|Place of origin||China|
|Region or state||Shandong|
|Main ingredients||cumian, ground pork, zhajiang (fermented soybean paste)|
Zhajiangmian (Chinese: 炸醬面; literally: 'fried sauce noodles'), or "noodles with soybean paste", is a Chinese dish consisting of thick wheat noodles topped with zhajiang sauce. Zhajiang sauce is normally made by simmering stir-fried ground pork or beef with salty fermented soybean paste. Zhajiang also means "fried sauce" in Chinese. Although the sauce itself is made by stir-frying, this homonym does not carry over into the Classical Chinese term.
The topping of the noodles usually are sliced fresh or/and pickled vegetables, including cucumber, radish, edamame, depending on regions. Chopped omelette or in lieu of extra firm tofu can also be alongside. Low-fat dieters often use minced skinless chicken for the meat portion.
During the Guangxu era of the Qing dynasty, after the Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China and conquered Beijing, The Empress Dowager Cixi, Emperor Guangxu and their retinues were forced to move from Beijing to south street in Xi'an city. While they were on their journey to Xi'an city, the Imperial Eunuch, Li Lianying detected a pleasing aroma, so he looked and found the smell came from a Zhajiangmian noodle restaurant. He then reported the information about the restaurant to Cixi and Guangxu. Due to the collective fatigue and sense of hunger after their long trip, Cixi and Guangxu decided to have a meal in the restaurant. Li Lianying ordered a bowl of vegetarian zhajiangmian. Finding it a tasty dish, they ordered another one. After dinner, Cixi asked everyone how they found the taste of the dish? They all replied "This is definitely a good noodle, good! Good!" Shortly after, as Emperor Guangxu was about to leave and continue their trip, Cixi demanded that Li Lianying bring the chef who made the zhajiangmian to Beijing and the palace, so they could eat zhajiangmian often once they came back. This is the story of how the vegetarian zhajiangmian made its way to Beijing.
In Tianjin cuisine, bean paste will be used to make the fried sauce.
A vegetarian version of zhajiang sauce may be made by substituting ground beef or pork with finely diced extra firm smoked tofu (熏豆腐乾), edamame (毛豆), eggplant, or extra firm tofu (素雞). The vegetarian versions generally call for soybean paste of any sort instead of soy sauce, since the tofu chunks are larger and need more structure.
A halal version is often made with ground beef or lamb.
In South Korea, zhajiangmian has evolved into jajangmyeon when workers from Shandong were sent by the Chinese military to Korea.
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