To make the chili oil, bring the oil, star anise, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and Szechuan peppercorns to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes. The garlic and ginger should sizzle but not burn. While the oil is cooking, pour the red pepper flakes in a large heat proof bowl and set aside.
Once oil is done, turn off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then strain the hot oil through a sieve over the red pepper flakes. It should immediately sizzle. Allow to cool to room temperature and then pour in sesame oil and stir. At this point you can place it in glass jars and use in recipes.
Next, cook the chow mein noodles in a pot of boiling water until just done, about 3-4 minutes. Once done, drain and toss with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and set aside.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle with 1 tablespoon canola oil and add the ground meat. Use a spatula and break up the meat and cook until mostly cooked through, about 7-8 minutes.
Then add in the chopped garlic and soy sauce and cook until garlic is caramelized and meat is cooked through. Once done, turn off heat.
To serve, in a large bowl, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of chili oil and black Chinese vinegar and mix. Add the cooked chow mein noodles and top with ground meat mixture. Garnish with more chili oil on top and chopped scallions.