Located on one of the main streets in Bishkek, Chui Prospect, the Lanzhou Noodle Restaurant is one of the few Chinese-owned restaurants in Bishkek. Owned by a Chinese woman who was born and raised in Bishkek, the restaurant caters for Chinese expats and locals here who love the delicious and diverse flavors of Chinese cuisine.
The food at the Lanzhou noodle restaurant, prepared by ethnically Chinese chefs, includes a variety of dishes, from Chinese salads to noodle soups. However, it is known best for its beef noodle soup, which can also be made spicy for those who miss the taste of chile and the sensation having their mouth on fire (Central Asian food is generally not spicy).
When I first walked into the restaurant, the hostess greeted me in Russian, but I responded in Chinese for double language practice. Much to my surprise, all of the restaurant staff were either native Chinese speakers or Kyrgyz people who have been learning to speak Chinese either for work, passion, or just interest in the country next door. I was very impressed by the restaurant’s ambiance and passion for bringing some of the many delicious Chinese culinary traditions to Bishkek. As a Chinese major, it was a very exciting experience for me to find a piece of China in this study abroad location that is located so close to, yet so far away from, the Middle Kingdom. It was paradise for me to learn about cross-cultural connections between Central Asia and China. I hope to return back to this restaurant and chat with the employees about why they have moved to Kyrgyzstan. (Some were born and raised in Kyrgyzstan but are ethnically Chinese.)
At the restaurant, I ordered Zongzi (a glutinous rice treat often served during the month of June for the annual Dragon Boat Festival), a tofu salad, and the restaurant’s famous Lanzhou beef noodle soup. The food arrived fast and tasted amazing. The service at the Lanzhou noodle restaurant was also very professional, and the watchful staff was eager to make sure I was enjoying the food. I also had the chance to chat with the owner about her life in Bishkek; she even asked whether I would like to come work for her as a translator for Chinese, Russian and English. In the dining room, I also saw many Chinese expats meeting and chatting amongst themselves about family and work.
After lunch, I was in a state of pure happiness — the taste and smells of the food reminded me of when I was studying abroad in China a few years ago. It has been so long since I had authentic-tasting Chinese food, and eating at the restaurant was a very satisfying experience that I would highly recommend to students, locals, travelers, and expats who love good traditional Chinese food (no General Tso or orange chicken are included on the menu). The Lanzhou Noodle Restaurant is by far one of my favorite Chinese restaurants that I have tried during my stay in Bishkek.
Lanzhou Noodle Restaurant
117 Chuy Ave, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan