Minced Pork Noodles—Zha jiang mian 炸酱面 is a famous noodle dish across the country. However, you may see many restaurants offer it as Beijing style Zhajiangmian on their menu. But its territory is far beyond Beijing.

The highlight of this noodle lay in the minced pork sauce or pork gravy. And this pork gravy changes from northern China to Southern China with the most two essential sauces stay the same: sweet bean sauce and soybean paste.  We have a very similar soup noodle in Sichuan cuisine “杂酱面”. Although they sound similar, but they are two different dishes.

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

To make authentic zha jiang mian, we need yellow soybean paste(黄豆酱). There are several varieties here. In generally, they are called “黄豆酱”. The three ones in the following picture are the most famous and popular ones.

Zha jiang mian| soy bean paste sauce

The most famous one used for Beijing Zha Jiang Mian is the dried yellow soybean paste “干黄酱” from a famous brand “六必居”. If you are living in China or visiting China, purchasing  several packages should be a good option. But it might be quite hard to find outside China. The paste is very thick with strong aroma.

Zha jiang mian| soy bean paste sauce

Other types of soybean paste are much thin but much easier to find. Just search your local Asian markets and ask for “黄豆酱”.

Zha jiang mian| soy bean paste sauce

Another important of this dish is Tian Mian Jiang “甜面酱”, a fermented wheat paste. This one is much easier to find in markets. Just show them the characters. No matter which brand you get, it should be 100% ok for this recipe.  If you cannot find it in nearby markets, check this one and purchase it directly from China.

The best ratio of the two sauces recommended are 2:1 (yellow bean paste VS sweet wheat paste). Firstly, mix 2-3 tablespoons of yellow bean paste and 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of sweet wheat paste with 300ml warm water. Stir to combine well.

Then prepare your vegetables, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, celery and scallion all works fine.

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com


Add around 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in pan and fry the diced pork until withered and slightly browned. This is the process why we say it is “fried” sauce.  Pour in Chinese cooking wine for a more pure taste. Move the pork to the edges of the pan, add garlic and ginger, fry over slow fire until aromatic. Slow down the fire, otherwise the ginger and garlic might be burnt.

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

Pour in our mixed sauce, dark soy sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes over slowest fire. Mix in sugar.

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

If necessary, turn up the fire and thicken the sauce slightly.

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

Blanch the vegetables and cook the noodles. I highly recommend you using fresh handmade noodles.  Top the sauce and serve immediately. Since this is a dry-mixed noodle dish, I high recommend matching it with a warm soup. I cook lotus root soup this time, but egg drop soup, and tofu soup are also great matches.

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

Zhajiangmian—Minced Pork Noodles

Chinese Minced Pork Noodles--Zha Jiang Mian
4.88 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: noodles, pork
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 -10 servings of noodles
Calories: 202kcal
Author: Elaine


Side vegetables, adjust the amount accordingly

  • fresh cucumber as needed ,shredded
  • carrots as needed ,shredded
  • scallion white as needed ,shredded

Pork Sauce

  • 400 g minced pork ,or diced pork belly
  • 1 inch root ginger ,finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic ,minced
  • 2-3 tbsp. yellow bean paste ,see Note 1
  • 1-1.5 tbsp. sweet wheat paste ,tianmianjiang
  • 300 ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp. cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar


  • Add around 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in pan and fry the diced pork until withered and slightly browned. This is the process why we say it is “fried” sauce. Pour in Chinese cooking wine for a more pure taste. Move the pork to the edges of the pan, add garlic and ginger, fry over slow fire until aromatic. Slow down the fire, otherwise the ginger and garlic might be burnt.
  • Pour in our mixed sauce, dark soy sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes over slowest fire. Mix in sugar. If necessary, turn up the fire and thicken the sauce slightly.
  • Blanch shredded carrot for around 30 seconds and cook the noodles according to the instruction. Top the sauce and serve immediately. Since this is a dry-mixed noodle dish, I high recommend matching it with a warm soup.



The paste is quite salty, if you want a lighter taste, use 2 tablespoons of yellow bean paste and 1 tablespoon of Tian Mian Jiang. For those who wants a stronger taste, use 3 tablespoons of yellow bean paste and 1.5 tablespoon of Tian Mian Jiang.
The pork gravy itself can be refrigerated in airtight container for around 1 week.


Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 186mg | Vitamin A: 430IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1.1mg


Zhajiangmian, fried sauce noodles|chinasichuanfood.com

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  1. I’ve been making this dish for about five years after trying a version at a hand pulled noodle shop. I was told it was a northern Chinese version so I scoured the Internet to find a start to the sauce. What I came up with was a version using soybean paste & pixian paste. The other difference was that the recipe & the restaurant version both used blanched Choy sum instead of carrot. Is it common to use pixian paste as a substitute or is this very inauthentic? I’m a sucker for authenticity. I’ve cooked professionally for quite a few years & Sichuan food is one of the regional styles of the Chinese cookery I am passionate about. I picked up some more soybean paste & sweet bean sauce this week & am planning to make your version with of course some chile added for heat. Best food blog I’ve come a across. Love it!!!

    1. Hi Brett,
      You are so lovely. In fact, do not think too much about the authenticity about this special dish because we have several versions in China too. The version you mention using soybean paste and pixian paste might be the Szechuan version. This noodle comes from the northern China but almost every cuisine adopts it. But you will love this version too.

  2. Hi Eliane,

    My wife and I really like your blog and have enjoyed cooking from it since we discovered it a few weeks ago. We tried your Zha Jiang Mian recipe yesterday and found that, after following the recipe, the pork seems to have absorbed all the liquid, so there wasn’t any gravy left. Do you have any idea what might have gone wrong? Also, what would you recommend we do to fix this in the future without adding too much salt (by doubling the sauces).


