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Recipe: Dan Dan Noodles for Chinese New Year

Elena North-Kelly

February 08, 2016

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Today marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, which is traditionally celebrated with a week's worth of festivities, including elaborate ceremonies, vibrant parades, and a large banquet in honor of one’s ancestors.​ The holiday is always a spirited celebration at the Beard House, and this year’s fusion-inspired feast is no exception: we'll ring in the Year of the Monkey with some of D.C.’s top toques, as Peter Chang, Scott Drewno, and K.N. Vinod prepare a jubilant meal uniting Sichuan, Cali-Asian, and Indian cuisines. Can't make it tonight? Don't fret, we have the perfect recipe in mind for you to whip up your own Chinese New Year feast at home. 

One of our all-time favorite dishes to fête the holiday with is dan dan noodles, a spicy, pork-inflected, supremely satisfying dish that we also like to slurp up all year long. We love this version from chef Richard Hales of Miami's Blackbrick Chinese and Sakaya Kitchen, who helped us ring in the Year of the Sheep with a spectacular dinner at the Beard House in 2015. Noodles play a important role in Chinese culture: the world’s earliest recorded noodles were found in China over 4,000 years ago, and for the New Year, they're made as long as possible in order to symbolize and ensure a life of longevity. We certainly didn't need the excuse, but can't ignore another compelling reason to chow down on this flavor-packed Sichuan dish. Get the recipe.

Elena North-Kelly is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.