As temperatures rise, noodles turn colder. Shanghai certainly has a bunch of great liangmian, or cold noodles, but there are other regions to explore such as Shaanxi, Taiwan, Sichuan and Yunnan. In addition to wheat and rice noodles, other varieties such as buckwheat or mung bean can be used as well. Another version is banmian, which are boiled and chilled noodles served with warm sauces and toppings. Here are a few of our favorites.
Just next to Xintiandi is a small and very clean noodle shop serving bowls of the Jiangnan specialty crab noodles (RMB68). The flesh is removed from hairy crabs and mixed with some roe and a lightly savory sauce that lets the flavor of the protein shine through.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, crab is a ‘cooling’ ingredient, so make sure to add the accompanying sliced ginger in vinegar to your bowl to ensure proper balance. Plus it makes it taste better.
See listing for Xie Huang Yu.
Underappreciated by expats but always delicious Sichuan restaurant Yi Zhang Hong has added some new dishes for summer and one of those is this awesome bowl of jisi qiaomian (RMB18).
The use of buckwheat noodles provides a springy, nutty chew, which is the perfect background to the sauce that features spicy red oil, fragrant sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, ginger and the creamy combination of sesame paste with peanut butter.
See listing for Yi Zhang Hong.
This is a noodle dish popular throughout Beijing and Northern China. There are a few places to get it in Shanghai and we like the ones that they do at Han Mama.
The sauce on the zhajiang mian (RMB58) is flavored with deep brown fermented bean paste that is enriched with ground pork and garlic before being poured over chilled noodles and a generous portion of julienned cucumbers.
See listing for Han Mama.
This home-style Shaanxi noodle joint makes their own rice noodles, and their refreshing and cold liangpi noodles (RMB12) are garnished with cucumber, carrot and bean sprouts with plenty of sour vinegar sauce. It’s just the right size meal for days where the heat makes eating seem like a chore.
Mix up the noodles with either millet, black rice, or the adorably named Jambalaya noodles (the Chinese translation suggests a mix of all their noodles) and if you find the light meal sets up your appetite for more, sample one of the their famous roujiamou.
See listing for Zhu Que Men.
Yunnan is famous for mixian, a type of noodle made from non-glutinous rice and usually served fresh. In addition to these, Slurp! also makes the square er si noodle in house. They have three different cold varieties that can be paired with additional toppings.
Our favorite is a soft, silken bean curd mixian (RMB32) with bean sprouts, leek, pickles and a vinegar-based dressing. The fermented vegetables give off a ferocious funk that we could eat by the gallon. A more basic topping combination of lime, fresh chili and mixed vegetables is also quite good. We say get both.
See listing for Slurp!
Hungry for more? Take a look at our other Shanghai Dining Guides
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