    (What it looked like right after cooking)

    1. Hi Tyler,
      Thanks for trying the recipe and send me the feedback.
      I found the pork you are using is too lean. Next time, you can slightly add more water. Both of the two pastes are salty, so if you love to reduce the salt, you can either reduce the paste or add more pork.
      The sauce should never be served directly. Noodles and other vegetables absorb the taste of the pork gravy too.

  3. I tried making this but every single time I stir fry the pork, I just dont enough of the fat from the pork to come out. Almost no oil comes out at all. Do you have any tips? I use an even portion of lean minced pork and fat minced pork and cook on low heat.

    1. Hi Lillian,
      I cannot figure out the exact reason. If the ratio of lean pork and fat pork is 1:1, there should be enough oil for the sauce. Possibly the fat is not heated enough for the release of oil. I recommend using minced pork belly next time and lengthening the frying time for a moist result.

  4. Hello Elaine,

    could you recommend some Noodle type and maybe even brand from the Chinese grocery store? I cannot always make fresh noodles myself, and at the grocery store there are so many different types that I am not sure which type of noodle will go well with this particular dish!

    (If you have time, it would be great if you could write a beginner’s guide for noodles: Which noodles should I use for which dish).

    Anyway, thank you very much!

  5. Yes please Elaine! Looking forward to beginner’s guide to noodles from you!
    Love your recipes.
    Thank you!

  6. Hey Elaine,

    Can I use 豆瓣酱 instead of the soybean paste? Or could you recommend a substitute for the soybean paste? I can’t really find anywhere.

  7. They are quite similar but do have some differences. Scallion is available around the year and has a white steam without onion bulbs at the base however wild spring onion is available in spring and with small onion bulbs at the base. The flavor of spring onion is intenser than scallion. But they are alternative to each other for me.

  8. Hi Elaine,

    I see from the comments, that the question of the “right” soybean paste seems to be a difficult one 🙂

    Now I found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_bean_sauce and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_soybean_paste The green container in your picture seems to be the second one.

    Now to add to the confusion there is a Korean noodle dish which (at least in the English transliteration) seems to be a “grandchild” of this one https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/jjajangmyeon which uses https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_bean_sauce#Korean_chunjang. This sauce however is – at least to my taste – distinctly different from the regular Korean Soybean Paste https://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/soybean-paste (ie Gochujiang) which some of your readers have also suggested.

    Now I’m going to try this stuff: http://www.haitian-food.com/En/productview/190.html which I found in my local Chinese grocery store and mix it with some Doubanjiang.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhajiangmian suggests the the choice of bean sauce differs within China, too.
    So after all it seems to me, that there is no “correct” choice as long as it tastes good 🙂

    By the way, the link on your “Chinese sauces” page for “Sweet soy bean paste” seems to be broken.

    1. Andreas,
      To be honest, Zhajiangmian is a complex topic. Yes, you are absolutely right that the sauces in China differ in different areas. There are two extremely popular versions, one is Beijing style and the other one is Szechuan style. I will introduce the two versions later.
      As for the sauce, sweet bean paste and yellow soybeans paste are different.
      You are absolutely right with the two links. If possible, I believe that you’d better get yourself a bottle of this one.
      The produce from haitian can work for this recipe too, with a slightly different taste. It should be less sweet.

      1. Hi Elaine,

        I really appreciate your feedback. I went to the store again, and this time I found this:
        I’m starting to dislike not being able to read Chinese but at least to my impression, the characters seemed to match.

        Now if this should be the “sweet bean sauce” you list in the ingredients section, what about the “soy bean paste” you also mention? Should I just use the one from haitian or head out to the store again?
        As they have at least a dozen products labeled “Bean paste” a little hint (or some Chinese characters I should look for) would be helpful.

        I never imagined a simple noodle dish would be that challenging.

        Oh and by the way: For about a year now you are making a Chinese grocery store owner in Dresden, Germany very happy as he’s got another regular customer 🙂

        1. Yes, this one is the sweet bean paste, Tianmianjiang. For soy bean paste, the best brand for this dish in China is dried version, but I believe it is not available outside China. So you can use the Haitian version.
          You get quite great suggestion about adding the Chinese characters. I will surely add more if necessary in future recipes.
          I believe you will get more wonderful Chinese dishes along with your adventures in kitchen.

          1. 5 stars
            Thank you again Elaine,

            I made this tonight and I must say, this is really an everyday dish. Tasty, quick and easy to make and it fills your bellly. I’m going to put that right next to spaghetti bolognese on my “hard day’s work” list of dishes.

            And yes, it would be really great if you could add the Chinese names to the not so common ingredients. Otherwise I have to translate the things you have translated to English to German and then explain that to a native Chinese speaker at the grocery store.

            Sometimes this can be really funny, but sometimes it’s a little bit frustrating,, not so much for me, but for them trying to help me. Writing down the Chinese characters and showing them however has been very successful – for me at least.

  9. Hi Elaine,

    I really like how you revised this recipe. This version gives so much more details on how to make the sauce right.
    However I do miss one detail which I think was present in the old version, and that is to blanch the carrot stripes.
    As blanching raw vegetables is not too common – at least in western cuisine – I recommend you add it again.
    I for one like the blanched carrot stripes much better in this recipe than raw ones (which might be due to me not being able to cut them thinly enough).

    1. Thanks Andreas,
      You get a very good point here. Since we only need to blanch shredded carrots. Cucumbers and scallions are great to eat raw.