Tuesday, September 26, 2023 Sep 26, 2023
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Lunch Box

Hand-Pulled Noodles Are the Stars at This Frisco Chinese Restaurant

Highland Noodles also offers a lunch combo special centered on bowls of Lanzhou beef noodle soup.
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Highland Noodles, Frisco
Brian Reinhart

The time has come for us to share with you some Important Noodle Information. Highland Noodles, which opened in Frisco in December, is serving some of the best noodle bowls in North Texas.

It took me six months to finally drive north and try the restaurant. I urge you not to make the same mistake. This Chinese spot, a spacious dining room in a brand-new shopping center, specializes in all sorts of noodles: hand-pulled noodles, noodles with a splash of spicy chile oil, beef noodle soups, stir fried noodles, and cold noodle appetizers.

The specialty is Lanzhou beef noodle soup, featuring hand-pulled noodles, tender cubes of beef, and loads of chopped scallions and cilantro. Flavorful broth coats the noodles even if you pull them out and eat them separately. Lanzhou soup is available as a lunchtime combo meal, with side dishes and extra slices of meat.

I dug into a bowl of what the menu calls “Oily Noodles.” Fear not: the name refers to the hot oil tossed over the bowl at the end, not to an oily or greasy texture. That technique brings the dish together and allows you to quickly stir everything up so that the seasonings coat all the noodles. You may recognize “oily noodles” from their differently-translated names at a couple of Plano restaurants: hot oil noodles or hot oil splashing noodles.

The bowl starts with Highland’s terrific flat noodles, which would be hard to stop eating in any context, and then adds a few leaves of baby bok choy, crushed peppers, soy, vinegar, and raw garlic. The minced garlic sits on top like a menacing warning, but mix the bowl up and it will soften into the sauce until it becomes a gentle background hum of flavor.

Non-noodle sides are lovely, too. I was drawn to the pickled cabbage salad, coated in a gently spicy chile oil. It’s a very simple dish—there can’t be more than five ingredients—but it reminded me that sometimes a little bit of spice can make that dish refreshing. If you prefer a soothing veggie without the heat, the chopped cucumbers are terrific too.

The only choppy part of the Highland Noodles experience is paying the bill. The ordering system is high-tech—when you scan the QR code on your table, you place your order in full, rather than just reading a menu. (In fact, the system has some menu descriptions missing, though there’s a photo of everything.) But the order-placing system on your phone can’t handle payment, or at least, my table couldn’t figure out how to get to a payment screen. Instead walk over to the cash register, next to the tablet where customers place takeout orders.

The other part of my trip I found a little disorienting was simply finding Highland Noodles, which is located in one of Frisco’s seemingly endless suburban strip malls. I didn’t get lost or anything like that. I just got overwhelmed by all the other delicious-looking restaurants.

Drive around the back of the building, and there’s another outbuilding full of more places to eat. Over the curb, pho and Korean kebabs beckon. Across the side street, there’s a whole plaza of Asian dessert spots. I could spend a whole month eating my way up and down a single mile of Preston Road in Frisco.

In fact, if the rest of the meals are as good as this one, I just might.


Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.

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