The Restaurant-Quality Frozen Noodles I Always Rely on When I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

published May 8, 2024
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overhead shot of dan dan noodles in a white bowl topped with green onion and peanuts.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

I’ll admit that I don’t really spend much time in my kitchen on weekdays. That’s what the weekend is for, in my book. After a long day at work, I prioritize dishes that are quick and easy, so that I can spend more time relaxing. (Sue me!) Since I’ve found the meals that check those boxes and work with my routine, you’d be right to assume that I don’t get too adventurous. I’m trying to branch out more and add new things to my meal rotation, but it needs to be something that doesn’t require a ton of steps and preparation — especially as my schedule gets busier in the summer.

That’s where MìLà comes in. I’m a big proponent of frozen meals, but before I was introduced to this DTC brand, they mostly came from Trader Joe’s. I didn’t know what I was missing before I took MìLà’s mega-popular dumplings for a spin, but now that I have, they’re a staple on my monthly grocery list. Another offering from the brand I love just as much? Frozen noodles. I’m a fan of all of the variations, but the dan dan noodles are my absolute favorite. Here’s why they should be added to your weeknight dinner rotation, too.

What are MìLà’s Spicy Dan Dan Noodles?

First off, a little background behind the brand: You might recognize MìLà as Xiao Chi Jie, which rebranded and adopted a new name a few years ago. From dumplings to noodles to ice cream, the company offers frozen Chinese food that can be delivered straight to your door. Co-founders Jen Liao and Caleb Wang’s goal with MìLà is to put restaurant-quality food in your kitchen, while celebrating their third culture identity as second-generation Chinese Americans.

Their dan dan noodles packet is one of their most delicious offerings, and it’s mind-bogglingly easy and effortless to make. Additive- and preservative-free, the noodles in the packet are made using the traditional sun-drying method in Taiwan. It also comes with a sauce packet that incorporates 27 different ingredients, which together create a spicy, complex flavor. You can opt for fresh ground pork or vegan Impossible Pork as a topping, and you’ll get a pack of sliced scallions and peanuts (which are packaged separately, for those with an allergy) for texture.

Credit: Morgan Pryor

Why I Love MìLà’s Spicy Dan Dan Noodles

Following the simple directions on the package, I couldn’t believe how fast I had restaurant-level dan dan noodles at my fingertips. After getting two pots of water boiling — one for the sauce packet and the other for the noodles — the noodles were ready to go in a little over five minutes every time. The brand recommends doing it all in one pot (the sauce first, then the noodles after) which is definitely a solid option, but I found that cooking both at the same time shortened the process. While draining, none of the noodles stuck to the pot, which impressed me. The recommended time for heating up the sauce was perfect, too. (I’ll admit, I was weary about boiling a plastic container, but it never melted.) After going through all four packs in record time, I never found the sauce to be cold or undercooked. The peanuts and scallions on top were the perfect touch.

The ratio of meat to noodles to sauce was absolutely stellar, and the level of spice was exactly to my taste — it gave the noodles a kick, but not so much that I was guzzling water after every bite. Plus, the packets are super slim, which comes in handy especially with my limited freezer space. At $36, it comes out to $9 per meal, and you’ll get unbeatable quality for the price. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll eat these noodles multiple times a week (if not every day, which is what I ended up doing).

Buy: Spicy Dan Dan Noodle (4-Pack), $35.99