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Cold Noodles w/ Szechuan v. Dan Dan Mein


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If you're talking about Grand Sichuan dishes #30 and #31, I haven't done the side-by-side in about four years but as I recall #30 is cold and #31 is warm, and #30 is more along the lines of the cold noodles you get at Chinese-American restaurants around town, with a sesame-peanut sauce (as well as some chili, as an option) whereas #31 is a small bowl of thin, warm noodles with a potent mix of hot chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns and garlic. All of which is strange because the Chinese folks I've spoken to about dan dan noodles have all said they're supposed to be cold. I wonder what "dan dan" actually means. Maybe it's a broad term.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Right, I don't think the GSI version includes the ground pork meat. Wu Liang Ye's version (which is also served warm and not cold) however, does.

I think Cecil at China 46 prepared us a Dan Dan Mian once with the pork meat and it was cold.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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I did some searches using 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein) and found that there are many variations.

Some are dry; some are in broth.

Some are hot, with chili and sichuan peppercorn; some are not.

Some use tofu; some use minced pork; some use minced pickled vegetable.

Some place the sauce on top of the noodles; some place the sauce under the noodles.

Some contain sesame paste; some don't use sesame paste.

Some serve this hot; some serve this cold (room temperature).

Yet they all use the name 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein).

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Right, I don't think the GSI version includes the ground pork meat.[...]

It does at the St. Marks location, and it always did at the 24 St. location when I used to go there. It doesn't at the 50th St. location?

Their Sichuan Cold Noodles include Sichuan pepper as well as hot oil, and also are more vinegary than Cantonese-style Cold Noodles with Sesame typically are.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Right, I don't think the GSI version includes the ground pork meat.[...]

It does at the St. Marks location, and it always did at the 24 St. location when I used to go there. It doesn't at the 50th St. location?

Their Sichuan Cold Noodles include Sichuan pepper as well as hot oil, and also are more vinegary than Cantonese-style Cold Noodles with Sesame typically are.

If I'm recalling it right, the 50th street one has no pork. I might be wrong.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I did some searches using 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein) and found that there are many variations.

Some are dry; some are in broth.

Some are hot, with chili and sichuan peppercorn; some are not.

Some use tofu; some use minced pork; some use minced pickled vegetable.

Some place the sauce on top of the noodles; some place the sauce under the noodles.

Some contain sesame paste;  some don't use sesame paste.

Some serve this hot;  some serve this cold (room temperature).

Yet they all use the name 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein).

Yep, that was my understanding as well -- even though this is a dish of origin from Chengdu there is still a lot of regional variation. Sort of like the way Ma Po Tofu is.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I had a friend who was adamant that if it didn't have 'yacai' 芽采 (a very specific type of pickled vegetable), it wasn't 'dan-dan' mian. Mind you, before I met her, I'd never had dandan mian with yacai in it.....so I always stayed rather quiet.....

I must say, though...if there was broth in dandan mian, wouldn't the poor vendors have had terrible trouble with the pole bouncing about on their shoulders, shaking the pots and ended up with burns on their shins.....?!?! I mean, from a practical point of view...cold and broth-less would make sense considering the history of the name..... :unsure:

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Stone, if I'm not mistaken, "dan dan mian" is Pinyin for Sichuan-style cold noodles.

Wikipedia confirms this: "Dan dan Noodles (Chinese: 担担麵; pinyin: dan dan mian) is a classic dish of Chinese Sichuan cuisine. It consists of a spicy ground peanut and sesame sauce over noodles, usually very garlicky, and often served with cold sliced cucumbers." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_dan_noodles

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Corinne Trang in Essentials of Asian Cooking p.232 attributes 'dan dan' to the noise made by the earliest street vendors as they made their way through crowded streets - plates and baskets clanging against one another.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is a recipe for Wheat Noodles with Pork-and-Cabbage Sauce served hot.

