Niurou Lamian (Chinese Beef Noodle Soup)

Niurou Lamian: A taste of Western China

Niurou lamian (Chinese beef noodle soup) has a special place in my family’s heart.  My husband ate niurou lamian every day for breakfast when he lived in Lanzhou, a city in Western China where this dish was supposedly born.  He frequented his favorite noodle shop so often that they even gave him a go at throwing the hand-pulled noodles.  To this day, he still maintains the misguided belief that he can make hand-pulled noodles.
As for me, I developed a love for this Chinese beef noodle soup when I was in the early stages of pregnancy.  Nothing soothed my nausea and general bad moods like salty beef broth and springy noodles.  Luckily for both of us, there was always a Halal noodle shop nearby ready to serve a big bowl of steaming Chinese beef noodle soup in 5 minutes or less.
noodles in a Chinese beef broth with white radish, seared beef, chopped cilantro and scallion and chili oil

How to make this version of Niurou Lamian at home

Now we have moved away from China and sadly the noodle shops are no longer so plentiful.  Still, that does not stop our insatiable craving for this Hui Chinese dish.  Although it may seem like a lot of work, making this soup is actually fairly easy.  Roast the bones, transfer to a stockpot, add water and spice and let it bubble away all day long.
nirou lamian in an oversized bowl with chopsticks and spoon

The challenge of hand-pulled noodles

If, however, you are still up for a challenge and want a little extra work you could give making hand-pulled noodles a try.  Just be aware that it is harder than it looks so if you are like me and ends up with broken noodles on the ground, just add some freshly made noodles (store-bought or homemade is fine).  Also, if you prefer your noodle soup heavy on the beef, just do what I do and add sliced seared topside to the soup and allow the broth to cook the rare meat.
noodles in a Chinese beef broth with white radish, seared beef, chopped cilantro and scallion and chili oil
noodles in bowl
Noodles go in first.
noodles, seared beef and chopped cilantro and scallions in bowl
Top with slices of beef, chopped cilantro and scallions. As you can tell from the photo, I like a LOT of greens in my soup.
niuro lamian in an oversized bowl
Pour bubbling hot broth over the noodles and garnish with a spoonful or two of la jiao (Chinese Chile Oil) and a splash of black vinegar.
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noodles in a Chinese beef brother with white radish, seared beef, chopped cilantro and scallion and chili oil

Niurou Lamian (Chinese Beef Noodle Soup)

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 large bowls 1x
  • Diet: Halal


Niurou lamian is a Hui dish from Western China consisting of beef bone broth stewed with spices, fresh noodles, chopped scallions, cilantro and Chinese chile oil.  #beef #noodles #Chinesefoodrecipes #soup


  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) beef soup bones
  • 23 stalks of celery with leaves attached
  • 5 shallots (cut in half)
  • 1 head of garlic (crushed)
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/2 small cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 cm/3-inch ginger (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 2 green cardamom (crushed)
  • 35 L (100 fl oz –170 fl oz) water
  • 1 medium-sized daikon
  • cilantro (finely chopped)
  • scallions (finely chopped)
  • Chinese Chile Oil
  • freshly made noodles (cooked)
  • Chinese black vinegar (optional)
  • light soy sauce (optional)
  • 300400g (10.5 -14 oz) topside
  • Preheat oven to 220C/450F.


  1. Place beef bones, celery, garlic and shallots in a large baking tray then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 220C/450F for an hour.
  2. Transfer browned bones, celery, garlic and shallots along with any of the roasting juices into the large stockpot along with peeled and sliced ginger, spices and water.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 4-5 hours.  Remove any scum that might bubble to the top with a slotted spoon.  The longer it simmers, the better it’ll be so let it simmer for as long as you can.
  4. When ready, separate the stock from the bones and spices using a sieve.
  5. Remove any meat from the bones, roughly chop it up and add it to the stock.
  6. Discard bones and spices.
  7. Chop the daikon into thin half-moons and add to the stock.
  8. Bring stock to a boil and cook until white radish is tender.  This shouldn’t take long (about 2-3 minutes)
  9. Season with salt to taste.
  10. Meanwhile, season topside on both sides with salt and pepper.
  11. Add oil to a frying pan and sear on medium-high heat on both sides (should be 2-3 minutes on each side).
  12. Take out of the pan and let rest for 5 minutes then thinly slice.
Assembling Niuro Lamian
  1. Put noodles in a bowl then top with chopped cilantro, scallions and thinly sliced beef .
  2. Fill the bowl with ladles of soup and add a splash of chile oil and black vinegar (optional).  Serve hot!
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Category: Soup, Noodles
  • Method: simmering
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: Chinese, beef, noodle, soup, niurou lamian, Chinese soup, Chinese beef noodle, lamian, niurou

 noodles in a Chinese beef broth with white radish, seared beef, chopped cilantro and scallion and chili oil

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Author: Natasha

I'm just a busy expat mom who has a psychological need to feed people. I enjoy learning about new cultures, (especially the food) and enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and spices

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