Sunday, February 6, 2011

They Ask for Chinese Food, I Give Them “Wok Noodles”

Hubby often remembers weekly trips to a small, local Chinese restaurant with his parents and brother when they were growing up. The restaurant’s original owners actually lived in Korea for a while, and the menu therefore features some Korean/Chinese dishes such as jjajangmyeon (noodles served in a black bean sauce) and jjamppong (a spicy noodle soup with different kinds of seafood). The restaurant also brings out a little bowl of kimchi (fermented cabbage) as an appetizer. Their kimchi was always my favorite dish there as it is “fresh” and not very fermented and has lots and lots of ginger. Very different from the “usual” kimchi. I could eat several bowls of it by myself…

Since we live very close to where hubby grew up, we went to the same restaurant regularly for a while (but never weekly!). Unfortunately, over the years, the restaurant switched owners several times, and each time something went “wrong.” The chicken got chewy, the beef got very fatty, and the overall flavor of the dishes just wasn’t the same anymore. On our last trip there, practically everything swam in oil, and we haven’t been back since.

A few weeks ago, we really felt like Chinese food, and went back to an “Americanized” fancy Chinese restaurant chain. We hadn’t been there since before the toddler was born and remembered that we had enjoyed the dishes. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed, as there, too, everything was covered in a thick layer in oil and the flavor just wasn’t there.

I have been making lots of stir fry dishes which I served over rice to “make up” for the lack of Chinese food in our life. But I really missed a good noodle dish. When I shopped at a Korean grocery market, I picked up a package of “Oriental Style Noodles” and decided to make my own version of “Chinese noodles.” Since the end result was really not very Chinese, yet very delicious, I’m calling the dish “Wok Noodles.”

Wok Noodles

  • “Oriental Noodles” (14 ounces) – I bought precooked noodles in the refrigerated section of a Korean grocery store (The package came with 3 7-ounce pouches, and I used two of the pouches).
  • Thin strips of sirloin (about 10 very thin slices), marinated – I had some leftover beef from the bulgogi lettuce wraps in the freezer and cut the thin slices of meat into strips. I then added the marinade ingredients (listed below) right to the bag and marinated the beef in the fridge for a few hours .
  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped (set one aside to sprinkle over the finished dish)
  • 6 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice vinegar
Beef marinade ingredients (I didn’t measure anything)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Ggochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Freshly grated ginger, about 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar
  • Heat a little oil in a wok, and add the onions.  Sauté for a minute and then add the marinated beef. Sauté for another minute.
  • Add the carrots and green onions and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the noodles to the wok, and sauté everything for about 5 minutes.
  • Add some soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, cover the wok, turn off the heat, and let the noodles “sit” for just a minute.
  • Plate the noodles and sprinkle with green onions. 

We all really enjoyed the dish. It had lots of flavor without a lot of grease. It’s certainly not “health” food, but the dish is a lot healthier than most restaurant versions of  “Asian noodle dishes.”  Next time, I will definitely add more veggies to the dish to make it more nutritious. And I will also make some meat-free versions. Unfortunately, we got our CSA box much later than usual, and I had planned on using some of the CSA veggies in the dish, but that didn’t happen. Because we got the box so late, there are also no CSA pics this week, but we got lots of good things (leaf lettuce, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, collard greens, green onions, red onions, carrots, apples, oranges, and mandarins), and you’ll probably see them throughout the week.

Questions: Do you like Chinese food? If so, what’s your favorite dish? Do you have a good Chinese restaurant in your area? Do you ever cook Chinese food, or “Chinese-inspired” food, at home? 

Be well,


  1. I enjoy my Americanized version of stir fry with oodles of vegetables tossed with garlic, ginger,sesame oil, a few pepper flakes, and soy. We usually serve ours with rice but I also enjoy angel hair pasta. If we add protein, it is usually shrimp or a scrambled egg. I love onion, colored peppers, and peas of any sort especially.

  2. I love Chinese food!!! My favorite is Singapore Mei Fun and of course, dumplings!!!

    Your dish looks delicious, Andrea!

  3. It looks delicious! Whenever I'm in the mood for Chinese food and don't want to waste the calories or money on the buffet, I'll toss some noodles with hoisin sauce, meat, and veggies. It's not quite the same, but it's still pretty good!

  4. Anonymous2/06/2011

    Your wok noodles look awesome, love the marinade for the beef, excellent flavors!

  5. That dish looks so pretty, and even more so with that awesome serving dish.

    I love Chinese, but only real Chinese. I do not like the Americanized stuff. I really never it liked it, but after a trip to China I discovered I liked the real stuff.

    There is one Chinese Restaurant on the island. Not really authentic, but not really American either...more Portuguese-Chinese with a slight American flair to it.

  6. My favorite is sesame chicken! My husband and I used to get take out from a restaurant near our old home, but since we've moved away and grown up some we know its not good for us so we don't get takeout anymore, rather we try and make our own sesame chicken!

  7. I love Chinese food - and Korean. We have a couple of good Chinese places here - one serves this amazing shrimp toast that I could eat pounds of. Your wok noodles look delicious. I could eat a big ole bowl of those!

  8. I really love Chinese food, but it's so sad that a majority of Chinese food restaurants serve their dishes with loads of oils and sauces. I don't know if that's their way of covering up a "not so good" dish, or if it's what people are asking for (let's face it, a majority of Americans LOVE sauce and oil...). Like you and your hubby, I don't dig the dishes that are swamped in oil, I prefer lighter dishes which allow me to taste all the unique your homemade dish!! It sounds fantastic.

  9. I love Chinese food but I don't seem to know of any super tasty places by me.
    That is great that you attempted it yourself..and it looks like it turned out delicious!!
    Hope you eventually find a good Chinese restaurant!!

  10. That was the problem at our old favorite Chinese restaurant - it was stellar in the beginning, and with changes in ownership/chef, it was almost inedible.

    I love those noodles - they are usually too high in carbs for me, but they absorb the flavor of the sauce so well!

    Favorite is orange chicken - but I ask for it extra spicy!

  11. I grew up eating/loving jjajangmyeon and jjamppong too. It's sad to see your favorite restaurant turns not so good. That happens a lot here in the DC area with Korean restaurants, especially Chinese-Korean. But currently we are lucky enough to have a couple of nice places where we can get decent jjajangmyeon and jjamppong. Oh BTW, your noodle dish looks delicious! A lot healthier than jjajangmyeon too.

  12. Too bad you didn't get your csa on time, but the dish isn't lacking for wonderful ingredients. As you say, it's far healthier than a restaurant version and much fresher tasting I'm sure.


  13. We're not big into Chinese food. It's more Thai around our place. I have been making a recipe for Mu Shu chicken (or pork) lately, but I'm not even sure it that's a Chinese dish! LOL! Anyways, your Wok Noodles look very tasty and the Toddler seems like he was excited to eat them!!