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Jan 28, 2012 07:08 AM

Dan Dan Noodles?

Any suggestions for especially good dan dan noodles or zha jiang mian (if they are not the same, they are close--anyone know the exact difference?).

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  1. zha jiang mian is a brown bean sauce dan dan noodles are sichuan ma la and the noodles arent the same they are really completely different dishes

    1. For Dan Dan noodles, do you prefer more of a sesame or peanut taste or more of a Sichuan peppercorn taste?

      I like the ones at Legend a lot, they cut the noodles pretty short so the sauce is more evenly distributed. The ones at Grand Sichuan St Marks are good too but a bit more peanut-y.

      Grand Sichuan
      23 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

      88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      5 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Even though I have been eating Chinese food about 3 times a week for the past 30 years, I never remember ordering either noodle--that is the reason for my confusion AubWah! Which is the one that has meat in the sauce? I ate zha jiang mian in Beijing, and it did--but I didn't order it. We have out of town guests specifically asking for "those Chinese noodles with meat sauce", the ones "we used to get at Ollies" (hardly a recommendation!). Actually I was thinking about hand pulled noodles at the Lan Zhou place--but they need a more upscale environment.
        So, AubWah, is Zhajiang mian a Northern dish, and Dan Dan noodles a Sichuan one?
        And Kathryn---I am surprised that there was a pronounced sesame (or peanut) taste. That sounds like Zhi ma mian, sesame noodles--I never saw those with meat.
        At Ollies the meat sauce noodles are called Dan Dan Noodles--but that doesn't mean anything.

        411 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

        1. re: swannee

          Dan dan with sesame/peanut (and meat) is considered Taiwanese or Americanized-Chinese style. Ollie's is pretty Americanized IIRC so that's where the confusion may have arisen.

        2. re: kathryn

          Sichuan Pavilion in Rockville has a "Dan Dan" Spicy Noodles we had last night. Now, my wife has gone nuts over the typical peanut butter sweet style of Dan Dans that you will find at many places. I just don't care for them. But last night, the SP type were served with some meat and a red pepper sauce on them that gave me a nice warm buzz. The noodles are almost naked when they show up, and you have to stir the mess up to get a nice coating. I'm not sure how they have the same name, anyone expecting that sweet "jiffy" coated stick to the roof of yea' mouth dish would indeed be surprised. I was delighted.

          1. re: Smokeater55

            Sounds like you don't like the Taiwanese/American Chinese style with sesame/peanut and prefer the traditional style with lots of Sichuan peppercorn (ma la). The tingling and buzzing sensation is due to the Sichuan peppercorn.

          2. re: kathryn

            I agree about Legend - the dan dan noodles there are very good. I also like the version served at Lan Sheng.

            It's been a couple of years now but I really liked the ones served at Grand Sichuan Eastern on 2nd Ave. and 55th.

            Grand Sichuan
            1049 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

            Lan Sheng
            60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

            88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

          3. totally different. dan dan is sichuan style, whereas zha jiang mian is korean influenced, i believe. Grand Sichuan has a good rendition of Dan Dan. for zha jiang mian, try K Town. there's a crappy place on 35th bet. 5th & 6th just east of the hotel. i forget the name, but they're my favorite. awesome fried dumplings, too.

            i guess it's Hyo Dong Gak.

            Hyo Dong Gak
            51 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

            11 Replies
            1. re: coasts

              Zha Jiang Mian actually is not Korean influenced. It's a Chinese dish. The Koreans adopted it and turned it into a Korean dish. Just like how ramen is a Chinese dish, but got adopted by the Japanese.

              1. re: Cheeryvisage

                Zha Jiang Mian is presumably Northern Chinese, so the influence on Korean is strong--and Dong Bei places they always serve something remarkably similar to Kimchee.
                I haven't been to Ollie's in about 15 years--but my friends consider it the best (!!??) Chinese (?) food they have eaten.
                I like the sesame noodles I ate often in Taiwan, spicy, with a clean, ma la taste and no hint of peanut butter. I really can't stand the "americanized" version.
                Looking at Chinese language menus, I have found a couple of places that serve both Dan Dan Noodles and Zha Jiang Mian--would I expect to find meat in both?
                So is the consensus Legend?

                1. re: swannee

                  Dan Dan Noodles always has ground pork and Zhajiangmian usually does as well, but I've been served meatless versions of Zhajiangmian - see photo below.

                    1. re: AubWah

                      The Dan Dan Noodles at Wa Jeal are very good.

                      Wa Jeal
                      1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                      1. re: hungryinmanhattan

                        I agree w hungryinmanhattan-love the Dan Dan at Wa Jeal!!!

                    2. re: swannee

                      In the U.S., zhang jiang mian is a typically Korean-Chinese dish, prepared differently from the Beijing style Chinese version. I've never actually had the Beijing style, though a small number of restaurants in the US apparently serve it.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        There are a few Chinese restaurants in NYC that serve it. Both branches of Henan Fengwei (Manhattan & Flushing) have it ( Also a stall in Savor Fusion, the Flushing food court serves it, possibly the Tianjin stall, can't remember.

                        He Nan Flavor
                        68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

                    3. re: Cheeryvisage

                      To Cheeryvisage,
                      But no one in Korea thinks of Jja ja myun as a Korean dish. It's always found in Chinese restaurants in Korea. originally, either the Chinese Koreans or Chinese people themselves brought it to Korea and created their own versions which is now known as Jja jang myun in Korea.

                      1. re: Monica

                        I guess I used the term "Korean dish" loosely. What I meant was that the dish is now quite common in Korea and appear on NYC Korean restaurant menus, similar to how Chinese ramen is also commonly found in Japanese restaurants (to the point that it's considered a Japanese dish by most Westerners).

                        My point was that just because the dish is found in a lot of Korean restaurants does not make it "Korean-influenced", it is originally a Chinese dish.

                        1. re: Cheeryvisage

                          Yes, the best jja jang myung places are owned by Chinese people even in Korea...and I believe Hyo dong kak is owned by Chinese people from Korea as well. and jja jang myung has been very popular in Korea as long as I can remember. Yes, some Korean restaurants do have it on their menu under Chinese food section along with other popular Chinese influenced dishes.
                          I do know that ramen is originated from China just as pasta is originally from China.

                  1. If you go to Chinatown, most places will have zha jiang main, especially the Shanghai places. (Since Shanghai has exploded in popularity within the main parts of Manhattan Chinatown.) As mentioned, it's pretty much some kind of meat (usually pork) and bean sauce noodle, so there are tons of variations, whether it's authentic or not is another matter. Though places that serve dumplings will get closer to authentic, and northern style dumplings will be even more so. In Flushing Chinatown, there's more northern style Chinese places.

                    Dan Dan is pretty much only the Sichuan joints.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: villainx

                      Zhajiangmian is originally a Beijing dish. In Beijing it is sometimes referred to as Beijing Noodles. 456 ($3.95) has it but Shanghai Deluxe Cafe does not.

                      1. re: scoopG

                        I'm guessing it's under spicy minced meat noodles, at Shanghai Deluxe. Maybe. Or that's how it's commonly referred to.

                        Shanghai Cafe
                        100 Mott St, New York, NY 10013