The first time we ever tried Dan Dan Noodles was in a strip mall restaurant in Alhambra, CA. We had no idea what any of the dishes tasted like, but the name rolled off the tongue easily enough, so we went with it. At the time, it felt like we were taking a chance and rolling the dice. Little did we know the dice were loaded and we could do no wrong: everything on the menu was delicious.
Still, Dan Dan Noodles was our first foray into Taiwanese fare, which is now our go-to Chinese Comfort Food, and holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a fairly simple noodle dish that is served with a spicy peanut butter sesame sauce and usually comes with ground pork on top. The word Dan Dan actually refers to a type of stick Chinese street vendors used to carry. On one end of the stick was a basket containing the noodles, on the other end was a basket containing the sauce. Therefore the name Dan Dan Noodles can be roughly translated to “noodles carried by stick.”
Perhaps it was the imagery of a hobo bindle filled with noodles, or perhaps it was the dishes fiery yet comforting warmth, but we both felt that Dan Dan noodles would be an excellent camp food. And best of all, it’s super easy to make. As with many of our camping adaptions, we tweaked the classic recipe slightly to make it more portable while still delivering substantial protein. We therefore dropped the ground pork, upped the peanut butter sauce, and opted for high protein buckwheat soba noodles instead of the usual flour noodles.
When the weather turns against us or we’re feeling beat at the end of the day, this hot and spicy bowl of noodles is all we need to pick ourselves back up again.
Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
An easy one pot camping meal, this protein packed vegan dan dan noodle dish features buckwheat soba noodles coated in a flavorful spicy peanut sauce.
7 oz buckwheat soba noodles (or other high protein noodle – egg or bean curd noodles are great)
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 teaspoons sriracha ((or more depending on your spice tolerance))
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Bring enough water to just cover the noodles to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions – ours took 3 minutes. Once the noodles are done, drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of the cooking water. Mix in the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha. Thin out the sauce if needed with a little water. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Enjoy!
If you make this meal next time you’re camping, let us know! Leave us a comment below or follow us on Instagram @freshoffthegrid and tag your camp cooking photos #sporkandknife so we can check them out!