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In China, noodles are associated with longevity and are therefore often eaten on birthdays. It doesn’t have to be your birthday for you to enjoy a big bowl of 面 in Beijing, luckily! Check out Glutton Guide Beijing‘s list of Beijing’s best boodles for a fun and satisfying meal.
Bei 27 Hao 北27号
This small, hip eatery tucked into a quiet street at the edge Beijing’s busiest shopping and nightlife neighborhood only sells a handful of dishes. But what Bei 27 Hao lacks in variety, it makes up for in a definitively stellar bowl of noodles. The two-room shop specializes in Lanzhou province’s niangpi – fat coils of smooth chewy noodle draped in mianjin (porous wheat gluten) and drizzled with sesame-chili sauce. The other main option is the soupy “Grandma’s house” saozi mian, delightful though lacking the same one-two punch as the niangpi. Don’t miss splitting a serving of fragrant rechao liangfen, stir-fried starch jelly that is both spicy and sour.
Order: Lanzhou niangpi noodles (兰州酿皮 lánzhōu niàngpí)l “Grandma’s house” saozi noodle soup (姥姥家臊子面 lǎolaojiā sàozi miàn); stir-fried starch jelly (热炒凉粉 rèchǎo liángfěn); glutinous rice with red date (香糯年糕xiāng nuò niángāo)
Chuanren Xiang 川仁巷
For a whirlwind tour of Chengdu’s noodles, this is your stop. Though Sichuanese restaurants and Chengdu snack shops abound in Beijing, Chuanren Xiang is one of the few spots to try harder-to-find specialties like tianshui mian (“sweet water noodles” – thick noodles coated in a sweet-spicy sauce) or yibin ranmian (“burning noodles” – tossed with chili oil, toasted peanuts and pickled vegetables). Sampling a few of the 17 noodle varieties Chuanren Xiang offers is a must, but the other regional specialty dishes are equally stunning and shouldn’t be missed.
Order: sweet water noodles (甜水面 tiánshuǐ miàn); burning noodles (宜宾燃面 yíbīn ránmiàn); mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐mápó dòufu); chicken with offal (肥肠鸡 féicháng jī); twice-cooked pork (回锅肉huíguō ròu)
Ling’er Jiu 零贰玖
This Shaanxi noodle shack dishes out what are colloquially known as “crack noodles” by anyone who has ever tried a bowl of its youpo chemian. Available with or without pork, the He family’s secret recipe tosses together broad ribbons of handmade wheat noodles and an exceptional house-blend of chili sauce with a splash of vinegar and soy sauce to make a dish you’ll be obsessing about for days after. Pair it with a “double-sauced” roujiamo, one of the best renditions of the fatty pork sandwich that the city has to offer. Several branches exist, but the original noticeably eclipses the others. If you only eat noodles once in Beijing, it should be here.
Order: noodles with spicy oil (贺氏秘制油泼扯面 Hèshì mìzhì yóupō chěmiàn), double sauced pork burger (双份肉夹馍 shuāngfèn ròujiāmó).
Pingwa Sanbao 平娃三宝
From seafood to roasted lamb leg, this raucous 24-hour joint seems to serve a bit of just about everything. Focus in on the noodles dishes as the foundation to your meal then round it out with half a dozen yangrou chuanr (lamb skewers) and some grilled oysters. The signature Shanxi province hand-cut noodles are not to be missed, nor are the Qishan-style dry-mixed saozi mian, which are a beguiling blend of spicy and sour.
Order: signature hand-cut noodles (招牌刀削面 zhāopái dāoxiāomiàn); dry-mixed Qishan-style noodles (干拌臊子面 gānbàn sàozi miàn); Inner Mongolia lamb skewers (内蒙古羔羊肉串 nèiménggǔ gāoyáng ròuchuàn); grilled oysters (考生蚝 kǎoshēng háo)
Old Beijing Noodle King 老北京炸酱面大王
Zhajiang mian is the iconic old Beijing noodle dish. From low-rent versions made with instant ramen and gloopy sauce squeezed from a packet to high-end ‘molecular’ riffs, you can find variations of all sorts sprinkled all around town. Old Beijing Noodle King turns out a fine, traditional example of these ‘fried sauce noodles’. Chunky wheat noodles topped with julienned watermelon radish and cucumber, chopped scallions, beansprouts, and fresh soybeans are mixed with an intoxicatingly earthy sauce of salty fermented soybean paste and fried ground pork. The dish arrives unassembled, with small saucers for each ingredient, to be thrown together with a bang at the table.
Order: Beijing fried pork sauce noodles (炸酱面zhá jiàng miàn)
Looking for something fried or some green veggies to complement your noodle-fest? Check out Glutton Guide Beijing for unforgettably delicious destinations!