A quick and easy Chongqing style hot noodles that can be finished within 5 minutes as long as you get the ingredients ready. Follow the steps to make yourself a bowl of super easy, well-flavored, and humble noodle soup.

chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

What’s Chongqing Noodles

Savory Chongqing noodle called XiaoMian in Chinese, is a popular spicy and numbing noodle that originated in Chongqing and is popular throughout the whole country.

My hometown Chongqing is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of China, locates in the southwest area. Hot pot is the first label of Chongqing. However, a new trend is the plain Chongqing noodles(xiaomian 小面). Xiaomian refers to a group of plain noodles seasoned with vinegar, sugar, red oil, ginger, and scallion. Sometimes the noodle may top with braised beef(牛肉小面), braised beans, braised pig’s large intestines, fried meat sauce (炸酱面).

People in Chongqing love xiaomian in the morning as same as they love hot pot when the sun goes down. Now, you may be charged only 5 RMB to 8 RMB for a morning Xiaomian in Chongqing. In Shenzhen, there are also chain restaurants selling authentic Chongqing noodles at a much higher price around 25 RMB. An interesting thing is that Chongqing people even list the top 50 Chongqing noodles ranking.

chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

The Chinese name XIǍO MIÀN meanings “small noodles”

Lots of Chinese dishes are named as small something like Hunan beef stir fry is called Hunan small beef stir fry. Small means the simplicity and humbleness of the dishes, requiring basic ingredients and easy steps to finish.

What does Chongqing noodle taste like

Nooldes in northern China emphasize on the soup base and the quality of noodles, while Chongqing noodles require more seasonings. So the flavors from Chongqing noodle is mainly from the combined sauce seasonings including, light soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, Sichuan peppercorn powder, and chili oil. It is a hot noodle soup with a very faint feeling of numbing and a strong aroma from the oil, sometimes sesame oil only, or with animal fat like lard included.

💭Essential seasonings for Chongqing Noodles


Lard has been the most popular eating oil for Chinese people for a quite long history. But recently, as most of us are facing nutrition problems, lots of people choose to eat vegetable oil as daily cooking oil. However, lard is extremely for plain Chongqing noodles without a stock soup base. You can directly use pork stock and skip lard. For vegan readers, use sesame oil to replace lard. But still, I highly recommend you try to add some. It will enhance the flavor greatly.

Szechuan-style red oil

Chili oil is a combined red oil made with red pepper powder and many popular Chinese spices. Check Elaine’s homemade Chinese chili oil if you love to make it at home. It should be a great gift idea for foodie friends.

pork lard|chinasichuanfood.com
Pork lard
how to make chili oil|chinasichuanfood.com

Monosodium glutamate (味[wèi]精[jīng]), MSG

Mmonosodium glutamate is a very popular seasoning in Sichuan cuisine. It is essentially used as a taste enhancer and is said to impart a sixth sense, known as savory (鲜(xiān)), in addition to the five basic tastes (sweet, spicy, bitter, sour, and salty). You can use chicken powder to replace monosodium glutamate. Chicken powder(鸡(jī)精(jīng)): usage of chicken powder is very similar to monosodium glutamate. You will need to use one of the two at least or prepare both for the best result.

Monosodium Glutamate

Most restaurants use MSG for Chongqing noodles. If you don’t want to use it at home, you can enhance the flavor of the noodle soup by using stock, like chicken stock, beef stock or even vegetarian stock.

Zha cai

I use chopped zha cai as the topping for my recipe. It can also be replaced by ya cai. Both two types are preserved vegetables and can provide a lovely extra saltness and crunchy texture to the dish.

Sichuan peppercorn powder (花椒粉)

Sichuan peppercorn powder, although used in a very small amount, is the essential ingredient for Chongqing noodles. It creates a numbing taste. Freshly made Sichuan peppercorn powder is the best for Chongqing noodles. You can make it by toasting the Sichuan peppercorn in pan and then blend with a spice blender.

