At some point, in Philadelphia Chinatown's recent restaurant swap history, the Szechuan spot on the corner of 10th and Arch turned into a hand drawn noodle restaurant. The menu isn't particularly descriptive, so let me help you get to the good stuff.
I was pretty excited when the fried dumplings came out. I love a good dumpling skirt- when they chef takes the time to swoosh some extra flour around in the pan to create a crispy extra layer. It makes the most pleasing noises when you crack through it with a chopstick.
Make sure you eat this at the restaurant, the skirt loses its punch in the to-go container.
I wasn't the biggest fan of the pork burgers, not terrible, but the dough was a little dry.
A nice refreshing option is the tofu skin. There isn't much to this, I just love the texture.
The biggest section of the menu is the "handpulled or shaved noooie soup" which can come as hand pulled or "shavedoodle." Basically, sorting through the typos, this means you will pick between the hand pulled noodle that the chefs make by whacking the dough against a table to form noodles that are medium in size and relatively uniform or the hand shaved noodles which are wide and more irregular, made by shaving off strips from the block of dough into boiling water.
I noticed everyone around me ordering the same thing and asked about it. While all of the soups are the traditional, thinner, hand pulled noodle- the first soup on the menu is different. Its a fragrant lamb soup with the wide noodles. You can see that lamb fat intensity in the milky color of the broth. I am pretty sure 60% of this city has the flu this month; I bet this soup can cure it.
Then, at the bottom of that hand drawn noodle menu, is one other non hand pulled noodle soup option-noodles with pork soy sauce ($6.95). The wide noodles make an appearance again which works so well with the heap of flavorful, caramelized ground pork. If you are looking for a soupless option- it should be this dish.
In the soup vs non soup gamble, we lost in the last round. Ordering "wontons" from the dumpling menu did not result in a plate of wontons, but instead, really good $3 wonton soup. Not a bad misunderstanding.
I would definitely recommend exploring the menu at Authentic Lan Zhou, even the mistakes are tasty.
Authentic Lan Zhou Hand Pulled Noodles, North East Corner of 10th and Arch