Hot Dry Noodles (热干面 Re Gan Mian) in Wuhan, China
We heard that the best food to try in Wuhan's famous food street, Hubu Alley, was Hot Dry Noodles (Re Gan Mian). These noodles are among the "top 10 noodles dishes in China". We had been in China for over a month and had eaten countless bowls of noodles. How special could another bowl of noodles be? VERY VERY SPECIAL!! Mouth-watering, lick-the-bowl, ask-for-more special!! By the time we left Wuhan, the Hot Dry Noodle stand vendor had become a BFF. What's the hype about?
Unique Noodle Texture
Proper preparation of the noodles is essential. The yellow wheat noodles are made with alkaline water to strengthen the gluten. They are pre-cooked to 80% done and then cooled very quickly and coated with sesame oil. The noodles are then left to dry again overnight. This creates a chewy texture and a surface that is ideal for sauces to cling. Just before serving, the pre-cooked noodles are rinsed quickly in a boiling broth and immediately put in a serving bowl.
Sesame Sauce Coating
A bit of garlic water and white vinegar are tossed onto the noodles. Then a tiny spoonful of sweetened soy sauce, along with spicy red peppercorn oil to taste. Finally, a scrumptious thick, dark brown sesame sauce is added.
Pickle and Peanut Topping
A hefty dollop of diced pickled green beans and pickled radish are added, followed by a dash of sesame seeds and minced peanuts.
The server then hands you the steaming bowl to quickly stir everything together. The thick sesame sauce coats the chewy noodles and pickled vegetables as the dish cools. The taste explodes on your tongue: spicy, powerful sesame and peanut, tempered by the sour pickles and vinegar. I'm drooling as a I type this. Wuhan citizens eat this energy-rich dish for breakfast; I think it is PERFECT anytime!