Recipe By Chef John
Published Feb 23rd
Garlic Noodles
Prep 15m Cook 20m Additional - Ready In 35m
Servings 2 servings Calories 600

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.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion, or to taste
  • 6 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Stir soy sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl for the secret sauce.
  2. 2 Place secret sauce near the stove. Place garlic, butter, Parmesan cheese, and green onion in individual bowls within easy reach.
  3. 3 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.
  4. 4 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.
  5. 5 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.
  6. 6 Plate noodles. Garnish with red pepper flakes and green onions.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 600
  • Carbohydrate 70.4 g
  • Cholesterol 69.9 mg
  • Fat 27.9 g
  • Fiber 3.3 g
  • Protein 17.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 16.7 g
  • Sodium 1540.6 mg
  • Sugar 3.6 g

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


  1. 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 - Read more ...
  2. 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 - Read more ...
  3. 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! - Read more ...
  4. 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 - Read more ...
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. Easy yet deliciously complex. Chef John never disappoints. I will make this many times in the years to come.
  8. 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.
  9. Tad bit Salty but delicious and rich flavor!