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Soy sauce noodles?


Fred12fred
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My wife and I were watching a recent tv show (I think it was Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, but could have been No Reservations (Tony Bourdain)) where the person was in Hong Kong.

In one scene, they showed someone making soy sauce noodles, which gave my wife a serious Proustian moment as she grew up in HK and misses it badly. Ever since then, she's been craving this dish.

And, I have no idea what how to go about making this for her.

From what I can tell, the dish seems to be just egg noodles, soy sauce, and bean sprouts. They're all stir fried on high heat. That's it.

Clearly, there must be something more to this. Is it just soy sauce or some special blend of things? Garlic? Onion?

I pretty much know that the "secret" is going to be in the frying part, but I'd at least like to have a small chance of recreating this by knowing what to put in the dish.

So, I turn to the great masses of eGullet and ask: does anyone know what this dish is? And, can you please help me figure out how to recreate it?

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I love soy sauce noodle! With a bowl of plain porridge, it's great anytime of the day! I have to say that I never tried to make this at home as I could get that at many places in Hong Kong and in San Francisco. Now I'm in Australia and nowhere near a large Chinese population, I should learn how to make it. Other than beansprouts, I have seen versions with green onion or chinese chives in them. Some places use onion but I don't like that. I don't mind a sprinkling of toasted sesames on top though.

I'm hoping someone here has a good recipe as I can't wait to try it out myself.

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Been googling everything I can think of and have come up pretty empty.

This looked promising but link they provided doesn't go anywhere helpful...but it looks like just soy plus sugar(?) and beansprouts...

The only other thing I've seen is this post which seems like a variant of the dish.

http://tastesofhome.blogspot.com/2011/01/hong-kong-soy-sauce-noodles-udon-with.html

Interestingly, he mentions using mushroom soy sauce instead of regular.

Does this sound right? I've never had the dish so I have no basis for making a judgment on that.

This might drive me to complete distraction. :hmmm:

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I'm not surprised that sugar may be used. I tend to use a little of that it stir fry dishes to balance out the soy sauce. I also tend to mix regular and dark soy (or mushroom soy) when frying up noodles. The regular soy gives it the salt and the dark/mushroom soy gives it a nice thickness.

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When I make these, I blast the wok and do the following:

-- cook the bean sprouts without oil very quickly, maybe 30s, then dump into a bowl;

-- squirt in a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil or chicken fat and then dump in some sliced onion, cooking them quickly until they're slightly browned on the edges, and remove to the same bowl (I'll often add the green part of scallions here, too);

-- squirt in a bit more oil if needed, and then throw in the egg noodles. You want them to pick up a little bit of color but not burn; this takes serious attention. When you've gotten the wok hei you want, add the vegetables back in and squirt in some dark soy sauce.

You can tweak with sugar, red chili pepper, greens, even meat or fish, but that's the basic approach. The key is getting the wok uber-hot so that you get that wok hei on the noodles. It's not worth trying to accomplish if you don't have a source of very high heat and a seasoned wok (in my opinion).

Let us know how it goes!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Thanks for all the comments.

Ben: To me, lo mein is more saucy than what I imagine this dish to be. But, then again, my experience with lo mein comes from the 1980's chop suey era Chinese restaurants... :raz:

CFT: I tried googling silver thread noodles but didn't find a recipe, but I can see that it could very well be the same dish.

heidih: kecap manis would be good in something like this. I'm filing that away as something to try. Thanks!

Chris: Thanks for your summary of how you do things. I am going to follow your "recipe" tonight. I got my mushroom soy sauce and beansprouts all set!

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The show was (I'm 99% sure) Zimmern's. He was hanging in the kitchen of a place in Hong Kong. One of the keys was the soaking of the noodles before cooking - that seemed to be important. They then went on to say someone needs to work there for 2 years before they can cook the noodles.

And the noodles were cooked using chopsticks as the utensil - not a wok ladle or spatula. That was the way they made sure that all the noodles were exposed to the wok and the sauce.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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my mother's recipe for these noodles (improvised singaporean style) is soy sauce, sesame oil, fried shallots and then throwing in bits of deep fried pork lard to the mix for flavours. dash of vinegar,sugar, ketchup optional and then mix the blanched egg noodles and bean sprouts with the sauce

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There is no recipes for soy sauce noodles.

Just like there is no recipe for fried rice.

Anything goes.

I do a soy sauce Ramen noodles with EVOO, light soy sauce, and parmesan cheese top.

dcarch

With all due respect, your recipe would not necessarily fly in Hong Kong :wink: .

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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There is no recipes for soy sauce noodles.

Just like there is no recipe for fried rice.

Anything goes.

