Simple, Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles


Today, we’re going to share a dish that we’ve been making for as long as we can remember. It’s just about as simple as it gets, with only a small handful of ingredients involved and no special skills beyond boiling a pot of water and heating up a pan.

You can find the noodles and the special sauce (to be discussed in a moment) at any Chinese grocery store.

So let’s get started, shall we?

First you’ve got your noodles. You’ll need a particular kind of noodle for this dish. The “Hong Kong Style Pan-fried Noodle,” to be exact. Not to be confused with “won ton noodles,” which can look a little similar. Apologies for the glare in the picture there. It was the lunchtime light coming through the window.


And here are the ingredients that will make the sauce: A trifecta of hot sauce, sesame oil, and soy.


We used to make this dish with a simple chili garlic sauce (kind of like Sriracha, but with a chunkier consistency). But then…we found THIS:


It’s probably the best sauce ever conceived by man. Uh…woman. Uh……….man?

It’s called “Lao Gan Ma,” which means “Godmother.” We didn’t realize that at first, so we always just called it “the sauce with the lady on it,” which then got shortened to, “Lady Sauce.” You can see her in the picture…gazing sternly off the label.

One day, however, we had friends over for a dinner party, and someone mentioned, “Hey, I found this great sauce over at the Chinese supermarket. But I have no idea what it’s called.”

“Did it have a picture of a lady on it?” we asked.

“No, no. It’s a picture of a man.”

Cue…like, 10 minutes of speculation in which we go over every possible hot sauce brand and ingredient we can think of until one of us has the sense to pull out a bottle of Lady Sauce and brandish it in our guest’s face.

“Is this it?!”

“YES! That’s the MAN!”

“Dude…that’s a woman.”

Laughter ensued.

So the godmother has lost touch a bit with her soft, girlish side. But hey, what she doesn’t know about feminine, face-framing haircut options, she makes up for in her knowledge of sauce making.


It’s a spicy mix of dry roasted chili peppers and fermented black soybeans that is just…uncommonly good. We put it on everything from noodles, to dumplings, in soups. The list goes on. But we use it most often for this dish. You can find it online at places like Amazon, but it’s a lot cheaper at your local Chinese grocery, if you have one in your area.

Try it.

So you’ll want to put a pot of water on to boil. We’re using our handy wok burner and wok, cause it boils in under five minutes flat. Which is cause for celebration when you can’t wait to stuff your face with these noodles.


When it’s boiling, drop in the noodles and boil them for just ONE minute. No longer! Or you won’t get the crispy texture you’re looking for in the next step.


After your minute has elapsed, go ahead and drain them in a colander. (Excuse the mess in the sink. We were heating up chili. And…peeling carrots.)


Heat up a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Drop in a handful of your noodles and spread them out in an even layer.

Then just let ‘em do their thing.


Take a peek every so often to see if they’ve turned golden (and maybe use a pair of chopsticks that actually matches).


When they’re crispy and golden, flip them over all at once with one of them fancy restaurant-chef flipping motions. Or, if you have coordination issues/aren’t yet confident with your flipping skills, a spatula or a pair of chopsticks should do the job nicely.


Once their golden on both sides, slide them onto a plate. Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of soy, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and some of that Lady Sauce.


Stir it all up and dig in.

It’s super easy to make, and if you don’t find yourself in proximity of a Chinese grocery too often, stock up on the noodles! You can throw them in the freezer for later.






1 package Hong Kong Style Pan-Fried Noodles
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Lao Gan Ma spicy black bean sauce
Vegetable oil, for cooking

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and boil for one minute. Drain.

Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Take about a quarter of the noodles and spread them evenly in the pan.

Let them cook until golden brown on both sides. Slide onto a serving plate and toss with about two teaspoons of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and some hot sauce.



  1. Barry says

    I LOL when I read your comments about Lao Gan Ma because the exact same thing happened to me about a year ago!

    My wife and I were in Los Angeles, having dinner over a friend’s house, and she brought out this wonderful ‘Chili in oil’ jar. We didn’t really study the picture on the jar that much at the time but when we returned to San Francisco I went to the Asian market we go to and bought a couple of jars.

    When we opened up the first jar, probably that night, my wife and I looked closely at the picture and spent the entire meal trying to figure out if it was a man or a woman! If only we had been able to read Mandarin!

    You are right. This is truly great stuff that sits apart from others.

  2. William D says

    This is great, I even like to make them plain and put vegetables and sauce on them like Chow Mein.

  3. Sara says

    I just found your blog and I must say, not only do your dishes look amazing, BUT…you guys are seriously funny! If I get as much pleasure from eating your recipes as I do reading the instructions I’ll certainly be in foodie heaven. I love learning about the sauces available in the Asian markets. I travel to Portland often to visit my friend and thankfully she lives down the street from a wonderful Asian market. Every visit I stop in to replenish my sauces and look for new ones. I also purchase my noodles there. Thank you for sharing your amazing food and PLEASE don’t change the humor…it’s wonderful!

    • says

      Hi Sara,

      Whoops, looks like we missed your comment back in March–sorry about that! We definitely do the same thing with sauces, if it looks good, who really cares what’s in it–it goes into the shopping cart!

      And thank you for commenting about the humor! We do try :)

      See you around!

  4. Val Dunn says

    Love your website…so funny, interesting and full of delicious looking recipes. Love the photos and step by step process!

  5. Alyce says

    I love your site – and am delighted to have been introduced to Lady Sauce. I combined the sauce from this recipe with the technique from your Cantonese Soy Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles (substituting slivered red chiles, carrots, and bamboo shoots for the bean sprouts), and had one of the best quick meals EVER! Definitely a keeper, thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  6. Katherine says

    Greetings from Canada. (: absolutely LOVE your blog! I had no idea what to make with the main dish tonight, & I came upon this amazing recipe. My husband is LOVING these noodles!

  7. Michelle Anders says

    Greetings from beautiful Cape Town, South Africa! Found you via a web search for, would you believe it, red cooked pork. Enjoyed reading your articles and recipes, super photos.

    • Sarah says

      Wow, Michelle! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. We LOVE hearing from our readers, and it’s so amazing that you’re coming at us all the way from South Africa. I’ve always wanted to travel there. Let us know how the recipes work out. : )

  8. says

    Are the Hong Kong Style Pan-fried Noodle a dry noodle or a soft/refrigerated noodle? Just trying to figure out where they will be in our big (and confusing) Chinese grocery in Cleveland. The discussion about the “Lady Sauce” was so funny! Been there done that! I really love your blog!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Annie,

      We’re so glad you enjoy the blog. To answer your questions, the pan-fried noodles can be bought either fresh, as you see in this post, or dried (you can find a picture featured in this post for “Soy Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles“). There’s not much difference between the two, other than that the fresh noodles have to be boiled for less time before pan-frying. The flavor and texture is ever-so-slightly different. If you’re getting the dried kind, just make sure you don’t get the “Shrimp Flavored” ones…which are slightly gnarly in my opinion. Hope that answers your question! Let us know how it works out. : )

    • Sarah says

      Thanks so much Patricia! That means a lot. We just started it a couple months ago, and we were starting to wonder if anyone was actually reading it!

      • says

        Sarah, I’m just letting you know i am reading it too :-). I have despaired of finding any good Yaki Soba or other fried noodles in this town. I am pretty sure that I cannot cook anything well, but I am desperate so I gotta try this. It seems simple enough that even I can do it. I’ll let you know how it goes if I don’t burn down the kitchen. Wish me luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *