One of the first things that you’ll notice when you take a slurp of biang biang noodles is how satisfyingly chewy they are compared to other types of noodles and pasta. So much so that it’s rumored that’s how these unique noodles got their name, from the wonderful chewiness that makes them so fun to eat.
History of Biang Biang Noodles
All across restaurants and food stalls in the Shaanxi province in China, listen carefully and you’ll hear rhythmic slapping echoing down the streets. This intriguing sound is that of biang biang noodles dough being stretched by hand and slapped against a table or countertop before it’s shredded by hand. It’s the slapping technique that gives biang biang noodles their signature bite and chewiness. The sound, biang biang, is a word that doesn’t actually exist in the Chinese language, so it was created just to describe the sound of this special dough bouncing on the table.
For centuries, biang biang noodles, also known as belt noodles due to their width, have been a staple dish for workers in the city of Xi’an who didn’t have enough time to make thin noodles before rushing back to work. Instead, they created these thick noodles that were deliciously chewy and had rough edges from being ripped apart by hand before being thrown into the pot. These rough edges helped to catch all the savory sauces and toppings that they’re paired with, loading them up with flavor.
While once a dish of peasants, biang biang noodles have since gone so mainstream that they’re considered to be one of the “eight strange wonders” of Shannxi province. Locals can’t get enough of these thick noodles that are bathed in hot chili oil and vinegar and piled high with savory spring onions and garlic. The noodles are quite broad, so you have to open up nice and wide to slurp them down. It’s not the most elegant of looks, but that’s just part of the fun and charm of these noodles.
Ways to Eat Biang Biang Noodles
One thing that we love about biang biang noodles is that you can dress them up however you like when it comes to toppings so you’ll never get tired of finding the perfect combination. If you can’t get enough spice, why not load up your noodles with some Classic Red Chili and Sichuan? This is one of many vegan Asian recipes, so it's perfect for anyone to try. If you lean toward sweet, top off your noodles with some Sweet Soy Sauce & Tahini. Or, to make it a complete dish, we love to pair biang biang noodles with this savory Cumin Lamb & Cilantro.
Biang biang noodles are the perfect dish for any home cook to try their hand at. Our cooking kit is one of the best gifts for new cooks since you have everything that you right at hand to get started. Most of the work comes in preparing the dough. We recommend that you prep and knead the dough the night before or the morning of so that it has plenty of time to rest.
Once the dough is ready, the fun begins! You’ll be bouncing noodles off of your countertop so they get nice and chewy before plopping them into a pot of boiling water to cook, just like the noodle makers in Xi’an do. After that, all that’s left to do is drench them in chili oil, top them to your liking, and chow down on your home-cooked biang biang noodles.
2 cups all-purpose flour (no more than 3g of protein)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water (room temp)
1/4 tsp. salt
vegetable oil, for coating the dough
Step 1- Make the Dough Ball
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add water to the mixture, 1/8 cup at a time, mixing with a fork until the water is absorbed between each addition.
Step 2 - Oil and Rest
Divide the rested dough ball into 8 equal pieces with the dough scraper.
Roll each piece by hand into an even log.
Next, flatten each piece into a rectangular shape with a rolling pin.
Coat the bottom of an airtight container with a generous amount of oil. Place each flattened piece in the oil, flipping to thoroughly coat each piece. Alternatively, you can use a plate and cover with plastic wrap, just make sure it's airtight. Cover and rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour. If you’re making this the night before, the dough can rest overnight in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Before the next step, bring your dough to room temperature if it resting in the refrigerator overnight. Start preparing your water by placing the strainer basket on the rim of a large stock pot. Fill the pot with enough water to completely submerge the strainer basket. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Choose a recipe like one of ours and prepare all your toppings now so they’re ready for the hot, fresh noodles. (The next part goes FAST).
Step 3 - Hand-Pull Fresh Biang Biang Noodles
Now you can begin to stretch your noodles. Working with one piece at a time, use the dough scraper to make a vertical indent in the center of the dough piece.
Grab the ends of the rectangle with your thumbs and forefingers. With even pressure, gently stretch the dough into a thin ribbon about shoulder-width long. At shoulder-width, you can begin to slap the noodle against the countertop as you continue to gently stretch to about 4 ft long. Pick up the noodle in the middle and rip it into two pieces down the center crease. Stretch out the ends if they’re too thick.
Continue to pull all 8 dough pieces into noodles, setting aside on your work surface as you go. Individually lower half the noodles into the strainer basket and cook for 60 seconds. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Once cooked, immediately drain the noodles and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat for the remaining noodles.
Finally, place all your prepared toppings from a recipe (meat, spices, greens, liquids, etc.) in a little pile on top of the noodles. When the oil begins to smoke, turn off the heat. Using the ladle, pour one ladleful of hot oil over the pile of aromatics to bloom their flavor. Stir to coat noodles evenly and serve immediately.