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Dan Dan noodles in DTW

goatgolfer Feb 16, 2010 02:35 PM

One of the chapters in Fuchsia Dunlop's book "Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China" is about Szechuan Dan Dan noodles. I could only find two places in the metro that served them. Mon Jin Lau and PF Chang/Pei Wei. I had lunch at Pei Wei today and if their version of Dan Dan warranted a whole chapter I think I'm tracking the wrong chinese cuisine writer (I'm reading her Hunan and Szechuan books at the moment). Noodles were tepid spaghetti-like and the spicy ground chicken sauce was mono-dimensional and just plain uninteresting. The coolest part of the whole ordeal was I got to sit at the bar and watch the cooks assemble the dishes. Their kitchen is very clean and the operators are well trained and smooth. The show was almost worth the $8. But, I guess I'll have to wait for the next SF trip for Dan Dan.

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  1. JanPrimus Feb 16, 2010 03:20 PM

    I so want you to guide me around Detroit's South East Asian world one day.....

    1. m
      moose734 Feb 16, 2010 04:38 PM

      There's nothing wrong with your choice of books, there's something wrong with your choice of restaurants. You read about actual Dan Dan noodles from Sichuan province and you thought you'd find a good version at a P.F. Chang's owned eatery ? I wouldn't be going to Chi Chi's to find a good version of a real Mole. I haven't seen the real deal on any menus so far, but if you at least want nooodles in a more authentic Sichuanese type of broth try Hidden Dragon in Ypsi or Chia Shiang in A2. Both offer Noodles in Sichuan sauc e and Hidden Dragon has a pretty tasty version with pickled vegetables to boot.

      6 Replies
      1. re: moose734
        jjspw Feb 16, 2010 05:27 PM

        moose734 is right on. Neither PF Chang's nor Mon Jin Lau has anything that will come close to the food you're looking at in your book! Another place to try for some moderately authentic Sichuan is Best China in Canton.

        Best China
        7233 N Lilley Rd
        Canton, MI 48187
        (734) 459-1688

        1. re: jjspw
          goatgolfer Feb 16, 2010 05:47 PM

          You are both right. I will keep my opinions to myself from now on until I get it right according to the blog world.

          1. re: goatgolfer
            1sweetpea Feb 17, 2010 08:45 AM

            Better suggestion: find yourself a good dan dan mian recipe and make it yourself at home. Granted, you're not going to pull your own noodles, but you can slip over the border to Windsor and find all of the ingredients, including fresh noodles, you need to make delicious Sichuan cuisine. I wish I could recommend a local restaurant that serves authentic Sichuan specialties, but the closest I've gotten to the real thing was in Toronto.

            I'm sure P.F. Chang serves lovely middle of road Chinese-American food, but for authenticity, I'd head elsewhere.

            1. re: 1sweetpea
              moose734 Feb 17, 2010 02:45 PM

              Have you tried Hidden Dragon in Ypsi ? I've had food there that I'd rank not too far behind some of the Sichuan cuisine I've had in Chicago ( Double Li, Lao Szechawn, Spring World)

        2. re: moose734
          goatgolfer Feb 17, 2010 05:44 PM

          When you were in Szechuan where did you have Dan Dan.?

          1. re: goatgolfer
            moose734 Feb 17, 2010 07:01 PM

            Lol, never been to China. I just try and seek out places that offer more authentic type Chinese cuisine ( especially Sichuan, since I'm a big fan of the flavor of the dishes. I know , liking food that literally numbs your mouth can be a bit odd but damn it's tasty)

        3. g
          goatgolfer Feb 5, 2011 12:50 PM

          Amazing this post is nearly one year old and I am still on the hunt. I approached Trizest (14 & Dequindre) on Friday (Chinese New Year) and the manager informed me dan dan mien isn't on the menu any longer because they "have" to make the sauce batch large and it doesn't always sell. So, after the soup dumpling party I am going west to Ypsi and AA as recommended for the real thing. I have collected Fuchsia Dunlop's two recipes for dan dan and gathered sichuan pepper corns from Penzey's. Updates to follow.

          P.S. The M44 Spicy Steamed Lamb at Trizest was very tasty. It takes 20 minutes to steam so plan ahead but they put sweet potatoes in at well and at $18 family style it's very spicy and tasty.

          18 Replies
          1. re: goatgolfer
            moose734 Feb 6, 2011 04:32 AM

            If you're coming to this area ( A2/Ypsi), your best bet now may be Middle Kingdom. Order the Szechaun style noodles off the Chinese menu ( the menu with the red cover). These actually come with the ground pork and greens that are lacking at the other restaurants around here.

            Middle Kingdom
            332 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

            1. re: moose734
              VTB Feb 6, 2011 05:11 AM

              I second Middle Kingdom. But, you have to know what you want and find a way to communicate it--during the times I've visited, there usually has been a chef from Sichuan in the kitchen. Oh, and one needs to be tolerant of crowds and immodest prices.

