Shandong Mian (Noodles)
Ok, this is pretty simple. You have the Zha Jiang Mien/ Gan Zha Jiang, which I discussed in the other msg.Then the other most popular noodle dish is what’s called “Jjam-bong” in Korean and in Chinese called “Tsao Mah Mien” (Chao Ma Mian). This is the spicy seafod noodle in soup dish. You can adjust the degree of spiceness by letting your waiter know how hot you can take it.
The “original” Tsao Mah Mien consists of 3 main seafood ingredients: Shrimp, Squid, and Sea Cucumber. Scallops were not really part of it, but as they got cheaper, they started showing up in some of the versions. The broth is “cloudy” but not overly red (sign of unexperienced chef). The noodle used is the same as those in Zha Jiang Mien.
The Zha Jiang Mien and Tsao Mah Mien are by far the two most popular dishes at these type of Chinese restaurants.
Then there’s the cousin of Tsao Mah Mien – usually called Lah Jiao Mien (Spicy Pepper noodle). This should have the exact same ingredients as the Tsao Mah Mien, except it is not in soup, but rather dry-stir fried.
Most of the Mandarin (Chung-Hua style) Chinese restaurants here should carry at least these 3 varieties. Most of the “other” Northern style Chinese restaurants (such as the Muslim- Darda, Fatimas, etc) also carry these noodle dishes, although there are slight differences in the final product.
Some places may also have the “Dah Loo Mien”, which is also noodle soup based but no spice at all and has slightly different ingredients than Tsao Mah Mien.
Personally, I love them all. I usually can’t decide on getting the Gan Zha Jiang or Tsao Mah Mien until the last second before ordering. My secret goal is to eat a different one each day of the week consecutively. But I guess that’s just me.