A comprehensive guide to noodles in Beijing

Oodles and oodles of noodles!

Dan dan mian 担担面
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Dan dan mian 担担面

A fiery favourite from Sichuan, this blissfully simple noodle is more a side dish or rice replacement than a meal, but no less worthy. Thin, hand-pulled noodles are laid in a shallow pool of chilli and Sichuan peppercorn oil, giving each bite a pleasant warmth and numbing aftershock. A sprinkling of peanuts and fermented chilli paste doesn’t go amiss, but simplicity reigns supreme with dan dan. Try 'em at: Transit Modern Sichuan Cuisine, Taikoo Li North, Sanlitun. 35RMB

Daoxiao mian 刀削面
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Daoxiao mian 刀削面

Hailing from Shanxi, 'knife-cut' noodles are fast, easy to prepare and well suited to getting the most out of piping bowls of beef or mutton broth. Shaved from a block of wheaten dough straight into the boiling water, these chewy ribbons retain their jagged edges and sop up maximum broth and spicy chilli oil. Try 'em at: Tak Yong Chinese Cuisine, 1 Guanghua Lu. 28RMB.

La mian 拉面
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La mian 拉面

These thin, Lanzhou-style pulled noodles are served up on just about every street in the capital. No pork here folks: a speciality of the Muslim Hui minority, Lanzhou lamian is served in fragrantly spiced beef broth roughly the temperature of the surface of the sun, with plenty of fresh coriander, scallions and sliced radish. Try 'em at: Lanzhou Niurou La Mian, 145 Dongsi Bei Dajie. 13RMB.

Biang biang mian
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Biang biang mian

Famous for sporting the character with the most strokes in all of the Chinese language (that's too complicated to be even be written with a computer!), these mammoth belts of wheat hail from Shaanxi and their epic proportions will lay you flat out with a noodle coma if you’re not adequately prepared. A single, contiguous belt of chewy noodle is topped with braised pork, chilli and diced root vegetables. Try 'em at: Sha’an Mian Wang, 26 Chaowai Dajie. 18RMB.

Mixian 米线
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Mixian 米线

Not strictly speaking mian, rice-flour noodles hailing from Guilin are ideal for boiling in a hot casserole of Crossing the Bridge noodles, guoqiao mixian. Served in a ceramic cauldron, broths are customised depending on the proteins and veggies, which make mixian not only perfect for the cold winter months but also for picky eaters. Try 'em at: Chahua Weizi, 109 Diwai Dajie. 24RMB.

Youpo mian 油泼面
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Youpo mian 油泼面

These hand-pulled belt noodles from Shaanxi are flat-out addictive. A slightly less waistline-compromising cousin of biang biang mian, youpo mian is a no less satisfying demonstration of the visceral power of well placed chilli oil and carbohydrates. Braised pork and some diced veggies add colour and roughage, but the main event remains the savoury oil-coated noodles. Try 'em at: Ling Er Jiu, 1 Xingfuncun Zhong Lu. 25RMB.

Zhajiang mian 炸酱面
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Zhajiang mian 炸酱面

These ‘fried sauce’ noodles are Beijing AF. Cooked, hand-rolled shougan noodles are topped with a thick and intensely savoury sauce made from fermented soy paste and served with slivers of cucumber, radish and celery. Mixed and loosened with a dash of aged vinegar, it’s a hearty staple that’s been a local favourite for centuries. Try 'em at: Lao Beijing Zhajiang Mian Da Wang, 56 Dong Xinglong Jie. 16RMB.

Regan mian 热干面
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Regan mian 热干面

A popular import from nearby Wuhan in Hubei province, ‘hot-dry’ noodles are traditionally a breakfast staple that has become a go-to in Beijing for cheap and flavoursome eats. Still-steaming wheaten egg noodles are topped with a mixture of diced stewed pork or beef and a spoonful of diced root vegetables and beans. Try 'em at: Morning, 10 Chunxiu Lu. 25RMB.

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