What type of noodles to use

A thin alkaline noodle is called 水面(碱水面) in Chongqing and it is the top star in the noodle group. You can make some with alkaline powder or use round thin fresh noodles like ramen noodles or handmade noodles instead.

chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood


This is a basic version with

In the serving bowl, add a small pinch of salt, vinegar, soy sauce, gourmet powder, minced green onion whites, minced garlic, minced ginger, chili oil, sesame oil, and lard.

Chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

Cook noodles in boiling water according to the instructions on the package. Pour some noodle-cooking soup into the serving bowl to tune the seasonings. This is the most convenient way. You can also

Chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

And then transfer the noodles to a serving bowl. Rinse the greens and transfer them to a serving bowl too.

Chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

Garnish peanuts, minced green onions, minced coriander, and minced Zha Cai. Add more chili oil if a stronger taste is wanted!

chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

Serving immediately. It’s best to finish the noodles within 10 minutes.

chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

Chongqing Noodles

5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, staple
Cuisine: Sichuan cuisine
Keyword: noodles
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 673kcal
Author: Elaine


  • 1 serving fresh noodles , you can use thin dried noodles instead
  • handful Chinese water spinach or Bok Choy
  • 2 garlic cloves , peeled and minced
  • 1 green onion , white part and green part separated
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon smashed peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon minced coriander
  • 1 tablespoon minced Zha Cai , optional
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pinch of salt if necessary
  • 1/4 teaspoon gourmet powder
  • 2 teaspoons lard
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Chinese red oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder to strong the numbing tastes, optional


  • In the serving bowl, add a small pinch of salt, vinegar, soy sauce, gourmet powder, minced green onion whites, minced garlic, minced ginger, chili oil, sesame oil and lard.
  • Cook noodles in boiling water according to the instructions on the package. Pour some noodle cooking soup into the serving bowl to tune the seasonings. And then transfer the noodles to serving bowl. Rinse the greens and transfer to serving bowl too.
  • Garnish peanuts, minced green onions, minced coriander and minced Za cai. Add more chili oil if a stronger taste is wanted!



Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 3068mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1415IU | Vitamin C: 15.5mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 5.6mg
chongqing noodle|chinasichuanfood

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      1. 5 stars
        Thank you for the great recipe! I was wondering if you would consider roasted (or deep-fried) peas as a suitable garnish. I have seen these in a few Sichuan noodle soup dishes and was wondering if this is a popular ingredient…

  1. I lived in Chongqing with Mu family for 4 years. I love Chongqing noodles and the numbing pepper. Good food and nice friendly people.

  2. 5 stars
    This is easily one of my favourite recipes on here – or maybe anywhere.

    It is such a satisfactory and yummy dish, yet easy, quick and cheap. And its very easy to “expand” it by adding other vegetables or meat. I am planning on making it tomorrow, maybe with some additional bean sprouts, thinly sliced radish and either ground, fried pork or sliced chicken breast on top.

    1. We have lots of toppings to choose from in Chongqing. Pork and chicken seems quite yummy. Hope it turns out good for you.

  3. 5 stars
    Can you post a link for a decent chilli oil. The one i bought is not bringing the heat for me 🙂 And much as i would like to cook it theres a bit too much involved for the amount i would use

    1. Paul,
      If you want to make a customized hotter version of Chili oil, check this post. The hot level can be achieved by adjusting the ratio of different types of peppers.

  4. Elaine, I really enjoy the fact that your recipes are authentic and as close as I can get to a REAL Chinese kitchen if I make it myself. Thank you for your wonderful posts. Happy cooking. Regards, Caz

  5. 5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe, I will certainly make it again. It’s so quick to prepare that the longest part really is to cook the noodles.

  6. Why does the ingredients list mention Sichuan peppercorn powder but the recipe never mentions where to use it?

  7. Hi Elaine,
    I’m trying the above recipe this weekend. I would like to add protein to the dish namely beef slices. Do I need to marinate the beef slices & what is the marination like before adding to the final dish.

    Thank you.

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this for about a year now. It’s easily one of my favourite recipes of all time.
    As others have said, it’s cheap, quick, beautiful, and tastes delicious.

    Thanks very much for this.