Food writer Lillian Chou shared this carefully layered salty-sweet stir-fry from her friend Sun Guoying, who introduces dry and wet ingredients to the wok in a strictly prescribed order. Dark soy sauce and rice cooking wine—two staples of Chinese stir-frying—are added and boiled along with sugar to create the noodles’ concentrated sauce, which beautifully clings to the rice noodles and fresh, salted cucumber.

Everyday Fried Noodles (Tian Tian Chao Mian) Tian Tian Chao Mian (Everyday Fried Noodles)
The silken noodles in this northern Chinese stir-fry are a perfect foil for crunchy fresh vegetables; a little ground pork gives the dish a savory depth. Step-by-step photo gallery on how to make everyday fried noodles.
Yield: serves 2-4
Time: 15 minutes


  • ½ small seedless cucumber, peeled and julienned
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ lb. ground pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One 1-in. piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp. rice cooking wine
  • 1½ tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 6 oz. dried flat noodles, boiled and rinsed under cold water
  • 1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil


  1. In a small bowl, toss the cucumbers and a pinch of salt together; let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a large wok or stainless-steel skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Add the carrots and onions and cook, stirring continuously, until softened, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
  3. Return the wok to high heat and add the remaining oil. Add the pork, garlic, ginger, and half of the scallions; cook, using a spatula to break the pork into small pieces, until the meat is browned, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, bean sprouts, and cooked vegetables to the wok. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the salted cucumbers, remaining scallions, noodles, and sesame oil to the wok; cook, tossing, until hot, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt, transfer to a wide bowl, and serve warm.