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Corinne Trang in Essentials of Asian Cooking p.232 attributes 'dan dan' to the noise made by the earliest street vendors as they made their way through crowded streets - plates and baskets clanging against one another.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is a recipe for Wheat Noodles with Pork-and-Cabbage Sauce served hot.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is the Vietnamese version.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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Corinne Trang in Essentials of Asian Cooking p.232 attributes 'dan dan' to the noise made by the earliest street vendors as they made their way through crowded streets - plates and baskets clanging against one another.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is a recipe for Wheat Noodles with Pork-and-Cabbage Sauce served hot.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is the Vietnamese version.

With respect,Trang describes her recipe as a '...Szechwan wheat noodle and ground pork specialty....'

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The classic Dan Dan Noodle(擔擔面) should be serve warm with ya cai(芽采), pork sauce and wheat noodle.

In Land of Plenty, Fuchsia Dunlop did a good job emphasizing this by naming her receipt “Traditional Dan Dan Noodle” and explains it this way “The name Dan Dan noodle didn’t originally refer to a particular style of noodles, but is firmly associated with the following recipe…...” (Notice she use TRADITIONAL and FIRMLY)

She has done a lot of research in Sichuan for her book and her takes on this is once again right on the money.

Her recipe substitute Tianjin preserved vegetable for yu cai because the lack of availability in the U.S.,

It also use scallions but no garlic.

The name Dan Dan Noodle/擔擔面 came from the carrying shoulder pole(扁擔) that the Chengdu street vendors used to carry the pots of noodle and sauce in the old days.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Her recipe substitute Tianjin preserved vegetable for yu cai because the lack of availability in the U.S.,

It also use scallions but no garlic.

The best quality of Ya Cai 芽菜 comes from Yi Bin, the same place where Wuliangye liquor was made. It became easy to find at most of Chinese supper markets in New York (Especially in Queens). Since four years ago, it was introduced by one of the food import company I worked .

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

By the way, Pcbilly, you did a really good research on Sichuan food, and I like your in-depth questions.

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

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The best quality of Ya Cai 芽菜 comes from Yi Bin, the same place where Wuliangye liquor was made. It became easy to find at most of Chinese supper markets in New York (Especially in Queens). Since four years ago, it was introduced  by one of the food import company I worked .

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

By the way, Pcbilly, you did a really good research on Sichuan food, and I like your in-depth questions.

Qing:

Thank you for the information.

I will look for it next time I go to my local Chinese market.

Also, what else can you do with Ya Cai beside in DanDan Mein and why is it "碎米" Ya cai ? (You have notice that I like to ask questions :biggrin:).

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what else can you do with Ya Cai beside in DanDan Mein and why is it "碎米" Ya cai ?

I didn't pay attention for 碎米 Sui Mi, but I did some research.

I guess it is the brand name of Sichuan Yibin SuiMiYaCai Co. Ltd., and you can check their web site:

www.suimiyacai.com

In the Qing Dynasty Qian Long years清乾隆年间, in Yibin city there is a poor couple. They eat green vegetables day by day. The wife found out a set of salt preserve systems for the green vegetables. She soaked the tender parts of green vegetables, and assisted by the brown sugar and the many kinds of natural spice. Because it tenderly resembles the germ, her husband names it "Ya Cai 芽菜 ". After her husband went to Beijing to take the civil service exam, she opened one food shop in the city.

It is the short story about Ya Cai, and its main raw materials are green vegetables. The ratio betwwen the input and product is every 500 gram end products Ya Cai 芽菜 need green vegetables 2 - 2.5 kilogram. green veges.

In Wuliangye restaurants, we use Ya Cai to make 小龙包 Mini Pork Ban, Ya Cai Lobster, and Sauteed String Bean with Ya Cai and mineced Pork.

Come to NY, I show you some good Sichuan restaurants.

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

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Qing, what do you mean by it resembling the germ?

Pan:

I think Qing used the term "germ" to mean spout, seed, as in germination.

發芽 is germinate in Chinese

芽菜/Ya Cai literally mean sprout vegetable in Chinese

The name might have come from the idea that Ya Cai is as tender as young sprout.

"碎米 Sui Mi" is indeed part of the brand name for Ya Cai, google returns close to 800

search resaults for this brand; I guess it is the crème de la crème of Ya Cai.

