chinese food/chinese take out/dinner/noodles/quickie/recipes

Take Out at Home: Black Bean Beef Chow Mein

Posted October 20, 2016 by Stephanie
black bean beef chow mein -


It’s sunny and raining at the same time right now and that always makes me so happy. I just love it when the sun breaks through the rain clouds. I love how you can see every rain drop, in crystal clarity. The streets are shiny and slick and the sky gets bright, the wind pushing the clouds away to make room for the blue sky that was always there. A gentle reminder from nature that, hey, don’t worry, better days are on their way.

black bean beef chow mein - black bean beef chow mein -

We’ve been living under a rain and windstorm watch – nothing serious, just your usual Raincouver weather, but Mike and I have been using it as an excuse to hunker down, watch Netflix, and make loads and loads of soup. To be honest, I’ve been feeling just a bit down. I could blame the rain and maybe a bit of seasonal affective disorder, but it’s probably just the fact that I’m just a touch disillusioned with social media. It’s so easy to get sucked into the hole: that blatant, non-nuanced, black and white world of numbers.


I’m trying to stay away and stay positive. After all, I am a lot more than my instagram account, even if sometimes I feel like I live and die by the numbers – I feel like Mike can relate to this just a little too well. I actually have other interests aside from food, even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. I’ve been trying to explore them more, which is infinitely more healthy than looking at other instagram accounts and wondering what makes them so much more likable.

black bean beef chow mein -

These black bean noodles have nothing to do with instagram or my other interests, aside from the fact that one of my biggest interests (if not the biggest) is making Mike happy. He loves ordering black bean beef chow mein when we get takeout Chinese, which sadly for him (and me!) isn’t that often. This guy whips up in a flash and is so, so good. It’s basically a giant crispy noodle cake topped with saucy beef, peppers, and onion. Give me ALL the noodles.

black bean beef chow mein -

Actually though, these noodles aren’t my fave Chinese takeout, that spot belongs to beef chow fun! What’s your go to order?

Black Bean Beef Chow Mein Recipe
serves 4-6

  • 1 pound steak of choice, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake or Shaoxing wine, optional
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch in the beef
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 16 oz fresh chow mein noodles
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch whisked with 2 tablespoons water

In a bowl, marinate the beef slices with the soy sauce, sake or wine, corn starch, sesame oil, and white pepper. Set aside while you prep the onion and green pepper.

Rinse the noodles well with hot water and drain. In a wok, or large skillet, heat up the oil over medium high heat. When hot, add the noodles in a thin, even layer. The goal is to fry the noodles into a giant crispy noodle cake. If needed, do this is batches. When the underside of the noodles are golden brown and crispy, flip and continue to crisp, adding oil as needed. When the noodle cake is crisp, remove from the wok/pan and move to your serving dish.

Add a touch of oil to the wok and add the steak, cooking on high. Let brown and sear, tossing as needed. Remove from the pan, or push to the side of the wok, away from the intense heat of the bottom. Add the onions and green peppers on high heat, tossing often, until the onions are translucent, but not brown.

Add the black bean and oyster sauce, as well as the water. Bring to a simmer over medium to high heat. Slowly drizzle in the cornstarch whisked with water. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce, stirring often. Taste and adjust seasonings. Scoop the sauce onto the noodle cake and serve immediately, being sure to get both crispy noodles and sauce into your bowl!


  1. Looks super tasty – my fella and I both love a Chicken curry, so over the past year I’ve taken to making it rather than ordering from the take away, much better for us I’m sure and I must say, I prefer it! Although it’s quite possible that I’m biased! ;-)


  2. Allyn says:

    We FINALLY got a wok this month, which considering I’m married to a Hawaiian Chinese man who grew up all over SE Asia is just shameful, so I’m adding this to the list of “things we can finally make the right way.”
    Also, I totally get the social media disillusionment. I have a tiny food blog (that I no longer even link to) that I mainly started for friends and family. It wound up getting a decent amount of followers, then I found people talking about me on that terrible Get Off My Internets blog, and it was… surreal. It wasn’t even bad, it just made me really uncomfortable. So now I haven’t posted in months.
    Sigh. This is a weird world we live in. I’m also working on my other interests, and it’s been good.
    Selfishly, I hope you keep posting recipes here, but do what you gotta do.

  3. normally my fave is gong chau ngau ho, aka beef chow fun with the really wide, flat noodles, but this looks amazing, too! there’s a really tasty and crispy soy sauce chow mein that this reminds me of (:

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      omg yes!! gong chau ngau ho is da bomb. i call i that too but have noticed that it’s also called beef chow fun? and yes, see yau wong chow mein is good too!!!

  4. Dan says:

    Hoo boy. The social media vortex. I know it well. Hang in there. I have an almost embarrassing soft spot for orange chicken. Around here, I don’t think we can order a credible version of it (if that’s even possible for something so fake to being with). So it’s been a while since I’ve ordered it. I have made it once or twice, though, to scratch that itch.