I do a soy sauce Ramen noodles with EVOO, light soy sauce, and parmesan cheese top.

dcarch

With all due respect, your recipe would not necessarily fly in Hong Kong :wink: .

LOL!

You have not tried my Spam fried rice yet.

dcarch

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You have not tried my Spam fried rice yet.

Actually Spam - the Chinese version of it called "lunch meat" - is quite popular in Hong Kong. We use Spam in sandwiches with eggs, baked bao with eggs, ramen noodles with eggs. While it may not be on the menu, I am sure you can order Spam fried rice in Hong Kong.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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This dish is nothing more than meatless lo mein.

And how do you prepare yours?

Heidih, "lo mein" means mixed noodles, which in all its permutations and interpretations is akin to the generic "fried rice" ie: there is no set recipe. Reduced to its basic connotations, it means stir fried noodles to me (and most people). But, there is always a "but" in any argument, interpretations can trump the standard orthodoxy of what we normally assume is the "correct" form and format.

Like this: the Japanese term "ramen" is in fact the corruption of the Chinese term "lo mein". Most native bred Japanese cannot produce the "L" sound, just as most native Chinese speakers have trouble with the "R" sound. We all know of the various guises and forms that the humble "ramen" can assume.

To answer your question, I would have to reply: "Whatever ingredients I have on hand would determine how I cook my meatless lo mein, or soy sauce noodles. Or, better still whatever my wife feels like having - dry-ish, moist, wet, or crisp.

I hope that I have answered your question.

Edited by Ben Hong (log)
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"---- Most native bred Japanese cannot produce the "L" sound, just as most native Chinese speakers have trouble with the "R" sound. We all know of the various guises and forms that the humble "ramen" can assume.

--"

So my Spam fried rice would be Spam fried lice?

dcarch :-)

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Last night, I took a stab at cooking this dish.

I don't have a 8,000,000 BTU stove, and I knew going into it that this would be the key issue, but I've had some success in getting that great smokyness that you would get from a wok by using a cast iron pan, so I wasn't too concerned.

So, I got all set by opening all the windows that I could, turning on the fan, and, most importantly, disconnecting the smoke alarm! I put my pan on the stove and got it blazing hot.

I kept it really simple, just noodles, bean sprouts, mushroom soy and brown sugar.

My wife declared it: "Tasty and good...but...not what I remembered" Which is about what I expected.

Now the trick will be for me to somehow turn this into a trip to Hong Kong to get the real thing... :laugh:

My personal post-mortem is that I think I fried the noodles a bit too much as they turned pretty crispy. I would prefer noodles that had some crunchy bits but still had a softness to them. Also, I think the austerity of just using soy is a bit too bland for me. I'll probably throw in some scallions and garlic if I try this again.

Thanks again for everyone's input! That's what I love about eGullet. :wub:

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You have not tried my Spam fried rice yet.

Actually Spam - the Chinese version of it called "lunch meat" - is quite popular in Hong Kong. We use Spam in sandwiches with eggs, baked bao with eggs, ramen noodles with eggs. While it may not be on the menu, I am sure you can order Spam fried rice in Hong Kong.

It's a very popular topping for ramen and macaroni in soup as well. And you can always get luncheon meat and fried eggs for breakfast. I kinda remember that we slice and dip the luncheon meat and fried them up in a pan at home when I was growing up in Hong Kong.

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I kept it really simple, just noodles, bean sprouts, mushroom soy and brown sugar.

....

My personal post-mortem is that I think I fried the noodles a bit too much as they turned pretty crispy. I would prefer noodles that had some crunchy bits but still had a softness to them. Also, I think the austerity of just using soy is a bit too bland for me. I'll probably throw in some scallions and garlic if I try this again.

I wouldn't use brown sugar as it isn't a popular ingredient in Hong Kong. I would try the recipe with just white sugar. Also, maybe use a mix of dark and light soy. I find the combination gives the food a more complex flavor than get using one.

Charred bits of noodles - yes! Crunchy noodle - no!

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"It's a very popular topping for ramen and macaroni in soup as well. And you can always get luncheon meat and fried eggs for breakfast. I kinda remember that we slice and dip the luncheon meat and fried them up in a pan at home when I was growing up in Hong Kong."

What do you dip the Spam in before you fry it? Egg?

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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most native Chinese speakers have trouble with the "R" sound

No they don't. Some Cantonese speakers do. There is an [r] sound in Mandarin. I've been living in China for 15 years and have met only one or two people who couldn't say [r].

the Japanese term "ramen" is in fact the corruption of the Chinese term "lo mein"

No. It's much more likely to be a 'corruption' of "la mian" (拉面), something quite different.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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