Biang biang noodle is a famous hand-pulled noodle dish from Xi'an, China. This noodle dish features wide hand-pulled noodles, topped with a garlic chili oil and Chinese black vinegar based sauce. It's fragrant, garlicky, spicy, numbing, savory, and tangy. All the amazing flavors in one!
One of the easiest hand-pulled noodles to make is probably biang biang noodles. These noodles can be as pulled into ribbon or belt size width and topped with a garlic chili oil, tossed with a black vinegar based sauce. It's seriously so good and additive!
It might sound intimidating, but all you need is a couple round of practice! Then, you'll be showing off your noodle pulling skills to your friends and family in no time!
If you enjoyed this biang biang noodles recipe, you may also like our mapo tofu, jajangmyeon (Korean black bean noodles), and japchae (Korean glass noodle stir fry). For a similar but super simple alternative, you can try our kimchi chili oil ramen.
What is biang biang noodle?
Biang biang noodles is a famous Chinese noodle dish from Xi'an of Shaanxi Province. The noodle is a wheat flour based hand-pulled noodle, seasoned with a Chinese black vinegar base sauce and topped with garlic chili oil. This is why biang biang noodles are also called yóu pō chě miàn (油泼扯面), meaning a hand-pulled noodle dish that gets hot oil poured over.
But the most interesting fact, is that biang biang noodles got its name form the *biang* *biang* sound it makes when the noodles are being pulled!
What does biang biang noodle taste like?
Biang biang noodle is topped with a garlic chili oil that's super fragrant, garlicky, and balanced between spicy and numbing. The noodles are also seasoned with a black vinegar sauce base, which gives the noodles a savory and tangy flavor. The best of all flavors combined!
Also, because fresh hand-pulled noodles are made for this Xi'an noodle dish, it gives biang biang noodles a beautiful bouncy and chewy texture that's hard to replace with packaged dry noodles.
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
For the homemade noodles:
- All-purpose flour - Just regular all-purpose (A/P) flour is perfect for making the noodles. Do note that different brands of A/P flour may require different amounts of water. We used Central Milling's Organic All-Purpose Flour.
- Water - Room temperature water is perfect. The amount of water needed is usually a 2 to 1 ratio, flour to water, by weight.
- Salt - Either coarse salt like kosher salt or fine salt are both fine. It's for seasoning the dough.
For the black vinegar sauce base:
- Chinese black vinegar - Also known as Chinkiang vinegar or Zhenjiang vinegar. It's dark in color, fragrant, tangy but much milder than white vinegar. It's also complex in flavor with a hint of sweetness.
- Soy sauce - Both regular or light sodium soy sauce works. We usually use Kikkoman's low sodium soy sauce.
- Sugar - Just a touch to round out the flavor.
Toppings and remaining ingredients for the biang biang noodles:
- Chinese dry chili pepper powder - This is what makes the noodle dish spicy. We highly recommend using powdered dry chili pepper for the best mouthfeel. But you can also blend up some whole Chinese dry chili pepper yourself.
- Sichuan peppercorn - You can adjust the amount depending on how much numbing effect you like. Do make sure to grind the Sichuan peppercorns!
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a must. Just mince it up or use a garlic press.
- Green onion - We highly recommend green onions, but it's optional. It'll definitely make the noodles more fragrant.
- Cilantro (optional) - If you like cilantro, chop some and add it with the green onions.
- Oil - Any neutral oil will do. It'll be heated up and poured over the toppings to make a chili oil.
- Baby bok choy (optional veggie)
How to make biang biang noodles from scratch
For the homemade noodles:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Drizzle in the water while stirring, then knead the dough until comes together and no more dry flour is left in the bowl. Cover and rest the dough for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. After resting, knead the dough until smooth. Then, roll the dough into a log and cut into 6 equal pieces. Keep the dough covered at all time while working.
3. Working with one piece of dough at a time, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an ⅛ inch thick oval-ish slab, about 3 to 4 inches wide and 7 to 8 inches long. Coat the dough with oil all over and place onto a plate or small sheet pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
🌟Pro tip: If the dough is a little too stiff to work with, cover and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes to relax the gluten, then try again. Also, make sure that the rolled out doughs are well coated with oil on both sides and edges! That'll prevent the dough from oxidizing and turning grey. Also, oxidation will cause the wheat bran to turn black and the dough will look speckled.
4. Once all the dough have been rolled out and oiled, cover the dough with plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap is touching the dough to prevent the most oxidation. Let the dough rest for at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight, in the fridge.
How to pull the noodles:
5. Once the dough for the noodles have rested and is ready for pulling, set up the hand-pulled noodle station. You'll need either a silicone pastry mat or a clean, non-porous work surface and a chopstick (or something straight like a chopstick). Also, prepare a pot of boiling water.
6. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place a slab of dough horizontally on your work surface. Place the chopstick at the center, parallel to the dough, and press down firmly to make an indentation all the way across. This is to help you tear the noodles later.
7. Peel the dough off the work surface and hold each end of the dough in your hands. Hold on to the ends of the dough with your thumbs and palms. With one fluid motion, pull the dough in opposite directions until you feel resistant. Then, using a bouncing motion, slap the dough onto the work surface while stretching at the same time, until it's arm's length. Try to aim for noodles no thicker than 1 to 2 millimeters.
🌟Pro tip: Try your best to not let the dough tear, but if it does, it's okay. It is more likely to tear at the ends, where you're holding it. If you have sections that are not thin enough, you can hold just that section of the dough and gently stretch and bounce it. If needed, you can also let the dough rest for 5 minutes before attempting. Do try to keep the dough flat and don't overlap if possible.
8. Starting from the middle of the dough, tear a small hole where the indentation is. Then using one swift motion, tear the dough in half along the entire indentation. If you want a continuous looped, noodle, don't tear it all the way. Otherwise, you can split the noodle to make one super long noodle or two shorter strands. Set the pulled noodle aside and repeat with a second slab of dough.
Cook the hand-pulled noodles:
9. Once the second dough is complete, drop both strands of noodles into the pot of boiling water. You can also add the baby bok choy to cook with the noodles. Cook the noodles for about 45 to 90 seconds, or until the center is no longer opaque if you cut one open. The cook time will depend on the thickness of the noodles. Strain the noodles and bok choy. If you prefer your bok choy softer, cook it longer.
Assemble the biang biang noodles:
Do note that the sauce base and topping quantity listed in the recipe card is for PER single serving of noodles. If you are making multiple servings, multiply accordingly.
1. In a serving bowl, mix together Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar.
2. Add the cooked and drained hand-pulled noodles and bok choy.
3. Top the the noodles with Chinese dry chili powder, Sichuan peppercorn powder, green onion (and cilantro if using), garlic, and a pinch of salt.
🌟Pro tip: Keep the toppings as close together as possible so that the hot oil can cook everything. The heat from the oil brings out the flavor, fragrance, and heat from the toppings, so it is very important!
4. Heat up 3 tablespoons of oil until just starting to smoke, then slowly and carefully pour the hot oil over the toppings.
5. Thoroughly mix up the noodles, sauce, and chili oil toppings and enjoy while hot!
- Letting the dough rest is key! Besides practicing to get your feel on how to make hand-pulled noodles, letting the dough rest to relax the gluten will help you pull the noodles easier. If you try to pull the noodles while the dough is super stiff, it will tear.
- Hold off adding more water. You may be tempted to add more water to the dough, but wait! Knead the dough for a couple of minutes first. If the dough still have a lot of dry flour, then add a tablespoon of water at a time. This dough has to be on the stiffer side in order for you to successfully pull it.
- Coat the dough with oil. Make sure to coat the dough with oil on all sides and edges. This seals the dough and prevent oxidation.
- Cook time may vary. Depending on how thick or thin your hand-pulled noodles are, you may need to adjust the cook time accordingly.
- Adjust the amount of pepper use to your preference. The spice level and numbing effect is very much customizable. So feel free to add more or use less to your preference.
Once the noodles are cooked, we recommend that you enjoy it within the hour. The hand-pulled noodles will loose it's chewy, bouncy-ness as it sits. But if you plan on storing cooked noodles, only cook it half way. Then, let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container and refrigerated up to 3 days.
You can refrigerate the rolled out and oiled dough for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 1 month. Just make sure they're well oiled, wrapped, and stored in an airtight container. Frozen dough just needs to thaw out to room temperature before use.
Already cooked and dressed biang biang noodles are best enjoyed immediately. If you do have some leftover, you can cover and microwave until heated through or stir fry it on the stovetop until hot.
To reheat par cooked hand-pulled noodles, add it to a pot of boiling water and boil the noodles until cooked through. It should need no more than 15 to 30 seconds.
Also, if you have leftover biang biang hand-pulled noodles, try it with out with some mapo tofu! Even if the noodles are overcooked, it still taste delish! Kind of like deconstructed wontons!
Because biang biang noodles are made with fresh hand-pulled noodles and since they are quite thin, it shouldn't take more than 45 to 90 seconds to cook. But the cook time will vary, depending on how thick you pulled your noodles.
If you don't have time to make your own hand-pulled noodles for biang biang noodles, you can use wide, hand-cut Chinese noodles. They can be offered dry or fresh and look like thick ribbons.
Yes! This biang biang noodles recipe is vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Hand-pulled noodle dough tends to be on the stiffer, firmer side. It's usually a 50% hydration dough. This ensure that we can pull the noodles and so that it has a bouncy, chewy texture. So it's totally normal!
