Chao Niangao (Stir-Fried Rice Cakes)

Delightfully chewy rice cakes are enhanced with savory doubanjiang and snappy bamboo shoots in this riff on the Shanghai classic.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    15 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on January 25, 2024

Rice cakes may be a year-round staple across Asia, but they’re especially popular when Lunar New Year rolls around. In many cultures, rice cakes are symbolic of an auspicious new year, so all shapes and sizes show up on holiday feast tables. This chao niangao recipe, which translates as stir-fried rice cakes, is a Shanghai-style dish—though this version amps up the savoriness with the addition of doubanjiang, a Chinese fermented soybean paste. 

This recipe first appeared in our Jan/Feb 2014 SAVEUR 100 print issue.

Order the SAVEUR Selects Nitri-Black Carbon Steel 14-Inch Wok here.


  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • One 2-in. piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 oz. oval-shaped packaged rice cakes (not dried)
  • 1 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots
  • ½ head Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. doubanjiang (fermented soybean paste)
  • 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil


Step 1

To a large wok set over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice cakes, bamboo, and cabbage and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is wilted, 4–5 minutes. Stir in the light soy sauce, doubanjiang, dark soy sauce, and sugar, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 2–3 minutes. Stir in the spinach, bean sprouts, and sesame oil and continue stir-frying until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to serving bowls and serve warm.

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