Address: 29 Tai'an Lu

Last order: 11:30pm-12am

牛肉拉面 6元
加肉拉面 10元

This hugely popular chain restaurant in Qingdao's old city has been around for well over twenty years. Local legend holds that the Ma family make their special la mian broth with a very, secret ingredient with a secret effect that will never be disclosed to the public.

Situated just down Tai'an Lu from the railway station, this Ma Jia La Mian carries a more authentic veneer than that on Yizhou Lu and sells all the regular items such as 羊肉泡馍 and 刀削面. It also includes a friendly outdoor eating section with barbecue and like other Ma Jia La Mians is replete with fresh draught beer on tap in true Qingdao style.

The la mian features Ma Jia's unique thick and salty soup, laced with super slices of beef and topped with a good splash of chili and garlic. The noodles are soft and gluey, though not as yellow as those on Yizhou Lu. Although I'd sampled the 加肉 version on Yizhou Lu, Tai'an Lu's la mian tasted far more beefy and delicious.

Dave was already engaged in heated discussion with the restaurant's personnel over the authenticity or not of various Ma Jia La Mian restaurants in Qingdao when Rudi finally arrived to order his first-ever Qingdao Ma Jia la mian. And Rudi was impressed, not only with the cold draught on the table beside his noodles, but moreso with the soup that tasted a lot like what he spreads on his toast back home in South Africa.

The area around the train station is home to a number of la mian eateries, including three across the road from Ma Jia La Mian that all display 西北面馆 (North-Eastern Noodle Restaurant) in identical script on their adjacent shopfronts.

RUDI: I love the fact that it tastes like Bovril! (Bovril is a special meat extract spread on toast in South Africa and drunk as tea in England.)

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