Chinese Noodles 101: *Slurps* #getinmybelly
So, you are about to make your first trip to China and not sure what to eat? Want to sample the MOTHER of all dishes in this land of varying cuisine? From North, South, East and West, the Chinese delicacy is the common food that binds all the provinces — the humble NOODLE!
The Noodle, 面条 (miantiao/miàntiáo), originated from China and is a staple food made from unleavened dough which is stretched or rolled flat and cut into one of a variety of shapes. While long, thin strips may be the most common many versions of noodles are cut into tubes, waves, strings, shells, folded over, or cut into other shapes. Noodles are usually cooked in boiling water, sometimes with cooking oil or salt in giving it that *oomph*.
Noodles are often served with an accompanying sauce or in a soup. Also did you know, these scrumptious noodles can be refrigerated for short-term storage, or dried and stored for future consumption? I love food that is easy and fills up my tummy, what about you?!
Most of the noodle variations around the world are an improvisation from the humble Chinese noodles. To name a few …
- German: Nudel,
- Italian: Pasta (spaghetti, penne, macaroni, angel hair etc),
- Malaysian/Indonesian: Mee, meehoon, flat noodles, short rice noodles etc. used in common local dishes such as curry mee, soto ayam, laksa, etc,
- Vietnamese: Pho (commonly used in their national dish pho hua or noodle soup with local condiments),
- Hong Kong: Funn (generic term used for noodles in forms such as flat noodles, Chinese macaroni, broad noodles either in sauce, stir fried with meat and vegetables, served with soup or even deep fried).
The list can go on and on until the cats come home! If you are planning a study tour or scholarship trip to China with the super talented Confucius Institute team, be sure to get some of these in your tummy!
- Knife cut noodles 刀削面 daoxiaomien in Shanghai and Beijing. This is my #1 favourite as I just simply love its texture. Chewy, tangy and with enough bite to whet one’s appetite. Somewhat a cross between the gnocchi, Italian pasta and Chinese flat noodles. MUST EAT especially during the cold winter months, totes amazeballs!
- Long pulled noodles 辣面 la mien which can be eaten dry with minced meat and vegetables or in broth. Slightly spicy with the use of chili bean sauce (oh spicy!). Best eaten with a jug of Tsingdao beer too. Yam sing!
- Beef noodles soup 牛肉麵 niu ro mian. The stock is brewed for hours with beef bones, stock, herbs and spices including star anise, ground pepper and 5 spice powder amongst other secret ingredients. Normally eaten with noodles of choice including knife shredded noodle, la mien or rice noodles.
- Noodle with dumplings/wanton 云吞面 yuntun mien. This typical Cantonese dish and can be found everywhere in Guangzhou or Hong Kong. I always love to see the little wantons floating above the broth beckoning me to savour them. *eat me eat me* Packed with meat or vege, it’s either broiled or deep fried. It’s usually eaten with egg noodles in soup or with sauce. Best accompaniments would be pickled green chilli and a drop of vinegar! Tangy!
Ok foodie virgins in China, I hope you’ll fill your tummies to your heart’s content! Bon appetite! Chier fan! Confucius Institute at La Trobe is passionate about spreading the wonders of Chinese language, culture (including food) and one-of-a-kind events around Melbourne. Have a quick browse at their blogging website, subscribe to their newsletter, or follow them on Facebook.
Leading Image: Flickr.