Chinese Crispy Noodles are irresistible. They always disappear in the blink of an eye! Indeed, many readers have asked us to detail how to make them.
They’re basically deep-fried egg noodles (or fried wonton wrappers or egg roll wrappers). Golden brown and crunchy, they’re often served in little wooden bowls as a restaurant appetizer with duck sauce and Chinese hot mustard on the side. You may also find them in a little wax paper bag with your local Chinese takeout order.
Reading: how to make fried noodles for soup
Frying fresh at home will yield especially delicious crispy noodles. In this post, we’ll show you how—with either egg noodles, wonton wrappers, or egg roll skins.
An Appetizer of Days Past
In the restaurants I worked in, the Chinese crispy noodles were freshly fried every few days. We served them as a free appetizer and with soups, as well as chow mein and chop suey dishes.
Fewer restaurants these days offer these freshly deep fried noodles, and they are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Over the years, I’ve learned from friends living in other parts of the country that while these crispy fried noodles may have been popular in the Northeast, they were a rare sight in American Chinese restaurants elsewhere.
You may recognize them as something similar to the crispy noodles in Asian-inspired American salads, i.e. as something of a crouton replacement. You may also be familiar with pre-packaged La Choy chow mein noodles.
That said, once you make these at home, I don’t think you’ll ever go back to store-bought!
How to Serve Chinese Crispy Noodles
Since these Chinese crispy noodles are part of our American Chinese food culture, they go best with soups you might find on a takeout menu. Soups like egg drop soup, hot and sour soup, or wonton soup.
If you’re going really retro, you can serve them over American Chicken Chow Mein or Chicken Chop Suey.
You can even use them in those Asian-inspired salads I mentioned! You can add as many as you want. Not just the tiny pouch that comes in the pre-made salad mixes.
Or, to keep things simple, they are great on the table alongside any soup or stir-fry, or even alone as a snack!
Regardless of what dishes you serve these with, the contrasting sweet and spicy flavors of homemade Restaurant-Style Duck Sauce and Chinese Hot Mustard are delicious with these fried noodles.
What Are Crispy Noodles Made Of?
You can use any fresh egg noodle to make deep-fried crispy noodles. These Chinese wide egg noodles were the closest thing I could find in our local Asian grocery store. (The noodles we used to use in my parents’ restaurant were a bit wider, but these worked just fine.)
If you can’t find noodles, egg roll skins or egg wonton skins both work. Both can be cut into wide strips for frying.
Here are the Egg Roll Skins after frying:
And here are the fried wonton skins:
We’ve found we get the best results with egg roll skins or wide egg noodles.
Egg wonton wrappers work, but they’re thinner and aren’t as satisfyingly crunchy. They also absorb more oil than the other two, so they can be a little bit oily.
Tips for Deep-frying Noodles
- I want to debunk a myth here: You might see some recipes calling to boil the egg noodles before frying. We never did that in any of my years working in restaurants. If using egg noodles, they must be fresh uncooked noodles. Cooked noodles will not yield the same results.
- Use a small amount of noodles for the first batch to get a feel for how to fry them.
- To avoid fire hazards, do not fill the wok or pot past the halfway point. The noodles will expand, and the hot oil must stay confined to the pot!
- Check the oil temperature often with a thermometer, and increase or reduce the heat to keep it at 375-400°F (190-204°C). A high temperature is required for the noodles to fry and expand.
Chinese Crispy Noodles: Recipe Instructions
If using fresh egg noodles, there is no need to do anything to prep them, as they will be easy to snap into snackable pieces after frying. If using egg roll or wonton wrappers, cut them into 1×4 inch (2.5×10 cm) strips.
In a wok or deep medium pot where the oil will only come up about half the height of the pot, heat the oil to 375-400°F (190-204°C). Use a deep fry thermometer/candy thermometer to maintain temperature.
Take a small handful of the noodles, and carefully drop them into the oil.
As soon as they hit the oil, use a pair of wooden or bamboo chopsticks to break them up and prevent them from sticking together as they fry and expand.
Fry for 20-30 seconds. Using your chopsticks or a slotted spoon, carefully flip the noodles and fry for another 20 seconds, or until evenly golden brown.
The fresh noodles will stick together in a single mass, but if using egg roll or wonton wrappers, they will separate and may need individual flipping. Work quickly, as it takes less than a minute for them to brown!
Here’s what the egg roll wrappers look like while frying:
And here’s what the wonton wrappers look like:
Drain the fried noodles of excess oil, and transfer them to a plate or sheet pan lined with paper towels to cool.
Sprinkle salt over the noodles to taste. Repeat until you’ve fried all of your noodles.
Serve with duck sauce and hot mustard.