Qing, please correct me if this were wrong, I am here to learn. :biggrin:

William

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The best quality of Ya Cai 芽菜 comes from Yi Bin, the same place where Wuliangye liquor was made. It became easy to find at most of Chinese supper markets in New York (Especially in Queens). Since four years ago, it was introduced  by one of the food import company I worked .

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

Are these Ya Cai considered expensive? Are they similar to other regular bean sprouts or entirely different?

50 grams does not seem a whole lot for bean sprouts, which regularly are sold by the pound (e.g. US$1.00 a pound in California).

Since they used the word 四川 (Sichuan) in the name, do they grow the Ya Cai in Sichuan then transport them to New York (by air?)?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

Are these Ya Cai considered expensive? Are they similar to other regular bean sprouts or entirely different?

50 grams does not seem a whole lot for bean sprouts, which regularly are sold by the pound (e.g. US$1.00 a pound in California).

Since they used the word 四川 (Sichuan) in the name, do they grow the Ya Cai in Sichuan then transport them to New York (by air?)?

Ah Leung,

I don't think they mean actual sprouts.

Read pcbilly's statement again:

The name might have come from the idea that Ya Cai is as tender as young sprout.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I'm in the office as I type this (unfortunately!).

Have some dan dan noodles from Wu Liang Ye next to me, and some tangerine chicken for later.

WLY's dan dan consists of minced pork in red oil with Sichuan peppercorns tossed over lo mein-type noodles, and some blanched spinach leaves for color.

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The name might have come from the idea that Ya Cai is as tender as young sprout.

Dejah is right.

Unfortunately, sometime the ability to read Chinese Characters on product names can actually mislead you more about what it is. :wacko:

I also had the hardest time in trying to figuring out why Ya Cai , a fermented tender leaves of mustard green, is called spout vegetable in Chinese.

This is another case of poetic Chinese name that has nothing to do with content of the dish; other examples such as Fish-Fragrant Pork, Lion’s Head and Lychee Pork come to mind.

I guess this is why we have so many different topics to talk about on this forum. :biggrin:

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  • 3 years later...

You know, I've loved the Japanese version of dan dan main (tantanmen) for the longest time and still haven't managed to try the authentic/Sichuan version!

I did buy a cookbook (Authentic Recipes from China) purely for this recipe! Haven't tried it yet though.

It calls for:

Sichuan peppercorns

peanut oil

ground pork

chicken stock

preserved, salted radish

soy sauce

black vinegar

garlic

sesame oil

white pepper

wheat noodles

spring onions for garnish

Wow! So many variations judging by the lack of peanuts in this particular recipe (if you don't count the peanut oil). The versions I see often have 'bean sauce-like' consistency hmm.

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You know, I've loved the Japanese version of dan dan main (tantanmen) for the longest time and still haven't managed to try the authentic/Sichuan version!

I did buy a cookbook (Authentic Recipes from China) purely for this recipe! Haven't tried it yet though.

It calls for:

Sichuan peppercorns

peanut oil

ground pork

chicken stock

preserved, salted radish

soy sauce

black vinegar

garlic

sesame oil

white pepper

wheat noodles

spring onions for garnish

Wow! So many variations judging by the lack of peanuts in this particular recipe (if you don't count the peanut oil). The versions I see often have 'bean sauce-like' consistency hmm.

That says "salted radish" but I thought it was the leafy tops that are called for usually in dan dan noodles. I know there is no one recipe for dan dan mien, so is the use of the root a variation here?

There's a good youtube video made by a person name Yeqiang on the noodles (here's a link to part one: (

), with a separate one on the pork mixture (. Her dan dan noodles are brothy, which I like sometimes. But sometimes I like them drier.

nunc est bibendum...

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from what i remember it varies from stall to stall. doesn't always contain [minced or roughly chopped] peanuts and/or preserved vegs or roots. i've had this favourite noodle dish of mine in different places in Sichuan province, and even once in Tibet. every time it's slightly differently, always good with or without minced pork, is never brothy. the best dian dian mian is to be found in Chengdu. where else :-)

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