              Middle Kingdom
              332 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

            2. re: goatgolfer
              donbui82 Feb 6, 2011 05:19 AM

              maybe we can have Trizest do a full-n Sichuan party for us? Stuff they wouldn't normally cook, but in large numbers?


              1. re: donbui82
                VTB Feb 6, 2011 11:14 AM

                Can you shoot me an email at xznwzl@yahoo.com regarding the above good idea?
                PS-- Are you "in" to the Google Detroit Chow group, set up by jjspw, related to this CH board?
                Regards, VTB

                1. re: VTB
                  goatgolfer Feb 6, 2011 01:00 PM

                  So, I spoke to the Manager @ Trizest on Friday 2/4/11 about "whether a table of 10" would entice the cook to make the dan dan sauce necessary for the dish. She said that not even the owner of the restaurant could MAKE the cook do that but a reservation of a table of 10 would have strong impact. Since I am leading the soup dumpling parade on google detroit chow I will be a happy participant in either a Sterling Heights or A2/Ypsi push for dan dan.

                  1. re: goatgolfer
                    scoopG Feb 6, 2011 01:43 PM

                    These guys? http://www.usbgfood.com/menu.asp

                    Yelp reviews indicate the Sterling, MI location has Dan Dan Noodles. It is a bit odd that a restaurant group that advertises itself as serving Sichuan food in Michigan would not have it on the menu. It is not a complicated sauce to make!

                    1. re: scoopG
                      rcloud Feb 6, 2011 02:41 PM

                      Unfortunately, they do not have it on the menu. The yelp review that you read mistakenly identified the sichuan cold noodles as dan dan mian.

                      Even stranger than them not having dan dan mian, is that they serve a korean variation of zha jiang mian. However, in my opinion both of these oddities can be overlooked thanks to the rest of their menu :)

                      1. re: rcloud
                        scoopG Feb 6, 2011 04:21 PM

                        I can only guess that these Chinese folks running the show are not from Sichuan at all. Nor are the chefs/cooks. Sigh....

                  2. re: VTB
                    goatgolfer Mar 29, 2011 05:45 PM

                    Dan Dan ressurection.

                    1. re: goatgolfer
                      VTB Mar 29, 2011 07:55 PM

                      Will do G.G.. I'll try to reach Chef Wong, by week's end. Hopefully he'll still be "game."
                      Cheers, VTB

                      1. re: goatgolfer
                        VTB Apr 15, 2011 09:20 AM

                        Hi G.G., Sorry I've been preoccupied with a home sale and purchase. Anyway, while I haven't yet been able to talk Chef Wong into a demonstration of hand-pulling noodles, he is very ready and willing to host another dinner for C.H.ers, this time with a theme of noodles (including, of course, Sichuanese dan dan noodles). I'll start a Google group topic so that we can set a date/budget/menu ---maybe the Saturday night before Mother's Day??

                        1. re: VTB
                          goatgolfer Apr 15, 2011 11:00 AM

                          Groovy. A sampling sounds very interesting. 7 May I am in. See you on Detroit Chow

                          1. re: goatgolfer
                            JanPrimus Apr 15, 2011 04:10 PM


                          2. re: VTB
                            VTB Apr 15, 2011 04:30 PM

                            PS-- here is the link to the google forum:

                            PPS-- rather than having a noodle theme, involving dan dan noodles, perhaps we should have a Sichuanese theme involving dan dan noodles??

                            1. re: VTB
                              JanPrimus Apr 15, 2011 04:51 PM

                              I hate to say +1 again....but I am fully down with that.

                              I am formally requesting 回锅肉...

                              1. re: JanPrimus
                                VTB Apr 15, 2011 05:18 PM

                                ummm, you're either requesting Twice Cooked Pork or you're requesting two hot....well, I better not say....

                                1. re: VTB
                                  JanPrimus Apr 16, 2011 06:12 AM

                                  Maybe Both....I am not sure what the second option is yet.

                    2. re: goatgolfer
                      scoopG Feb 6, 2011 05:34 AM

                      I even have trouble finding a great bowl of Dan Dan Noodles in NYC's Sichuan houses! I agree with 1sweetpea. Start making Dunlop's recipe and you will see....

                    3. d
                      donbui82 Feb 6, 2011 05:18 AM

                      I'm going to second Best China in Canton. Try their Jia Jia Mieng noodles. Its going to be the closest to real Dan Dan Noodles (I have no idea why they insist upon repeating themselves), but its tastiness is guaranteed. Its really, really good.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: donbui82
                        moose734 Feb 6, 2011 09:55 AM

                        I love their noodles, but it's not really that similar to Dan Dan mein. You did remind me though that I need to make a return trip there soon.

                      2. JanPrimus Apr 16, 2011 06:21 AM


                        1. g
                          goatgolfer May 1, 2011 01:13 PM

                          Dan dan noodles on FoodNetwork show Meat and Potatoes - Meat with Heat episode. Tivo caught it on Sat 4/30 at 11pm. Also, the Sichuan lamb prep was very interesting.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: goatgolfer
                            VTB May 5, 2011 08:12 AM

                            fyi--google meeting page updated for this weekend's DanDan noodle event :-)

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