Tian Tian Chao Mian (Everyday Fried Noodles)

Master this technique for a layered, salty-sweet, northern Chinese staple.

  • Serves

    serves 2-4

  • Cook

    15 minutes


By Lillian Chou

Published on February 3, 2011

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.


  • 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


Step 1

In a small bowl, toss the cucumbers and a pinch of salt together; let sit for 5 minutes.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 4

Add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, bean sprouts, and cooked vegetables to the wok. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 30 seconds.

Step 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.

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