Chongqing Hot and Sour Glass Noodle Soup (Suan La Fen)

This tantalizing Suan La Fen, or as we’re calling it in English, Chongqing Hot and Sour Glass Noodle Soup (酸辣粉 – suān là fěn), has the same beloved status in China as the Hot and Sour Soup we know here in the U.S.

The fact that there are instant noodle versions of this noodle soup should indicate just how popular it is. But making this dish at home will be infinitely better than any instant version! 

Also, bonus: this recipe is vegan/vegetarian. But for you meat-lovers out there, you won’t miss the meat at all! 

What Is Suan La Fen?

Suān là fěn (酸辣粉), or Chongqing Hot and Sour Glass Noodle Soup, consists of a soup base layered with spicy, numbing, sour, and umami flavors, along with glass noodles and many colorful condiments. The result is a slippery, silky and crunchy texture, with little bursts of competing and complementary flavors. 

Suan La Fen Sichuan Noodle Soup, thewoksoflife.comSuan La Fen Sichuan Noodle Soup,

Traditionally, the noodles in this dish involve a sweet sweet potato starch batter extruded through holes in a device similar to a sifter/colander. The batter “runs” directly into boiling water, which is how vendors shape and cook the noodles. 

For convenience, we’re going to use a Korean brand of sweet potato glass noodles that are already ready to go! 

Korean Sweet Potato Starch Noodles, thewoksoflife.comKorean Sweet Potato Starch Noodles,

Noodle Soup in Summer? 

So why am I asking you to make this Hot and Sour Glass Noodle Soup in the middle of the summer? Well, summer is the season we indulge in a lot of raw foods, like chilled fruits and salads. We also seek the comfort of air conditioning, and the cooling effects of iced treats and drinks. 

According to traditional Chinese medicine, all of that cooling can bring on dampness (湿气 – shī qì), which can cause weakness. 

We all hate being sweaty and sticky in the summertime, but sweating is the quickest way to get rid of dampness. Just think, people from hot and humid places like Southeast Asia are still keen on eating spicy, sour foods––and noodle soups!  

Chongqing in Sichuan Province is known for its dampness and humidity. It’s cuisine is also very heavily spiced. Hot pot, anyone?

This Chongqing Hot and Sour Glass Noodle Soup will definitely make you sweat a bit, and it’s all good! 

I certainly look to protect myself from dampness during the summer months, and always remind my girls to do the same. My TCM doctor during our stay in Beijing, Dr. Shao, told me that her mother (a retired TCM doctor herself), doesn’t use fans or air conditioning in their home, no matter how hot it is. I know it seems extreme, and but the main message is…it’s okay to sweat sometimes! 

Back to the recipe though, this tasty hot and sour glass noodle soup has a strong, “in your face” kind of personality. No wishy washy flavors here. It’s delicious, spicy, tangy, and satisfying. That said, feel free to adjust any of the flavors here to your own liking. On to the recipe! 

Suan La Fen Ingredients, thewoksoflife.comSuan La Fen Ingredients,

The recipe is for a generous single serving, but feel free to adjust the serving size up or down in the recipe card below. (Click on the number of servings, and use the slider to scale up.) The ingredient amounts will change accordingly! 

Suan La Fen Recipe Instructions

It’s easiest to use store-bought roasted soybeans or peanuts. However, you can also use dried soybeans and roast them yourself. Start by soaking them for at least 3 hours. Drain thoroughly.

Soaking dried soybeans, thewoksoflife.comSoaking dried soybeans,

Over low heat, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. Wok-fry the soaked soybeans for at least 15 minutes, until fragrant and nutty. Remove from the wok and set aside to cool completely. (Leave any remaining oil in the wok behind to cook the rest of the dish.) If wok-frying peanuts, follow these instructions for traditional Wok Roasted Peanuts.

Wok Roasting Soybeans, thewoksoflife.comWok Roasting Soybeans,

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the noodles according to package instructions. Some brands may require you to soak the noodles overnight, but you can simply boil them until relatively tender (they’ll still be chewy). Once cooked, drain and rinse in cold running water. Set aside. 

Cooked sweet potato starch noodles, thewoksoflife.comCooked sweet potato starch noodles,

Heat your stock in a separate pot. Keep it at a low simmer. If you don’t have stock, you can use hot boiling water. 

To the bottom of your noodle bowl, add the ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, and pepper flakes.

Suan La Fen ingredients in bottom of bowl, thewoksoflife.comSuan La Fen ingredients in bottom of bowl,

Heat 3 tablespoons oil until it’s shimmering and smoking lightly, and pour over the ingredients in the soup bowl. They’ll sizzle and become fragrant! 

Adding hot oil to sizzle aromatics, thewoksoflife.comAdding hot oil to sizzle aromatics,

Stir the sizzling ingredients, and add the vinegar, soy sauces, sugar, Sichuan peppercorn powder, white pepper, sesame oil, and chili oil

Stirring in other broth ingredients, thewoksoflife.comStirring in other broth ingredients,

Pour the hot stock into the bowl, and mix well.

Adding hot stock to bowl of aromatics and seasonings, thewoksoflife.comAdding hot stock to bowl of aromatics and seasonings,

Add the cooked noodles, and top with the pickled mustard stems, scallions, cilantro, and roasted soybeans/peanuts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve! 

Suan La Fen Hot and Sour Sweet Potato Noodles, thewoksoflife.comSuan La Fen Hot and Sour Sweet Potato Noodles,
Suan La Fen Noodles, thewoksoflife.comSuan La Fen Noodles,
Suan La Fen Sichuan Hot and Sour Noodle Soup, thewoksoflife.comSuan La Fen Sichuan Hot and Sour Noodle Soup,


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注