Tan Tan Noodle Recipe

Dan dan, or tan tan noodles are one of those dishes that have evolved and changed so much from the original that each and every recipe can claim to be authentic, but none really are. Traditionally dan dan noodles are Sichuan noodle dish with spicy, red chili oil soup, ground pork, preserved vegetables and green onions. They’re hot, spicy and definitely delicious.

They’re so delicious that lots of other cultures have made their own take on dan dan noodles. One of my favourite renditions of dan dan noodles is from one of my favourite Vancouver izakayas, Kingyo. They claim to have “Famous Invincible & Undefeated Tan-Tan Noodles.” I don’t know about invincible and undefeated, but they are pretty damn good.

The Kingyo noodles are pretty fancy: noodles in pork bone and shrimp broth seasoned with sesame, miso, and cashew nuts topped with ground pork, pickles, green onions and black sesame. My home-style version is quite a bit simpler. Chicken stock, garlic, chili bean sauce, sesame paste, soy sauce and sugar are the base of my broth. Top off your favourite noodles with some pan-fried ground pork and green onions and you have a fast and tasty meal, perfect for chasing away taste bud numbing colds. If you like it spicy, feel free to add extra chilis!

Easy Japanese-Inspired Tan Tan Noodle Soup Recipe

Serves 2

Soup

4 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
2 tablespoons sesame paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Meat

1/2 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 sliced thai red chili
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

noodles of your favourite variety (I used ramen)
sliced green onions for garnish

Heat up the chicken stock and stir in the chili bean sauce, sesame paste, soy sauce, and sugar. Taste and season accordingly. If you feel you need more of one ingredient or another, feel free to add them in. Keep the soup on a low simmer while you cook the meat.

In a small wok or frying pan, heat up the teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat and add the minced garlic and shallots. Fry until fragrant, but not browned. Add the ground pork and cook until the pork is browned and there is no pink. Add the sliced chili, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Taste and season accordingly. Remove from the heat and keep warm while you cook the noodles.

Cook the noodles according to the packaging and drain. Place the noodles in a bowl and top with broth and ground pork. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!

43 Comments add yours

  1. Hi,
    When you say sesame paste, do you mean tahini? Or is this a special Asian sesame paste? Sorry for the question but I’m not really familiar with sesame paste.

    Hi Sandy,
    You can buy sesame paste at most Asian groceries. They make theirs with toasted sesame seeds whereas tahini is made with raw. I think they taste pretty different, but you can substitute it if you’re adventurous!

    steph on April 28th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Hi. I made tan tan men with tahini before. It tasted good. Anyway, Steph, your tan tan men recipe looks so good and easy indeed! Thank you! I like that you use shallots! Shallots are amazing. Shallots are recommended by many chefs. :)

    Ika on January 15th, 2012 at 3:42 am
  2. Beautiful bowl of noodles…mmm. I can eat this any time.

    It’s so simple you really can eat it anytime!

    steph on April 29th, 2010 at 10:31 am
  3. Yummy

    Thanks Andy!

    steph on April 29th, 2010 at 10:31 am
  4. Ughhh you make me hungry every day!!!

    Heehee, it’s good to be hungry, it lets you eat more!

    steph on April 29th, 2010 at 10:32 am
  5. Awesome. Such a nice and hearty noodle soup. I will add chillies to mine. I just love spice.

    Spice is nice!

    steph on April 29th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  6. I made this noodle soup tonight and used the tahin paste. I was amazing! thanks for the recipe!

    I’m so happy you liked it!

    steph on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:32 am
  7. This looks amazing- I am being warmed up just looking at it!

    Thanks so much, it’s super yummy too!

    steph on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:33 am
  8. I just had those famous and unbeatable Tan-Tan noodles on Deman.

    They _were_ pretty good. Some familiar taste that I couldn’t quite place. For some reason my mind kept screaming count chocula cereal from my youth. Except porky. And spicy. Strangely addictive.

    They are addictive, aren’t they?! I love those noodles.

    steph on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:33 am
  9. I was mesmerized by your photos. I made this tonight and it turned out beautifully. A really delicious soup. Thanks!

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the soup!

    steph on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:39 am
  10. Yum!! I’ve never heard of Tan Tan noodles before! I have some ground pork in my freezer and now I know I will use it to make this! Thanks for the lovely recipes!

    No problem! I hope the dan dan noodles work out for you!

    steph on May 14th, 2010 at 10:34 am
  11. We use to eat this soup in Okinawa and it had cheese (like Velveta) in the broth. What is “Chili Bean” sauce? Cannot wait to make it.

