Hot days, cold days, mild-weathered days,… It doesn’t matter; noodles are a staple food that can be eaten at any time, especially in China. While most foreigners would steer clear of soup noodles in the summer (due to the heat!), Chinese people wouldn’t say no to a bowl of delicious noodles dish.
Here is our list of favourite noodles. If you’re in China, try these while you can. These dishes are cheap, usually around RMB 10-20 kuai, but comes with mostly just noodles and veggies/garnishes, with very little meat.
If you take a look at the ingredients, most of them use chilli oil. Yes, the Chinese love their noodles spicy. And there is just something about cheap Chinese noodles that makes them highly addictive. We bet our money on MSG (monosodium glutamate; a flavour enhancer), which is commonly added to Chinese dishes, especially the “soupy” ones. Have you had that feeling of unquenchable thirst after a meal? That’s the effect of MSG.
So, while we encourage you to try the different Chinese noodles, we must caution you to not overeat.
TOP 5 CHINESE NOODLES YOU MUST TRY
1. 兰州拉面 Lánzhōu lāmiàn
This dish, also known as Lánzhōu niúròu lāmiàn (Lanzhou beef noodles), originated from Lanzhou and has made its mark nation-wide in China. It’s basically made of hand-pulled noodles with beef, sliced radish, parsley and garlic in a flavourful combination of red chilli oil and beef broth. It’s usually served with some small side dishes (pickled veggies).
2. 热干面 Rè gān miàn
热干面 Rè gān miàn is loosely translated as hot dry noodles. It comes from Wuhan and it’s a simple dish to make. The main ingredient is sesame paste/sauce. The noodles are first cooked in boiling water with sesame oil, then tossed in a combination of sesame paste, sesame oil, scallion, soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil (if you want it spicy). This dish is sometimes served with pickled radish to refresh your taste bud.
3. 担担面 Dàndàn miàn
Dàndàn miàn is a Sichuan original and it’s very popular as a street food. It’s made of yellow springy noodles in a spicy broth of peppercorn flakes, chilli oil and vinegar, and topped with bits of pork, preserved veggies and crushed peanuts. If you can’t take spicy food, ask for less broth.
4. Biangbiang miàn
The name of this dish is much more complicated to write than the dish itself. Originally from Shaanxi province, the “biang” actually refers to the sound that the noodles make when they’re slapped against a table/board (to stretch/extend) them. The recipe is simple: thick, flat, hand-pulled noodles doused in chilli vinaigrette (basically a lot of chilli oil and hot pepper flakes), together with garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and green onions.
5. 炸酱面 Zhá jiàng miàn
炸酱面 is thick wheat noodles served with zhá jiàng sauce, which essentially consists of minced pork, mushroom and scallions that have been cooked in a mixed sauce of sweet bean paste and soybean paste. This dish is served with julienned cucumber and carrot to offset the heavy taste of its gravy. While zhá jiàng mian is usually not spicy, there is also a spicy Sichuan version that’s made with 豆瓣酱 dòubàn jiàng (fava/broad bean paste).
Which types of noodles have you tried and which one do you like the most? If it’s not on this list, let us know!