One of LA’s most popular noodle pop-ups from early 2020 was Bang Bang Noodles, which offered a bit of a show from seasoned journeyman chef Robert Lee, who prepared Xi’an-style biang-biang mian for eager diners in Highland Park. Lee, who worked at upscale restaurants in San Sebastian, New York City, and LA, would slap noodles across a board for all to see. Known for Instagram-friendly hand-pulled noodles encased with chile oil and chopped cilantro, Lee’s noodles developed a significant following over the years. Initially, Lee eventually turned the stand into a takeout operation during the pandemic with numerous temporary outlets. But it’s always been Lee’s plan to open a permanent location.
That day has finally arrived, with Bang Bang Noodles taking over an art-inspired stall at Culver City’s Citizen Public Market as of last week. Fans of the somewhat mercurial operation should find it helpful to have Bang Bang Noodles now serving consistently six days a week from lunch to dinner.
This means that Lee’s other services in Downtown LA and Highland Park are currently on hiatus so he can focus on the Culver City opening, though he’s promised on Instagram that they’ll come back at some point.
Over the years, Lee has grown the menu from tingling cumin dry noodles and noodle soup as the core menu items to Sichuan garlic noodles and Xi’an dry tomato noodles with bok choy and stewed tomatoes. Choices of protein are usually beef, lamb, seitan, or mushrooms. In addition, here at Culver City, Lee has added his mom’s recipe for boiled juicy pork wontons, with plans to expand to other dishes like Taiwanese beef rolls, and even wagyu beef as a protein option.
Chef Robert Lee has brought on Nelson Lee as a co-owner, with artist Darel Carey designing the flowing white countertop and other design elements for the kiosk. Up front, a glass window encloses an area for people to see the noodle pulling in action, much like other Chinese noodle shops around the San Gabriel Valley.
Bang Bang Noodles is located at 9355 Culver Boulevard, Suite J, Culver City, CA 90232, and is open Tuesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.