Quick and Easy Noodle and Bean Sprout Salad

Northern Chinese love to have small side dishes accompanying their more elaborate meals. Such dishes serve as refreshing interludes between the main courses. They are easily prepared in advance and most often served at room temperature.

But many of these side dishes are excellent when served as components of simpler meals. Here is a basic beansprout salad that I first enjoyed a few years ago at a friendโ€™s home in Beijing. It is a wonderful dish to serve with grilled meats on a warm summer evening.


  • 25 g (1 oz) beanthread (transparent) noodles
  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh bean sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons white rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 spring onion, finely shredded on the diagonal


Soak the noodles in a large bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. When soft, drain and discard the water. Cut them into 7.5-cm (3-in) lengths using scissors or a knife. Pick over the bean sprouts, discarding any brown ones. Blanch them for 1 minute in a wok filled with boiling water. Drain well and place in a bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Toss the bean sprouts with this mixture while they are still warm. Mix in the beanthread noodles and spring onion. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.