Dan Dan Noodles, Or Dan Dan Mian (担担面), A Noodle Dish

dan dan noodles or dan dan mian  a noodle dish display image  8053dd6e

Dan dan noodles, or dan dan mian (担担面), a noodle dish from Sichuan with thin wheat noodles, fried ground pork, the lot slathered in a sesame paste with chili oil. Tbh, this is a very bastardized version I made in the depths of quarantine, using crumbled tempeh instead of pork, lacking even the mustard greens that builds flavour and is typical of a classic dan dan recipe.

In the shadow of the fallout of major Western food publications, I’ve been thinking about what it means for me as a person of Chinese heritage to cook Chinese food. Having never been to China and growing up eating chicken pot pie as much as I did rice, I can’t say I have a strong grasp of the traditions and certainly not the cooking techniques of my ancestors. But I’m also thinking about the first immigrants to Canada, the ones who were relegated to work in restaurants because racist policies barred them from most professions. The ones who, in that resilient immigrant spirit, interpreted the dishes from home the best they could with local ingredients, then adapted them to be marketable to a new audience. The book “Chop Suey Nation” from @annhuiwrites on Canadian Chinese food is a must read on this topic.

Food should always honour its roots and iterations across borders and generations. But I think food is also about resilience. And in the midst of being physically cut off from every person I knew, especially my family back in Toronto, this is a dish I made to create some sort of semblance of grounding. It reminded me of noodles I would have on a weekend afternoon with my grandpa, who loved big flavours. It is far from authentic but damn was it good, and it was my act of connecting to a home I have yet to fully understand.

Shot on iPhone ¯_(ツ)_/¯

PS for a good guide on making dan dan mian, check out the recipe from @omnivorescookbook.

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