In this weeknight-easy noodle dish from northern China, called you po mian, a finishing drizzle of sizzling hot oil is used to tie all the spicy-­savory-­sweet flavors together, heightening the aromas of fresh scallions and garlic, while also mellowing their pungency. The result is a deeply flavorful tangle of tender-­chewy noodles and lightly blanched greens dressed in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar.


Flat, moderately wide wheat noodles are ideal, and they don’t need to be Asian. Fettuccine or pappardelle are great options; dried udon works well, too. Malty, subtly sweet and a touch smoky, Chinese black vinegar is worth seeking out; if not available, balsamic vinegar makes a great replacement. Be sure to use heatproof bowls that can withstand the temperature of smoking-­hot oil.

Hot Oil Noodles with Bok Choy Inset


Don’t stir the noodles after adding the cilantro, scallion, pepper flakes and garlic. You want to keep these aromatic ingredients on the surface of the noodles, ensuring maximum contact with the hot oil. Once the oil is drizzled on, it’s fine to stir and toss everything together.


Drizzling sizzling oil over a dish is an easy way to enhance aromatics and fresh seasonings by drawing out their flavors and aromas, but still leaving them tasting fresh. It works with most vegetables and proteins, such as poached fish, shrimp, chicken or tofu. Any neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed, works well. We also like a blend of neutral and toasted sesame. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high until barely smoking.