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Quick Bite

Home Taste comes to Arlington Heights

Lamb casserole at Home Taste in Arlington Heights.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Where to Home Taste in Arlington Heights. It’s the second location of a tiny Watertown favorite known for stretchy, hand-pulled noodles. Winchester-based owner Kai Chen is from Henan, in northern China, and his wife, Ying, is from Fujian, farther south. Why the new digs? “Many of our Watertown customers are from Arlington and were asking us if we’d deliver,” she tells me. It takes over the La Posada space not far from the Lexington border.

What for Noodles splashed in hot oil; noodle soups with beef and vegetables; fat, pan-fried pork dumplings; and Chinese casseroles loaded with lamb, fried pork, and beef. Find a seat in the small orange dining room, if you can, or grab your bounty to go.

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The scene Pared-down. A woman entertains a baby with a cellphone near the window. Several families chatter over bowls of noodles. A cashier attempts to staple together a brown to-go bag. There are some reviews on the brick walls and a chalkboard sign tethered with smiley-face balloons promising “great taste!”

Spicy cumin lamb burgerJonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

What you’re eating Fans of the Watertown location, take note: That branch has a larger menu with things like spare ribs, chicken fingers, and teriyaki; this menu is littler. Noodles are the focus — wide, strappy, and best enjoyed hot. (Many customers take them to go, but they tend to congeal into a brick-like gel if left untended too long.) Go the simple route, with spicy hot oil seared ones ($7.68), or try them with a puddle of pickled, candy-red chilies and thick shreds of bok choy (also $7.68). Not advertised but very much welcome: pungent clumps of soft garlic. Handmade pork dumplings ($7.98) are large and gummy, and they sprout hot juice when punctured, just as they should. Home Taste is also known for Chinese “burgers,” a recipe that dates to the Qin dynasty — supple stewed pork or spicy cumin lamb tangled with soft onion and green pepper, folded into firm baked bread made from wheat flour batter. One is a snack; two make a meal. Both are less than $5. This branch of Home Taste also offers Chinese casserole ($14.98 and up), a cloudy froth of black fungus, sheets of bean curd, seaweed, and bok choy, served with noodles or rice and your choice of meat bobbling within. (If you do order noodles, dump them into the bowl immediately, lest they stiffen.)

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Care for a drink? Grab soda or Snapple from a cooler.

Overheard Happy chatter, but beats me what anyone’s saying. I only speak English, and every single family in the place is speaking Chinese — young kids, older folks, and a server in a black shirt with the words “best noodles” written on the back. But I do know this: They are.

1312 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington Heights, 781-646-8080, www.hometastema.com

Hot oiled seared hand-pulled noodles

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Hot oiled seared hand-pulled noodles


Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.