From instant ramen to hand-pulled 面条 mian tiao, noodles are a staple of Chinese cuisine. They are now hugely popular across the world. 

With regional recipes, unique flavours, and seasonal specials, in this list we take a look at some of the top Chinese noodle dishes.

  1. 1 Dandan noodles 担担面 (Dàndàn miàn)

    You’ll find this classic dish on every list of great Chinese noodles. And for good reason! Originating from Western China’s great culinary province Sichuan, this dish is typical of the hot and spicy local cuisine. 

    Ingredients include 麻辣 ma la mouth-numbing Sichuan peppers and preserved vegetables. This dish was historically sold by street vendors who carried the noodles and the spicy sauce using a pole. 

    This gives the dish its translated name “noodles carried on a pole”. Although still a staple of Sichuan street food, many restaurants outside China have their own take on this dish. 

    The recipe has also become popular with home cooks. Many add peanut sauce and extra sesame for a sweeter taste.

  2. 2 Beef noodles 牛肉面 (Niúròu miàn)

    Homely and simple, this noodle dish comes in many variations. Still, it remains a failsafe order for many. 

    The beef is cut into chunks or thinly sliced and then served in a warm broth. It is often accompanied by vegetables like bok choy, cilantro and scallions.

    Although popular across China, famous versions include Lanzhou beef noodles that are well known for their finely cut beef, thin noodles, and radishes. 

    Lanzhou Beef Noodles

    Not only are they a familiar sight in the pages of any Chinese learner’s textbook, the minimalism of this dish makes it perfect for add-ons. Chillies, garlic, cilantro, and sesame seeds are some of the most popular personalizations. 

    While beef noodles are not vegetarian-friendly, egg and tomato noodles are an equally common and classic dish. They are a great choice for those looking for a tasty and customizable veggie option

  3. 3 Biang Biang noodles

    While maybe not the most culinarily complex noodles on our list, this dish might be hard to swallow for avid calligraphers. With a whopping 42 strokes, the character “biang” is known as the most complex Chinese character.

    The character for Biang

    Although not found in modern dictionaries, the infamous character has increased interest in the noodles themselves.

    Around 2-3cm thick and up to 1 metre long, they are also called ‘belt noodles’ due to their unique shape. The tasty dish has even become popular in the United States.

    Served with a warming broth and Shanxi chillies, this noodle dish makes for a hearty meal. Attempt to try it before you attempt to write its name!

  4. 4 Wonton noodles 云吞面 (Yún tūn miàn)

    Unlike the spiciness of Northern Chinese cuisine, Guangdong Wonton noodles are known for their fresh flavours and sweetness. Wontons are a dumpling usually made of pork or shrimp. 

    In this case, they are served with rice noodles and a mildly flavoured bone broth. The delicate taste of this dish means that it can be served at all times of day. 

    Even during hot summers it is often enjoyed as a refreshing breakfast or snack

    Although milder than other Chinese regional cuisines, Southern dishes like wonton noodles emphasize natural flavours. They pair with lightly cooked vegetables and fragrant seasonings, like ginger and aniseed.

  5. 5 Liáng pí 凉皮

    Especially in Northern areas Liang Pi or “cold skin” noodles are a summertime staple. Popular, cheap, and refreshing, Liang Pi noodles are a cooling alternative to noodles in a hot broth.

    They are available to buy from the local supermarket, street vendors and restaurants alike. These noodles are served cold and are coated in a peanut, sesame, and chilli sauce. 

    Sliced cucumbers can also be added for an even fresher taste.

    Although different types of noodles are used in this dish depending on the region, hand-pulled noodles often make for the most delicious as they are able to absorb the rich sauce.

    Sorry guys, instant ramen didn't make the list 🙁

    Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know your go-to noodle dish in the comments!

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Isobel Haskell
Isobel Haskell is studying for a Master’s Degree in Chinese Studies at SOAS in London. As a language learner and noodle enthusiast, she hopes to write stories that inspire curiosity.
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