Garlic Noodles from Burma Superstar–So Easy, So Addictive

garlic noodles from burma superstar overhead with hot sauceAlong with their famous Tea Leaf Salad, the Garlic Noodles from Burma Superstar are among the deep-down, soul-satisfying comfort foods that I crave. Always. Maybe it’s because they remind me of the carefree days of my youth (okay, my 30s) when I lived within walking distance of the original Burma Superstar on Clement Street and had all the time in the world to wait for one of their prized tables to open up—either standing on the sidewalk in the seemingly ever-present bone-chilling San Francisco fog, or tucked at a cozy table across the street at the Blue Danube sipping a latte.

garlic noodles on a plate with hot sauce and scallions

Lucky for me, right about the time I relocated to the East Bay, BSS  opened not just one but two snazzy outposts, one in Alameda and one in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. The new spots are bigger, shinier, and serve cocktails (!), but one thing that hasn’t changed is the loooooong waits. That’s why I was beyond excited when the Burma Superstar Cookbook was released last year.

I haven’t attempted the Tea Leaf Salad, although that is on my list (I need to get a jar of fermented tea leaves first—or try making my own!), but the Garlic Noodles were one of the first on my list to try.

When I went to the giant Asian supermarket to get fresh noodles, I got completely overwhelmed by the choices. The book calls for “wide, flat wonton noodles.” I didn’t see anything marked that way, so I chose a fresh Chinese spaghetti, which turned out to be perfect. They had just enough substance and chew to be really satisfying and hold the garlicky sauce.

fresh chinese spaghetti noodles are perfect for burma superstars garlic noodle recipeThis is one of those elusive quick and easy, yet crazy delicious recipes that uses basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry (aside, maybe, from the fresh noodles, but you could totally substitute dried noodles in a pinch).

mise en place for Burma Superstar's garlic noodlesGarlic is, obviously, the predominant flavor, so it follows that the recipe calls for a lot of it–4 tablespoons! I used one of my favorite kitchen tools, the Garlic Rocker, which makes quick work of a handful of large cloves.

the garlic rocker makes quick work of a big pile of garlic cloves


Garlic Noodles

This recipe is slightly adapted from the Burma Superstar Cookbook by Desmod Tan and Kate Leahy.

  • Author: Robin


¼ cup cooking oil (safflower, sunflower, avocado)
4 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion, soaked in water and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup sriracha
1 tablespoon minced ginger
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces fresh Chinese wheat noodles (I used a fresh Chinese Spaghetti)
3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add 3 tablespoons of the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic just begins to turn golden brown. Remove from the heat as soon as it begins to change color because the garlic will continue to brown in the hot oil. Transfer to a large, heat-safe serving bowl.
  2. Add the sliced red onion and soy sauce to the bowl with the garlic and oil.
    In a separate small serving bowl, combine the sriracha, the remaining tablespoon of garlic, the ginger, sugar, salt, and water and stir to mix well.
  3. Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and then immediately add them to the bowl with the garlic, oil, onions, and soy sauce and mix until the noodles are well coated with the oil and the onions are mixed in.
  4. Serve the noodles garnished with scallions and pass the sriracha mixture at the table for diners to add to taste.
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