This noodle soup with pork and pickled greens (xuecai rousi mian / 雪菜肉丝面）is one of my absolute favorites. It’s an easy, satisfying comfort food meal in Chinese households everywhere, where all you need is a few items from your pantry.
My grandmother used to make this for lunch when she’d come to visit, and now it’s just one of those things where…any time I see it on a menu, I reflexively want to order it. A knee-jerk reaction. An almost mechanical impulse.
The other day, I was walking to the subway station from work–a thirty minute walk that I normally would have cabbed, but taxis were nowhere to be found. It was around 3:00 PM, I hadn’t had lunch, and the stark Beijing sun was still high in the sky, beating down on the hot concrete below my feet.
It was probably almost 100 degrees, and I was sweating in a way that was extremely cruel to both my hair and my shirt—a black shirt (thoughtlessly chosen from my closet that morning) with ironclad fibers that tragically allowed almost none of the hair-dryer-like summer breeze through.
The elastic in my hair tie had stretched to the point of inadequacy, and my ponytail kept falling out. Suffice it to say…it wasn’t a pretty sight.
I decided to stop into a mall for a very very late lunch, and walked into the first restaurant I saw. I took about ten seconds to skim the menu before ordering this–a bowl of PIPING HOT noodle soup with pork and pickled greens.
That is how much I love this pork noodle soup: I would still eat it while on the verge of heat stroke.
Note: you can find pickled mustard greens in the canned foods aisle of the Chinese grocery store.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for your noodles, and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain. In another medium pot, add your chicken stock and bring to a boil. Keep warm on the stove.
Stir-fry for a couple minutes, making sure the heat is still high. Add the sugar, give everything a final stir, and turn off the heat.
Serve your noodle soup with pork and pickled greens piping hot in a big bowl and commence slurping!
You can practically hear the clatter of that spoon in the empty bowl and the cartoon-inspired satisfied burp, can’t you?
Noodle Soup with Pork and Pickled Greens
For the pork and marinade:
- In a small bowl, combine the pork, salt, cornstarch, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, and white pepper. Set aside to marinate while preparing other ingredients.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil for your noodles, and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain. In another medium pot, add your chicken stock and bring to a boil. Keep warm on the stove.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok over high heat and brown the pork. Add the chilies and the pickled vegetables. Stir-fry for a couple minutes, making sure the heat is still high. Add the sugar, give everything a final stir, and turn off the heat.
- Lay the noodles in your serving bowls and ladle in the hot broth. Top with your pork and vegetable mixture, and top each bowl with a few drops of sesame oil and chopped scallion.
- Commence slurping!