From the moment that Malcolm Gin experienced a taste of traditional hand-pulled noodles in Lanzhou, China, he knew that it was something that he needed to share back home in Washtenaw County. Since the grand opening of Lan City Hand Pulled Noodles, Gin and his family have received many positive reviews from customers and food critics.
“Ann Arbor is really open-minded and willing to try new cuisines and people have really taken to the style [of noodles] beautifully,” Malcolm Gin’s son Cedric Gin said.
Lan City’s Inspiration
The hand-pulled noodle technique that Malcolm Gin uses in his restaurant is authentic. The technique was taught to him by a New York-based chef who was raised in Lanzhou. Before opening his own restaurant, Malcolm Gin was running restaurants in New York and later in Michigan. It was in New York that he learned the most important trait in the restaurant business: quality cuisine. For Cedric, the noodles have a bouncy texture to them and they “bite back at you when you bite it.” This demonstrates the uniqueness of Lan City Hand Pulled Noodles’ signature meal.
Cedric describes his father as someone who is “truly obsessed with food.” Cedric often finds himself at a restaurant enjoying his meal while his father contemplates the ingredients and techniques used to make the food. Running Lan City Hand Pulled Noodles is an endeavor for the entire Gin family. Cedric Gin and his sister manage online operations for the business.
“My dad is in charge of the logistics of all of the food so my sister and I do our best to help out with the website and online ordering,” Cedric said. “[This way] he doesn’t have to worry about all of that and he can focus fully on making amazing food.”
Throughout the pandemic, Lan City had to move from primarily an in-person dining operation to completely online ordering. However, they have not lost their loving customers and have continued to thrive even with changing COVID restrictions.
“People regularly leave really sweet notes, like, ‘hey, we hope you guys are doing okay, we support you, we love you guys, if there’s anything we can [do to] help let us know,” Cedric said. “There’s a lot of love for local, family-owned businesses here in Ann Arbor.”
Delicious Noodle Dishes
Initially, Lan City Noodles’ customer base consisted of Asian and Asian American populations. After the Gins started making a name for themselves, customers of all different backgrounds came to try their food.
To meet the high demand for hand-pulled noodles, the Gins are looking into expansion opportunities, particularly in Ann Arbor. While nothing has been finalized, they aim to make their cuisine accessible to everyone in the area. Additionally, Lan City noodles will open their doors for in-person dining again in July.
“My dad is the one with a lot of restaurant experience. So this was the first time where I saw the growth with my own eyes and it has been very humbling. We feel a lot of pride and thankfulness for our community. When we were voted ‘best Chinese food’ I was blown away. It felt like we had made it, like we really made something. And that’s what my dad has always wanted to do, [he has] always wanted to make something that has people saying ‘wow, this is amazing.’”
2612 Washtenaw Ave, Ypsilanti. 734-896-3888. lancitynoodles.com.