Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup

Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup is a standout among the many noodle dishes (and noodle soups in particular) available.

Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup (lanzhou lamian) is favored among the nation’s 1.4 billion gastronomically astute residents because of its tasty, clear broth, shaved beef, tender Chinese radish slices, an abundance of cilantro and scallion, deep red chili oil, and chewy handmade noodles.

After much deliberation and trial-and-error, I’ve altered this recipe from my numerous discussions with the chefs and staff at our neighborhood noodle store and made it easier to prepare at home.

Don’t worry; we won’t be starting with dry noodles. You can’t compromise flavor on the original Lanzhou beef noodle soup broth, however, which is what puts the dish together.


  • 4 lbs beef or pork soup bones
  • 1 kg beef shank
  • 1 pound fresh or dried white noodles
  • ½ whole roasting chicken
  • 1/2 of a small quartered and thinly sliced Chinese radish
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 cups about 1 liter chicken stock
  • chopped scallion
  • chopped cilantro
  • Salt
  • Hot chili oil (see recipe below)
  • Spice mix (see recipe below)


  • 12 cloves
  • 7 star anise
  • 6 large slices of sand ginger
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 5 licorice root slices (recommended)
  • 3 pieces of dried orange peel
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of white peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds


  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 of a small cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup of oil
  • 3 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar


  1. Wash and dry the soup bones. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes on a sheet pan. Place the beef shank and chicken (or chicken carcass) in a big pot and cover them with water. Rededicate the pot to the boil.
  2. After the chicken and shank have finished boiling, drain the water and clean the pot. This method removes any unwanted elements and leaves you with a more pure-tasting soup.
  3. Add the roasted bones, 10 additional cups of water, and 4 cups of chicken stock to the saucepan. Add the beef shank and chicken back in as well.
  4. Complete the spice blend by combining all of the components and securing them in a cheesecloth bag with some kitchen string. Also, throw this in the saucepan and sprinkle some salt on it. Bring everything to a boil.
  5. After the ingredients boil, turn the heat down to low and let the stew simmer for about 2 hours. When the two hours are over, take out the beef shank and put it to the side. Throw in the sliced radishes, and keep cooking for another hour. Then remove the spice packet, the chicken, and the soup bones with tongs and set them aside for disposal. Adjust the saltiness of the broth based on a taste test. The broth has been prepared.
  6. You may create your chili oil while all that is going on. Combine the oil, star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns in a small saucepan. Put the pot over low heat and roast the ingredients for 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the spices.
  7. Take out the seasonings with a slotted spoon, and then turn off the heat. After around 5 minutes, when the oil has cooled down, you can add the chili flakes.
  8. Toast these in the hot oil slowly until they are deep red and fragrant (they should nearly smell like popcorn). Toss in the sugar and salt.
  9. Next, prepare the noodles in a separate pot according to package directions while the broth and chili oil are finishing up. Allocation: 6 bowls of noodles. Cut the beef shank into thin slices once it has cooled, and arrange them in a fan pattern over the noodles.
  10. Last but not least, pour in a large serving of broth and radishes, a teaspoon of spicy chili oil, and a handful of chopped onion and cilantro.

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