TJ Lee’s Taiwanese Sesame Cold Noodle

published Nov 4, 2021
Taiwanese Cold Noodles Recipe

Full of crunchy textures and bursting flavors, these Taiwanese cold noodles take under 30 minutes to make.


Prep20 minutes

Cook6 minutes

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Overhead shot of sesame noodles in black shallow bowl. Black and white runner on table. Chopsticks and plates around. Glass with sparkling water or soda
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Andie McMahon

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When I was a young kid, my dad would come home and he’d bring two things: cold sesame noodles from 7-Eleven and a tea egg. It was always his gift to us. They come in these plastic boxes with the cold noodles, two sauce packets, and sliced cucumbers and you’d assemble it all together. I also used to get them at a stall that’s open super late at night, at like 2 or 3 a.m. When my friends and I were out and hungry at that time, we would go there to get a huge plate of these noodles for three dollars. You can’t beat it. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Andie McMahon

This dish has a lot of what I call crunchies — the carrots, the cucumbers — plus savoriness with the ham, egg, and sauce. Once you mix it all together, it becomes refreshing and light with a lot of textures going on between the noodles and crunch of all the vegetables. The sauce looks thick, but slides right off the noodles when you eat it.

Taiwanese Cold Noodles Recipe

Full of crunchy textures and bursting flavors, these Taiwanese cold noodles take under 30 minutes to make.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 6 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


For the sesame dressing:

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed

  • 3 tablespoons

    soy sauce, plus more as needed

  • 3 tablespoons

    toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    creamy peanut butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

For the noodles and toppings:


Make the sesame sauce:

  1. Mince 2 to 3 garlic cloves until you have 1 teaspoon. Place in a medium bowl and add 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sesame paste, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until smooth.

Make the noodles and toppings:

  1. Whisk 2 large eggs with a pinch of salt with a fork in a small bowl until well blended. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat until shimmering. Pour in the eggs in and tilt the pan to create a thin layer. Cook until the egg is set and crêpe-like with little to no browning, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thirds. Stack the portions and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks. Transfer to a plate.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, prepare the following, placing each on the plate of eggs as you complete it (you should get about 1/2 cup each): Cut 1/4 English cucumber lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick planks, then stack a few planks and cut lengthwise again into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks; peel and cut 1 small carrot into thirds crosswise, then cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick planks, and finally cut the planks into 1/8-inch-wide matchsticks; cut 2 ounces sliced ham into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks that are about 2 inches long.

  3. Add 7 ounces dried Kuan Miao noodles to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then drain well again. Transfer to a large bowl.

  4. Add about 2/3 of the sauce to the noodles and toss to combine, adding 1 tablespoon water if needed to loosen the sauce. Add all the toppings and toss to combine. Taste and season with more sauce, kosher salt, or soy sauce as needed.

Recipe Notes

Noodles: You can use other Asian dried wheat noodles here; cook according to package directions before using.

Make ahead: The sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Let come to room temperature and stir before using.

Storage: Leftover cold noodles can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.