Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cold Noodles w/ Szechuan v. Dan Dan Mein


handmc
 Share

Recommended Posts

If you're talking about Grand Sichuan dishes #30 and #31, I haven't done the side-by-side in about four years but as I recall #30 is cold and #31 is warm, and #30 is more along the lines of the cold noodles you get at Chinese-American restaurants around town, with a sesame-peanut sauce (as well as some chili, as an option) whereas #31 is a small bowl of thin, warm noodles with a potent mix of hot chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns and garlic. All of which is strange because the Chinese folks I've spoken to about dan dan noodles have all said they're supposed to be cold. I wonder what "dan dan" actually means. Maybe it's a broad term.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, I don't think the GSI version includes the ground pork meat. Wu Liang Ye's version (which is also served warm and not cold) however, does.

I think Cecil at China 46 prepared us a Dan Dan Mian once with the pork meat and it was cold.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did some searches using 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein) and found that there are many variations.

Some are dry; some are in broth.

Some are hot, with chili and sichuan peppercorn; some are not.

Some use tofu; some use minced pork; some use minced pickled vegetable.

Some place the sauce on top of the noodles; some place the sauce under the noodles.

Some contain sesame paste; some don't use sesame paste.

Some serve this hot; some serve this cold (room temperature).

Yet they all use the name 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein).

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, I don't think the GSI version includes the ground pork meat.[...]

It does at the St. Marks location, and it always did at the 24 St. location when I used to go there. It doesn't at the 50th St. location?

Their Sichuan Cold Noodles include Sichuan pepper as well as hot oil, and also are more vinegary than Cantonese-style Cold Noodles with Sesame typically are.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, I don't think the GSI version includes the ground pork meat.[...]

It does at the St. Marks location, and it always did at the 24 St. location when I used to go there. It doesn't at the 50th St. location?

Their Sichuan Cold Noodles include Sichuan pepper as well as hot oil, and also are more vinegary than Cantonese-style Cold Noodles with Sesame typically are.

If I'm recalling it right, the 50th street one has no pork. I might be wrong.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did some searches using 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein) and found that there are many variations.

Some are dry; some are in broth.

Some are hot, with chili and sichuan peppercorn; some are not.

Some use tofu; some use minced pork; some use minced pickled vegetable.

Some place the sauce on top of the noodles; some place the sauce under the noodles.

Some contain sesame paste;  some don't use sesame paste.

Some serve this hot;  some serve this cold (room temperature).

Yet they all use the name 擔擔麵 (Dan Dan Mein).

Yep, that was my understanding as well -- even though this is a dish of origin from Chengdu there is still a lot of regional variation. Sort of like the way Ma Po Tofu is.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a friend who was adamant that if it didn't have 'yacai' 芽采 (a very specific type of pickled vegetable), it wasn't 'dan-dan' mian. Mind you, before I met her, I'd never had dandan mian with yacai in it.....so I always stayed rather quiet.....

I must say, though...if there was broth in dandan mian, wouldn't the poor vendors have had terrible trouble with the pole bouncing about on their shoulders, shaking the pots and ended up with burns on their shins.....?!?! I mean, from a practical point of view...cold and broth-less would make sense considering the history of the name..... :unsure:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stone, if I'm not mistaken, "dan dan mian" is Pinyin for Sichuan-style cold noodles.

Wikipedia confirms this: "Dan dan Noodles (Chinese: 担担麵; pinyin: dan dan mian) is a classic dish of Chinese Sichuan cuisine. It consists of a spicy ground peanut and sesame sauce over noodles, usually very garlicky, and often served with cold sliced cucumbers." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_dan_noodles

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corinne Trang in Essentials of Asian Cooking p.232 attributes 'dan dan' to the noise made by the earliest street vendors as they made their way through crowded streets - plates and baskets clanging against one another.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is a recipe for Wheat Noodles with Pork-and-Cabbage Sauce served hot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corinne Trang in Essentials of Asian Cooking p.232 attributes 'dan dan' to the noise made by the earliest street vendors as they made their way through crowded streets - plates and baskets clanging against one another.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is a recipe for Wheat Noodles with Pork-and-Cabbage Sauce served hot.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is the Vietnamese version.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corinne Trang in Essentials of Asian Cooking p.232 attributes 'dan dan' to the noise made by the earliest street vendors as they made their way through crowded streets - plates and baskets clanging against one another.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is a recipe for Wheat Noodles with Pork-and-Cabbage Sauce served hot.

