Dàn dàn miàn (担担面; “peddler’s noodles”) are boiled noodles with a spicy sesame/peanut sauce poured over them. The story goes that lunch peddler’s would carry a dàn dàn—a shoulder pole with a bucket on either end—with the cooked noodles in one bucket and the spicy sauce in the other. When you bought your lunch you were expected to provide your own bowl and the seller would put in some noodles and splash some of the sauce over them.
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I pack lunches for Jan and Eilene, so I am often end up making lunch just for myself. Usually this will be some variation of last night’s leftovers. Today’s leftover ingredient is one serving of cold pan fried noodles. Plain noodles beg to be topped with something.
Eilene is at a party on a Saturday night and that means that Jan and I can have an ingredient that she doesn’t like, mushrooms. Chicken and mushrooms, a Chinese restaurant standard, came to mind. To go with this main dish, I chose Chinese broccoli as the vegetable, but what was to be my starch? The standard Chinese accompaniment to these dishes would be steamed white rice. However, Jan loves pan fried noodles, so that is where I went. Form a mundane Saturday night meal this had turned into restaurant quality fare.