Noodles are quintessential in
Chinese cuisine. They vary in
shape, texture and recipe across
the nation, but in any format, they
are delicious. In Minhang, many
regional tastes have been blended into local specialties, and
many restaurants offer authentic versions of regional dishes.
Shanghai Daily offers this guide
to some of the best noodle eating in the district.
Shanghai cold noodles
Cold noodles are a popular dish during the
hot days of Shanghai summers. Snack shops
across the city stop selling hot noodle soups in
about May, replacing them on the menu with cold
noodles for the next four months.
Cold noodles are more than just boiled noodlesleft to cool. Noodles treated that way quickly become gummy. The correct way is to steam the
noodle first before boiling.
Back in ancient times, people just plunged
boiled noodles in tap or well water to cool them
and prevent them from becoming sticky. The
method did help maintain the firm texture of
the noodles, but impure water sources often pro-
The steaming-first method is attributed to a
snack shop named Siruchun, which steamed
the noodles and then cooled them with electric
The traditional sauce with cold noodles is onemade of peanut butter, vinegar and soybean sauce,while the most popular toppings are stir-fried sliced green pepper, sliced pork and bean sprouts.The combination of savory and sour tastes is so
refreshing on a hot summer day.
On the mainland, beef noodles are always associated with Taiwan, even though the popular
Taiwan dish actually traces its origins back to
soldiers from the mainland.
It’s said the soldiers craved hometown cooking and devised a noodle dish that amalgamated
different styles of cuisine: the frequent use of
soy sauce in Shanghai cuisine, the soup cooking methods of Guangzhou and the spiciness of
After decades, beef noodles has come to be
considered “authentic Taiwan cuisine” to mainlanders, who can always find something familiar
in the dish.
Noodles with soybean paste
These noodles, with their characteristic strong flavor, originated in Beijing, though the dish is
now popular all over the country.
A good soybean paste is key to the dish. Usually it is combined with stir-fried ground meat,
spring onion and ginger with oil. When the
meat is half cooked, the sweet soybean paste
Different places have their own variations,including the type of noodles used. In Shanghai, thin noodles are most common.
No Chinese input software can display the
character for biang, which has 56 strokes and
is considered one of China’s most complicated
characters. The noodles, however, are not so
Originally from northwest China’s ShaanxiProvince, biangbiang noodles is snack that can befound in almost every snack bar and restaurant
in the northwest of China.
The noodles are typically cooked al dente, and
then heated peanut oil sauce is poured onto thenoodles, along with chili, Sichuan pepper, groundginger, spring onions and garlic. Sometimes stir-fried carrots, tofu and ground pork are also
served with the sauce.
The Shaanxi Family Restaurant in Xinzhuang
is believed to serve most authentic biangbiang noodles, with the classic chewy texture and spicy flavor.
Red noodle soup
Red noodle soup is the general name of soup
with soy sauce added. The dish is widely found inShanghai and its neighboring provinces, though
often under different names. It is called aozaonoodles in Kunshan, guogai noodles in Zhenjiangand Suzhou noodles in Suzhou.
The soup features thin noodles often called
“dragon whiskers.” The toppings are classics
passed down through generations: broiled pork, fried fish with soy sauce, shiitake mushroom andwheat gluten, and salted green vegetables with
Red noodle soup fits the Shanghai palate to a
tee. The soup is savory with a touch of sweetness,
and all the toppings are common to every family
dinner table in the city.
Chongqing little noodles
This is a popular breakfast dish in the southwestern city of Chongqing. The “little” actually
refers to noodles without any toppings, though
that distinction is often blurred in versions that
do use toppings.
The quality of this dish depends on the chili
sauce used. It is usually made with Sichuan pepper, soy sauce and other seasonings, such as salt
and lard oil.
Chongqing people have their own codes when
ordering little noodles. “Raising it yellow” means
noodles cooked al dente. “Adding green” means
more green vegetables. “Quick-fry” means no
soup with the noodles