These deceivingly simple, yet devastatingly delicious garlic noodles were invented back in the '70s at a restaurant in San Francisco called Thanh Long. Usually served with roasted Dungeness crab, the recipe is a very closely guarded family secret, but after lots of investigation, and even more experimentation, I think this is very close.

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Ingredients

2
Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Secret Sauce:
For the Noodles:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir soy sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl for the secret sauce.

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  • Place secret sauce near the stove. Place garlic, butter, Parmesan cheese, and green onion in individual bowls within easy reach.

  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Quickly stir in the secret sauce and turn off the heat.

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet slightly firm to the bite, about 12 minutes.

  • Transfer spaghetti into the sauce using tongs, bringing some of the cooking water with it. Toss until well coated and stir in Parmesan cheese. Splash in more pasta water if noodles are too dry.

  • Plate noodles. Garnish with red pepper flakes and green onions.

Chef's Notes:

Apparently, one of their "secret” ingredients is Maggi® Seasoning Sauce, which I decided not to use, since I'm not sure how easy it is for the average person to find. Besides, I think my assortment of savory, umami-rich substitutes did the job quite nicely, and everything in the ingredient list can be found at any large grocery store.

Tips

Virtually any noodle will shine in this, but I quite like good old spaghetti. Good options include Chinese egg noodles and ramen.

Nutrition Facts

600 calories; 17.2 g protein; 70.4 g carbohydrates; 69.9 mg cholesterol; 1540.6 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (36)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2019
Amazing recipe. Made as written, but added cilantro at the end. Crazy good. Went perfect with Dungeness. Keep the west coast seafood recipes coming, John. You're making me look good. Read More
(12)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
03/29/2019
So high in calories fat and sodium... don't think I'll make this one! Good idea but as present it would be the last meal before cardiac arrest. Read More
(2)
46 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 31
  • 4 star values: 10
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2019
Amazing recipe. Made as written, but added cilantro at the end. Crazy good. Went perfect with Dungeness. Keep the west coast seafood recipes coming, John. You're making me look good. Read More
(12)
Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2019
Amazing recipe. Made as written, but added cilantro at the end. Crazy good. Went perfect with Dungeness. Keep the west coast seafood recipes coming, John. You're making me look good. Read More
(12)
Rating: 5 stars
03/18/2019
Wow this made the house smell like garlic! I upped the servings to 3 omitted the fish sauce (didn't have) and added raw cubed chicken to the sauce as the spaghetti cooked. Tasty! Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/07/2019
You need to try this! I am a native San Franciscan and have been a devoted customer at Thanh Long for at least 4 decades. (Long before the public at large discovered it and forced an expansion or two) Having said that, Chef John is my favorite 'go to' for most recipes because he has 'the city's' culinary blood pumping thru his veins! I close my eyes when I try his recipes and am transported home! This is relevant because I was a restaurant manager for 30 plus years in the Bay Area... This is yet another 10 star recipe that I can only gift with 5! Easy and palate pleasing. Read More
(6)
Rating: 4 stars
02/26/2019
Easy yet deliciously complex. Chef John never disappoints. I will make this many times in the years to come. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
04/04/2019
I followed the instructions and made it as directed and it turned out really very good. I used half of the 12 oz Spaghetti package but next time I will use the whole package so I can have some leftovers ( or eat more). I did add some shrimp in the final step. My wife loved it. She had passed the recipe on to our two married children because how good it was. I think ever Ingredient added up to making the dish perfect ( such as the small amount of cheese, and the small amount of green onions), so try not to leave anything out. I almost left out the green onion because I thought it might just be for color, but it added a nice flavor for the small amount called for. I have been trying to use my wok more ( great videos on wok cooking on YouTube) and this worked great in it. This recipe is a keeper! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/04/2019
I added about 6oz peeled deveined raw shrimp at step 3. This recipe is the bomb. Other changes I made include reducing the butter by half and doubling the secret sauce ingredients. Also could not find fish sauce here in deep South Texas so I left it out, but there was plenty of umami nevertheless! I could not get the parmesan to incorporate like in an alfredo sauce, so I guess I will try again tomorrow. This recipe is seriously great! Read More
(2)
Rating: 1 stars
03/29/2019
So high in calories fat and sodium... don't think I'll make this one! Good idea but as present it would be the last meal before cardiac arrest. Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
04/23/2019
I had some garlic noodles at Gyu-kaku and wanted to make some. I made this as written but will adjust things next time. The soy sauce was so overwhelming in the entire plate I needed to add more Parmesan in the end. I might have overdid it with the garlic. Next time I would put less soy sauce and garlic. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
02/24/2019
Tad bit Salty but delicious and rich flavor! Read More
(1)