, all Master Lanzhou’s broths are made at a central kitchen in Dandenong, simmered for four hours using up to 18 spices imported directly from northern China. Most types of noodle, however, are prepared at each location, then hand-pulled and cooked to order. This attention to detail is evident with every bite – these beef noodles are as good as any others you’ll find around town.

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Updated: August 30th, 2022

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