shanghainese cold noodle with sesame sauce

the last time i (priscilla) had this cold noodle, 上海冷麵, was more than 10 years ago when my family was still living in the to kwa wan area, in the same building with my great aunt and uncle. they were very traditional shanghainese. most of the best shanghainese dishes i have ever had were cooked by my great aunt.

i still remember her preparing all the ingredients, putting them on a long table. we kids were allowed to get whatever and however much we want, to mix our own bowl of noodle. to be honest, to make a good shanghainese cold noodle does not require much technical skills, other than all of the fine chopping and shredding. the key is the sesame sauce. i would highly recommend you going traditional, and use sesame paste instead of peanut butter. the wonderful sesame aroma is simply different from that of peanuts! (pardon my indigenous shanghainese self.) it should be a well-balanced sauce… sweet (brown sugar), salty (soy sauce), and sour (black vinegar).

egg noodle 1 lb
cucumber 1/2
raw bean sprouts 1/4 lb
chicken breast 1/4 lb
soy bean 1/4 lb

  • cook the egg noodle, strain, and refrigerate
  • cut the cucumber into thin strands and refrigerate
  • cook the bean sprouts in boiling water, until slightly soft, around 1 min. chill under running water, strain, and refrigerate
  • cook the chicken breast over medium heat with 1 tbsp of salt, around 10 min, shred, and refrigerate
  • cook the soy beans in boiling water, around 2 min. make sure they are cooked but still crunchy. chill under running water, strain, and refrigerate

sesame sauce

sesame paste 1/2 cup
water 1/2 cup
light soy sauce 2 tbsp
brown sugar 2 tsp
chinkiang vinegar/ black vinegar 2 tbsp

  • mix the above ingredients to make the sesame sauce
  • place the cucumber, bean sprouts, chicken breasts, and soy beans on top of the noodle, and drizzle with the sauce
black vinegar and sesame paste

black vinegar and sesame paste

basically everything has to be finely shredded and chilled

basically everything has to be finely shredded and chilled

it reminds me of my childhood

it reminds me of my childhood



every household has a different variety of toppings. you can use ham, shrimps, green peppers etc. the key is to have a balanced texture of crunchiness (bean sprouts, cucumber, green peppers…) and softness (noodle, chicken, breast ham… ), and a balanced flavour. we shanghainese are epicure =]


10 responses to “shanghainese cold noodle with sesame sauce

  1. Nice! I had something similar two weeks ago in Paris at a northern Chinese restaurant. Noodles were not cold but otherwise looks the same. Delicious! When I asked if this is regional food, the owner said yes, from Lanzhou. I have to go back to find out more, but is it uighur then?

    • china is sooo big that different districts have distinctly different cuisines. noodles are widely used across the country. shanghainese uses egg noodles for this cold dish. i suppose the lanzhou ones uses plain noodles without egg?

      • Hey, thanks! Yes, I think it was without egg.

        Sorry for not being clear about my question, but is Lanzhou the region where uighurs live? I am just wondering because I had an uighur friend in Paris long time ago and what he cooked me was a bit similar to what I had at this restaurant.

      • Ok, so I was not maybe so wrong 😉

        Kebabs with cumin and what else, do you know? Will google for some recipes!

  2. are you a fan of sesame ice cream? i think it’s a japanese thing because that’s the only place i’ve come across it. it’s quite different!

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