    Wow, I cannot imagine it with cheese!

    Chili bean sauce is also called toban djan, it’s a Sichuan-style chili sauce made from chilies and fermented broad beans. You can find it at most Asian groceries in a jar.

    for authentic sichuan flavor use Pixian Douban, made in Sichuan, often in a package labeled “green food”. I have trouble finding it in Seattle, seems like Ranch 99 is the only asian grocery I’ve found that sells what I used to buy in Chengdu.

    Heidi on January 4th, 2012 at 12:03 pm
    steph on June 7th, 2010 at 2:42 pm
  12. Excellent receipe.
    We had to use tahini as we could not find the roasted sesame paste, but we doubled it and it tasted great. We have a noodle shop in town the makes Tan Tan and this receipe tastes the same.
    Thank you so much for sharing this excellent receipe, we added bamboo shoots and bean sprouts for some crunch

  13. Excellent, excellent, excellent! I was craving some Tan Tan noddles that I used to eat at a little restaurant in Okinawa – finally found this recipe and it is exactly what I was looking for! I had to use a beef paste instead of sesame paste because I couldn’t find it out here in NC, but it still tastes awesome. The Chili bean sauce I use is the Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce – very good. Also, my husband and I prefer beef over pork. overall, very good recipe. Thank you!

  14. Wow. Luvverly. Thank you!

  15. I recently moved from NYC to upstate NY and was hit w/ a craving for Tan Tan, which I couldn’t find anywhere. I found this recipe, cooked it up and nailed it. Thank you!

  16. Fantastic recipe. Just like you get ramen in Japan. Maximum taste for minimum effort. I have used pork, lamb and beef mince all work fine. I also top with spicy king prawn cooked in chilli oil, paprika, ginger paste and garlic paste. I gladly recommend this recipe to family and friends, give it a try!

  17. I was recently in NYC and had this soup. The owner mentioned that they use pork bone broth? Can I use this instead of chicken stock?

  18. The staff cafeteria in Tokyo Opera City Tower(where I worked for several years) used to serve a monster bowl of red-hot Dandanmen for about 700yen. I had it for lunch about 3 times a week. This recipe (if you substitute ground beef with ginger/chili/garlic paste mixed in when you stir-fry it) nails the taste. I may have this 3 times a week too.

  19. The absolutely most scrumptious rendition of Tan Tan is at Goma Tei in Ward Warehouse in Honolulu. They slow roast fatty, delicious strips of pork & roll these into bundles that resemble cinnamon rolls. It is the best hands down!! And their gyoza is a winner too!

    Don’t forget about their rival Goma Ichi on Keeamuku! I think Goma Ichi is twice as good as Goma Tei.

    john on September 8th, 2013 at 2:35 pm
  20. I thought it had too much liquid in your version so I cut it by 1/2 and used condensed chicken broth (friend made from the bones of a couple chickens). I used chili oil instead of the vegetable oil and poured it in the bottom of the serving bowl. I also added a bunch of szechuan peppercorns, though not enough to get my mouth super tingly. needed more.

  21. Just made this. Used fresh ramen noodles, chili bean sauce and sesame paste from T & T. Added some chopped baby bok choi. Crazy good. Thanks!

  22. Amazing recipe!!! We added a little bit of peanut butter to the broth and some extra tahini paste to make it extra sesame. Honestly tasted like we were back in Japan thank you so much!!!

  23. Stumbled across this recipe this morning and made it for the family for an early lunch / late breakfast and it was outstanding. Simple, delicious and satisfying. The only slight (and admittedly picky) complaint is that the black sesame past I used left a bit of a sediment in the broth that I will probably filter out next time with cheesecloth. Will probably add some baby bok choy and maby some cilantro next time, but absolutely loved this just as you posted it. Thanks for the intro to Tan Tan Noodles!

  24. This was really good! Not as good as my local ramen shop but good enough to give me that Tan Tan fix! I used soba noodles, some sliced chicken breast and added some frozen veggies for a healthier meal. You can really put anything in this broth! I also added more sesame paste. Oishii!

  25. I add about 1/2 cup of preserved mustard greens to my recipe, and just a little liquid cornstarch to thicken the broth. The mustard greens make an enormous difference. Nice recipe, by the way.

    Also, I occasionally put some chopped peanuts on as a garnish.

  26. You might want to add green onion to the original recipe. It’s misleading because you say garnish with green onion, but with no mention of it before. Tan Tan Ramen always has green onion for those who don’t know.

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