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Northern Chinese dishes made by hand are the specialty at Noodle Home, an unassuming Castro Valley restaurant that opened in January. Try the Xi’an-style Chinese burgers stuffed with either pork belly or cumin lamb, served on just-made bread that’s crisp around the edges and fluffy in the middle. Accompany that with the liangpi, another Xi’an-style street food of cold noodles in red oil. They’re bouncy and fun to eat, topped with shreds of cucumbers and bean sprouts for crunch. Noodle Home also offers another Xi’an specialty called paomo, or pita bread in lamb soup. The cubes of pita bread retain a firm, chewy bite similar to spaetzle, while the broth is buttery and rich. For those who love biang biang noodles — wheat noodles ripped by hand — try the three-topping version with hot oil, which comes with ground pork, diced potatoes and veggies, and a hard-boiled egg. If you’ve got friends in tow, don’t miss the chicken and potato platter (also known as da pan ji or big plate chicken) — it’s an impressive plate spiced with cumin, curry, and star anise, all atop ribbon-like biang biang noodles.

— Katherine Hamilton

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Price: $$

Payment Type: Cash, All Major Credit Cards

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

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