Technically, yes you can make the noodle dough in a stand mixer. However, because the dough is on the drier, firm side, it can be tough on the mixer. So we like to opt for hand kneading.
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Biang Biang Noodles (from scratch)
For the homemade noodles (makes 3 servings of noodles):
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour (fluffed, spooned & leveled)
- ⅔ cups water room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt (preferably fine)
- Oil as much as needed for greasing (any neutral oil)
For each serving of biang biang noodles:
- 2 slabs homemade noodle dough (or use fresh, wide noodles)
- 1 head baby bok choy quartered (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese chili pepper flakes or chili pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn grounded (more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 2 cloves)
- 1 stalk green onion thinly sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons oil (any neutral oil)
For the homemade biang biang noodles (if making):
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour and salt. Add the water slowly while stirring. Once all of the water has been added, knead the dough until it comes together and no more dry flour is left in the bowl.
- Cover and let the dough rest for about 20 to 30 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Prepare a plate or small sheet pan and add a couple tablespoons of oil.
- After resting, knead the dough until completely smooth. Roll the dough into a log, then cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.
- Keep the dough covered and work with 1 piece of dough at a time. Using a rolling pin, roll each dough into thin oval slabs, about ⅛ inch thick and around 3 inches wide by 8 inches long. Place the rolled out dough in the prepared plate and coat with oil. Make sure to cover all the edges and sides! Repeat with remaining dough.*If the dough is hard to roll out, cover and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes to relax the gluten.*
- After all the doughs are rolled and coated with oil, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.*Make sure the plastic wrap is touching the dough to prevent oxidation and drying out!*
Assemble the biang biang noodles:
- Make the black vinegar base sauce:Prepare the base sauce for each serving of biang biang noodles. Add Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar to each bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.*The ingredient quantity listed above is for each single serving of biang biang noodles. If you're making more than one serving, multiply as needed and prepare the number of bowls accordingly.*
- Prepare noodle pulling station:When the dough is ready, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Set up the biang biang noodle pulling station. You can either work on a clean non-porous surface or on a silicon pastry mat. Also, get a chopstick or a flat edge that's about the same thickness as well.
- Pull the noodles:Once the water come to a boil, start pulling the noodles. Place a slab of the prepared dough horizontally on your work surface. Place the chopstick at the center, parallel to the dough, and press firmly to create an indentation across the whole slab of dough. Remove the chopstick.
- Peel the dough off your work surface and gently hold each end of the dough between your palms and thumbs. Pull with one fluid motion until you start to feel resistance from the dough. Once you feel the resistance, bounce the noodles a few times on the work surface while gently pulling until about arm's length.*If there are some sections of the dough that are still thick after pulling, you can gently tug on those specific spots to thin it out a little more.*
- At the middle of the dough, where the indentation is, tear a small hole. Then, with one swift motion, tear the dough in half, along the entire indentation. Put the pulled noodle off to the side and repeat with the second slab of dough. *If you couldn't tear the entire dough in one motion, you can go back to tear the sections you missed.*
- Cook the noodles:Once both strands of noodles have been pulled, place them into the boiling water, along with the bok choy, and cook for about 45 to 90 seconds, depending on how thick the noodles are. You'll know the noodles are done, if you break off a piece and the center is no longer opaque.*Feel free to adjust the cook time on the bok choy to suit your preferred texture. You can also cook it separately if you prefer.*
- Strain the noodles and the baby bok choy and place them into the bowl with the prepared sauce base.
- Assemble the biang biang noodles:Arrange the Chinese chili flakes or powder, ground Sichuan peppercorn, garlic, green onion, and a pinch of salt on top of the biang biang noodles. Try your best to keep everything as close together, in the middle area, as possible so that it gets cooked evenly with oil.
- In a small saucepan, heat up the 3 tablespoons of oil until it starts to smoke.
- Slowly and carefully, pour the hot oil over the peppers, garlic, and green onions. Then, mix the noodles until everything is evenly combined and well coated.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Sauce base and topping quantities listed are for each single serving. If you are making multiple servings, please multiply accordingly. However, note —when using the 1X, 2X, 3X function, all of the measurements will be multiplied.
- All-purpose flour - Depending on the brand of flour you're using, you may or may not need to adjust the amount of water used. Hand-pulled-noodles are made with a stiffer dough, usually a 2 to 1 ratio, flour to water.
- Spice level - Depending on how spicy and numbing you like your noodles, you can adjust the amount of chili powder and Sichuan pepper used. The amount listed is around medium spicy.
- Resting the dough overnight. If you are resting the dough overnight, it is especially important that the doughs are well coated with oil and wrapped with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. When the dough is exposed, you'll see the wheat bran oxidize in the dough and look like black speckles.