Dan Dan Mien: Hand-shaved noodles and a Favorite at Home

Dan dan noodles, or dan dan mien, is one of my favorite dishes in the whole world. In the five years since I first sampled it, I've tried it everywhere I could find it, in my own city, in Flushing Chinatown in New York, in Beijing, as close to the source as I could get, and even in Korea, just for good measure. The first time I ate dan dan mien with hand-shaved noodles at Seattle's Seven Star Pepper, I remember thinking it just might be the best thing ever invented. Thick ropes of uneven noodle dough swam about in a sea of peanut sludge, spiked with islands of pork. Later, I would learn … [Read more...]

Beijing Part 3: Sichuan Restaurants

"I wish you hadn't told me that" B said, after I informed him that this dish we had just eaten was Dan Dan Mien. We order a perfectly good dish which shares the same name from one of our favorite restaurants at home. It's a great dish, thick chewy noodles and a sauce that seems to be made from pork and peanut butter. These were different. These were crafted dishes, delicate sauce made with layers of flavor. A hint of vinegar here, Sichuan peppercorn there. A totally unrelated dish. Now that we'd had the true version, that serviceable bowl of noodles back home didn't seem as interesting. We … [Read more...]