recipe: liang mian 涼麵

the perfect summer meal

Liang mian (涼麵) translates to cold (or rather, cool) noodles. It’s the perfect summer meal. Refreshing but filling, light noodles mixed with crunchy vegetables and a creamy sesame sauce that you can tweak and embellish as much as you can your hot pot dipping sauce. Liang mian comes in so many different forms in Chinese cuisine (and other Asian cuisines), but my nostalgic favorite is the Taiwanese street food version.

In Taiwan, liang mian is a drunk food. Many noodle shops are open late at night (some only at night), serving up the post-nightclub crowd into the wee hours of morning. It’s especially popular for women as a “lighter” meal. Of course, it’s also appropriate for breakfast. Although, in Taiwan, anything goes for breakfast. And a popular choice for a snack throughout the day, courtesy of your local 7-Eleven refrigerator section.

I love liang mian for any warm day. While I usually default to cold soba noodles as soon as it goes about 75 degrees, sometimes I put in marginally more effort and chop up some carrots and egg to go with my cucumbers and noodles, drizzle in some chili oil to my sauce and whip up a slightly more indulgent meal.

The recipe is simple: fresh noodles (usually thinner, alkaline fresh noodles), julienned baby cucumbers, carrots, egg crepe (beat an egg with a little bit of water and then pour into a pan so it’s nice and thin and cook over low heat until it’s cooked through but not browning).

The sauce and condiments are where it gets more fun. Generally, we use sesame paste (the Chinese kind, which is toasted and nuttier than tahini) usually with some peanut butter, some soy sauce, black vinegar, and white sugar. Then, the add ins include grated raw garlic, chili oil, scallions.


  • Noodles (alkaline, but any thin noodle will work in a pinch)
  • Cucumber (Japanese or Persian kinds work well), julienned
  • Carrot, julienned
  • 1 egg crepe, julienned
  • 1 soft boiled marinated egg (see note)
  • Sauce
    • Sesame paste
    • Peanut butter (optional, unsalted)
    • Soy sauce (light)
    • Sugar (white, finely granulated so it dissolves easier)
    • Black vinegar (can use rice vinegar instead if preferred)
    • Water as needed for consistency
  • Garnishes
    • chili oil
    • Grated or finely chopped raw garlic
    • thinly chopped scallions


  1. For the egg: boil for 6-7 minutes, then cool off in iced water, peel, and marinate in 1 part soy sauce, 3 parts water, and a spoonful of sugar or sweetener. Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. For the egg crepe: beat an egg until homogenous and then pour into a nonstick pan over low medium heat. Cook it in an even, thin layer until just done but not starting to brown. Roll it up and slice thinly to be roughly the same size as the julienned vegetables.
  3. Cook the noodles, and shock in iced water once done and drain while you make the sauce.
  4. Stir together sesame paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar. Add in warm water as needed for consistency. It should be just thin enough to pour.
  5. Assemble: start with noodles and top with vegetables and egg. Add some sauce, as well as chili oil, garlic and scallion