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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 5, 2018)
Lunar New Year
February 5, 2018
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 19
Dan Dan Noodles
By Katie Workman
The Associated Press
an Dan Noodles are a classic
Chinese dish originating in
Sichuan province. Noodles
have been part of Chinese cuisine for
more than 4,000 years, and long
strands symbolize longevity, one of
the nicest things you can wish for on
the Lunar New Year (which begins
February 16 this year).
Dan Dan Noodles are essentially
long skinny noodles topped with a
flavorful sauce built on ground pork
vegetables, chilis, soy sauce, and a bit
of Chinese wine and vinegar. The
dish was originally a street food. The
name Dan Dan refers to the pole on
which street vendors in Sichuan
would carry the pots of food: one for
the noodles, another for the sauce.
A few of the ingredients might take
a little work to find unless you live
near a great Asian market. Seek
them out if you want to approach
authenticity, but otherwise use some
easy substitutions: If you cannot find
the Chinese black vinegar, substitute
even amounts of rice vinegar and
balsamic vinegar. Really any vinegar
would be fine, but that combo
provides the closest approximation.
Dry sherry is a fine substitute for the
YEAR OF THE DOG. “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze,” an
exhibit of a dozen sculptures by Ai Weiwei representing the animal sym-
bols of the traditional Chinese zodiac, is on view through June 24 at the
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon. Ai drew inspiration
for the 12 heads from those originally located at Yuanming Yuan (Old
Summer Palace), an imperial retreat outside Beijing. (Photo courtesy
of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art)
“Circle of Animals/
Zodiac Heads: Bronze”
on view at JSMA
“Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze,” an exhibit of
a dozen sculptures by Ai Weiwei representing the animal
symbols from the traditional Chinese zodiac, is currently
on display in the North Courtyard at the Jordan Schnitzer
Museum of Art (JSMA) in Eugene, Oregon. The artist
drew inspiration for the 12 heads from those originally
located at Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace), an
imperial retreat outside Beijing.
The bronze sculptures, each roughly 10 feet tall,
represent the signs of the lunar zodiac — one mythical
creature and 11 real-world animals. The pieces are on
view through June 24, 2018.
Ai created the body of work in two sizes: the bronze
monumental series and the gold collector series. The
“Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze” series was his
first major public sculpture project.
Designed in the 18th century by two European Jesuits
serving in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) court of Emperor
Qianlong (1711-1799; ruled 1735-1799), the twelve zodiac
animal heads originally functioned as a water clock
fountain in the European-style gardens of the Old
In 1860, Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and
British troops and the animal heads were pillaged. By
re-creating and re-contextualizing the objects on an
oversized scale, Ai focuses attention on issues of looting
and repatriation while extending his ongoing exploration
of the “fake” and the “copy” in relation to the original,
encouraging open discourse on these complex topics.
Ai’s “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze and Gold”
series have been exhibited at more than 40 international
venues and seen by millions of people since the official
launch in New York City in 2011, making it one of the
most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contempo-
One of China’s most prolific and provocative contempo-
rary artists, Ai is known for major projects including the
installation “Fairytale” at Documenta 12 in 2007 and his
collaboration with architects Herzog & de Meuron on the
design of the main stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in
Beijing, as well as for his embrace of the internet and
social media as active platforms for cultural commentary
and artistic practice in their own right.
Throughout his career, Ai has offered insight into the
relationships between art, society, and individual
experience through his exploration of universal topics
such as culture, history, politics, and tradition.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, located at 1430
Johnson Lane in Eugene, Oregon, is open to the public
Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm,
with extended hours on Thursday until 8:00pm. To learn
more, call (541) 346-3027 or visit <jsma.uoregon.edu>.
LONG NOODLES/LONG LIFE. Noodles have been part of Chinese cuisine for more than
4,000 years, and long strands symbolize longevity, one of the nicest things you can wish for on the
Lunar New Year. Pictured is a serving of Dan Dan Noodles, a dish that has origins as a street food.
(Carrie Crow via AP)
If you have access to a an Asian others, some have peanut butter or
market, or want to find a source sesame or ginger, or Szechuan
online, then buy ya cai, zha cai, or peppercorns. Sichuan cooking is often
Tianjin dong cai, which is a preserved quite spicy, and these noodles are no
vegetable mix, or sometimes just exception. If you’re feeling a little
pickled mustard root. It’s available in timid about the amount of chili paste,
cans or jars. Otherwise jarred pickles you can always dial it back a bit —
work just fine.
these noodles definitely pack a kick.
There are many versions of this
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks
dish, as there are with any classic
focused on easy, family-friendly cooking,
Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.
recipe. Some are brothier than
Dan Dan Noodles
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1/4 cup chili garlic paste
1/4 cup vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
2 tablespoons Chinkiang, or Chinese Black vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 scallions, minced
Pork and Noodles:
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup chopped, jarred Chinese pickled vegetables or small diced pickles
1 cup roughly chopped arugula (optional)
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (which might be called Shaoxing,
or a Japanese version called Mirin), or use dry sherry
1 cup chicken broth
16 ounces fresh Chinese wheat noodles or 8 ounces dried Chinese noodles, or substitute spaghetti
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the chili paste, 1/4 cup oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and minced scallions
in a large bowl and stir to mix well.
Heat the one tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and sauté
until browned, about three minutes. Drain if there is any liquid in the pan, then return to the pan. Stir in the
preserved vegetables or pickles, arugula (if using), and the garlic. Cook for another minute. Add the rice wine and
stir until it is evaporated, about one minute. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions (fresh usually takes about half
as long as dried). Drain.
Stir the sauce to re-combine, then add the noodles to the sauce and toss to coat. Add the pork mixture and toss
again. Serve hot, in shallow bowls, sprinkled with the peanuts and sliced scallions.
Nutrition information per serving: 687 calories (261 calories from fat); 29 g fat (8 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 76
mg cholesterol; 1,628 mg sodium; 73 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 28 g protein.
Have a safe
Year of the Dog!
February 16, 2018 to
February 4, 2019