Cup Noodles Shop, 9783 Base Line Road (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga; open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday to Tuesday, closed Wednesday
A Rancho Cucamonga-area diner interested in Chinese food ought to make a beeline for the southeast corner of Base Line and Archibald, where a 99 Ranch market is the centerpiece of an L-shaped plaza devoted to Asian-oriented businesses. I’ve been to most of them, but it’s hard to keep up as the operators and names turn over.
Cup Noodles Shop opened in mid-2018. A friend who’s become enamored of the place invited me to join him for lunch recently. And no, despite the name, they don’t serve instant soup. They did bring our water in these funny Lego-like cups.
The menu is mostly noodle soups, served in cups. We perused the menu at length and ordered three dishes: No. 16, pickled pork with leak noodles ($9.75), with an upgrade to cut noodles ($1), No. 8, ChongQing cold noodles ($8.85), both pictured below, and red chili chao shou ($9.38), not pictured.
We liked both noodle dishes, with the cold noodles being an interesting change, but the handmade noodles in the pork soup — see my bowl of it below — were the clear winner, wide and stretchy. I’m a fan of wontons in red chili oil and the version here matched up.
Also, the soup cups were adorable.
The small restaurant also has milk teas and desserts, including cakes in the shapes of cartoon pigs and dogs. An open-minded child might find this place even more delightful than an adult.
In the plaza, I spotted one restaurant I’d never noticed before that seemed to be devoted to spicy food and two others whose names have changed since my last visit. A hobbyist could do worse than to try to stay on top of things on that corner.