炸酱面, lit. “fried sauce noodles,” are a Beijing classic. The sauce is made by frying some ground or minced pork, adding various soybean and wheat pastes with some water, and reducing. One can also add some other stuff, like onions. (I actually don’t think I have all the right pastes for a “traditional” version.) Most traditionally, it’s served with sliced cucumber. At one point, I did not have cucumber, so I sliced some celery instead. They look pretty similar from afar!
Interesetingly, apparently the Koreans made their own version of 炸酱面, which they named “jajangmyeon.” I learned this after hearing some Korean friends say something in Korean that sounded suspiciously similar to the Chinese dish. This situation seems similar to the Japanese “ramen,” which of course comes from the Chinese 拉面 (lā miàn), meaning “pulled noodle.” There are a lot of cross-cultural influences in East Asia!