  5. This probably as sexy as chow mien gets! I don’t think chow mien is usually on my list when I think about what I would like to have for my next meal, but reading through this post…definitely changed my mind. Now I’m ready to bring chow mien back into may life. Absolutely love the classic green pepper and beef combo!

  6. ADRIANNA says:

    this looks so bomb omg. and don’t get down! your work is so beautiful and i always look at it and want to eat it all! instagram is wonky. there are some posts that do so well and others that die within the first hour. it’s a weird place but i know all too well how it can be tied with my mood of the day. :/

  7. Priyanka says:

    I am going to be making this in the very near future for my bf who loves, loves, loves Chinese food.

    Your blog is amazing and you are sharing food that is hard to find elsewhere on the interweb. I often am craving things and think “Steph will have it!” Thank you for always inspiring me to make new, interesting, and always delicious meals.

  8. I’m so f*cking addicted to Instagram that last night at 930pm when I could’ve been doing USEFUL like watching Netflix (LOL) or reading a book I was surfing like a glassy eyed monster. Just surfing shit. Then I slapped myself and threw down my phone on my bed and said “what the F*CK are you doing!” and then I read my book. Hehe.

    I don’t think I’ve ever in my life ordered Chinese takeout!!!! How weird am I. My fave Chinese is a hot steamy bowl of white rice with steamed pork and laup cheng on top – what is that called again? MOMMMM!

  9. also – IG is such a wonkmaster weirdo!!! I go directly to yours though to see what I’ve missed. Your food and cooking is truly one of my faves, buddy!!! DIJON SHROOMIES FOR LIFE

  10. Miche says:

    Hey Stephanie!

    To address your concerns over Instagram stats, I have to wonder if more people would respond to your posts if they felt they knew you better. What I mean is that you post enticing recipes and gorgeous photography, but reading your blog doesn’t give me the sense that I’m reading a letter from a friend the way, say, Jessica’s blog does. Granted, there are other blogs that don’t have the same “friend” vibe, like 101 Cookbooks (I’m pretty sure Heidi is just a goddess sent down to earth to show us how to live.) However, I’d still love to hear more about your life, and I’m guessing I’m not the only reader who would enjoy that. You travel a lot – what informs your adventures? I know you’re a digital illustrator – what kinds of work do you do? What does a bad day look like? What are your cooking fails? I know your husband built your blog, but I don’t know if he’s a designer or a developer (or both?) or what his process looked like. In short, I think your desire to share content beyond food is a great idea, but I hope it’s really personal and gives your audience a greater sense of who you are.

  11. Deano says:

    Just made this dish for dinner, simply amazing. i’ve always wanted to make this dish but never knew how. Coming from a fellow Vancouverite i just wanna say i love your blog and spectacular photographs. Cheers

  12. Fran says:

    I did this over rice. Yummy yummy. We live in small town in NS. Hard to find authentic FRESH chow Mein. Any suggestions for substitute???? Can get rice noodles, will that work???? Don’t let the downers get to you, not worth taking up space in your head!!!!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh over rice is perfect! if you can’t find fresh chow mein, you could always go crazy and do it over spaghetti. it won’t be crispy but it’ll still be noodles. and you can definitely do it over rice noodles, same deal, won’t be crispy but will be good and there’s actually a rice noodle dish with black bean beef ;)

      1. Rick says:

        Back in the day, before I fled the insanity of Vancouver, I worked drugs down at the docks and at the international mail sorting facility up on Hamilton St. Down on Hastings in the area across from what was then Woodwards were many fabulous blue collar small restaurants. Some like The Only were more remembered. My favorite was a little hole in the wall named The Golden Crown. My partner at the time, Tony, was from Hong Kong where he was with the Royal Hong Kong Police Force before being enticed to immigrate to Canada to help with the emerging problem with Asian gangs.

        Anyways, Tony introduced me to Chinese restaurants I didn’t even know existed in Vancouver. Where a Gwai Lo couldn’t even read the menu – and probably would think Gwai Lo was a Cantonese dish.

        ANYWAYS… more often than not lunch was The Golden Crown because it was about a seven minute walk from the office. We could be there, eat, and be back at work inside an hour. I LIVED for their Beef Chow Mein With Black Bean Sauce. The noodles were just crispy around the bottom and the edges and still supple everywhere else. Hidden under a mountain of sliced beef and chunks of slightly carmelized onion and bell pepper. Big jars of hot chili oil to go with it. And alternately, served with wonderful chow fun noodles.

        I’ve spent the last 30 years regularly attempting to recreate that dish… forget finding a Chinese restaurant anywhere in driving distance of this small town that you could even hope would have anything like it.

        I wonder where the people who cooked and ran that restaurant are today? The last time I was in Vancouver about seven or eight years ago, The Golden Crown was long gone and I barely recognized the city.

        I just stumbled over this blog/website in my latest attempt to try and recreate the Golden Crown’s beef and black bean sauce chow mein/chow fun. Thank you for the recipe; I’ll give it a go as soon as I collect the things I’m short.

        BTW.. you didn’t give the name of the restaurant you wrote about prior to the recipe.

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