Dan Dan Mein (Dan Dan Noodles)
Before there were “dan dan noodles” here in the U.S., there was dan dan mein, a common street noodle dish peddled from a bamboo pole (dan) in the Sichuan province of China. Original versions of the dish start with warm, long, fresh noodles piled over chile oil. Many recent takes finish the dish off with minced pork and pickled vegetables (ya cai) such as mustard greens. Depending on the cook’s taste (and, of course, the customer's), other versions include peanut oil, peanuts, peanut butter, sesame paste, dark soy sauce, black Chinese vinegar, scallions and Sichuan peppers. Some versions are even served cold. The end goal of all of them: a slurpy, delicious and fortifying bowl of noodles.