Trang's Dan Dan Mein is the Vietnamese version.

With respect,Trang describes her recipe as a '...Szechwan wheat noodle and ground pork specialty....'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The classic Dan Dan Noodle(擔擔面) should be serve warm with ya cai(芽采), pork sauce and wheat noodle.

In Land of Plenty, Fuchsia Dunlop did a good job emphasizing this by naming her receipt “Traditional Dan Dan Noodle” and explains it this way “The name Dan Dan noodle didn’t originally refer to a particular style of noodles, but is firmly associated with the following recipe…...” (Notice she use TRADITIONAL and FIRMLY)

She has done a lot of research in Sichuan for her book and her takes on this is once again right on the money.

Her recipe substitute Tianjin preserved vegetable for yu cai because the lack of availability in the U.S.,

It also use scallions but no garlic.

The name Dan Dan Noodle/擔擔面 came from the carrying shoulder pole(扁擔) that the Chengdu street vendors used to carry the pots of noodle and sauce in the old days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Her recipe substitute Tianjin preserved vegetable for yu cai because the lack of availability in the U.S.,

It also use scallions but no garlic.

The best quality of Ya Cai 芽菜 comes from Yi Bin, the same place where Wuliangye liquor was made. It became easy to find at most of Chinese supper markets in New York (Especially in Queens). Since four years ago, it was introduced by one of the food import company I worked .

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

By the way, Pcbilly, you did a really good research on Sichuan food, and I like your in-depth questions.

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best quality of Ya Cai 芽菜 comes from Yi Bin, the same place where Wuliangye liquor was made. It became easy to find at most of Chinese supper markets in New York (Especially in Queens). Since four years ago, it was introduced  by one of the food import company I worked .

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

By the way, Pcbilly, you did a really good research on Sichuan food, and I like your in-depth questions.

Qing:

Thank you for the information.

I will look for it next time I go to my local Chinese market.

Also, what else can you do with Ya Cai beside in DanDan Mein and why is it "碎米" Ya cai ? (You have notice that I like to ask questions :biggrin:).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what else can you do with Ya Cai beside in DanDan Mein and why is it "碎米" Ya cai ?

I didn't pay attention for 碎米 Sui Mi, but I did some research.

I guess it is the brand name of Sichuan Yibin SuiMiYaCai Co. Ltd., and you can check their web site:

www.suimiyacai.com

In the Qing Dynasty Qian Long years清乾隆年间, in Yibin city there is a poor couple. They eat green vegetables day by day. The wife found out a set of salt preserve systems for the green vegetables. She soaked the tender parts of green vegetables, and assisted by the brown sugar and the many kinds of natural spice. Because it tenderly resembles the germ, her husband names it "Ya Cai 芽菜 ". After her husband went to Beijing to take the civil service exam, she opened one food shop in the city.

It is the short story about Ya Cai, and its main raw materials are green vegetables. The ratio betwwen the input and product is every 500 gram end products Ya Cai 芽菜 need green vegetables 2 - 2.5 kilogram. green veges.

In Wuliangye restaurants, we use Ya Cai to make 小龙包 Mini Pork Ban, Ya Cai Lobster, and Sauteed String Bean with Ya Cai and mineced Pork.

Come to NY, I show you some good Sichuan restaurants.

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Qing, what do you mean by it resembling the germ?

Pan:

I think Qing used the term "germ" to mean spout, seed, as in germination.

發芽 is germinate in Chinese

芽菜/Ya Cai literally mean sprout vegetable in Chinese

The name might have come from the idea that Ya Cai is as tender as young sprout.

"碎米 Sui Mi" is indeed part of the brand name for Ya Cai, google returns close to 800

search resaults for this brand; I guess it is the crème de la crème of Ya Cai.

Qing, please correct me if this were wrong, I am here to learn. :biggrin:

William

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best quality of Ya Cai 芽菜 comes from Yi Bin, the same place where Wuliangye liquor was made. It became easy to find at most of Chinese supper markets in New York (Especially in Queens). Since four years ago, it was introduced  by one of the food import company I worked .

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

Are these Ya Cai considered expensive? Are they similar to other regular bean sprouts or entirely different?

50 grams does not seem a whole lot for bean sprouts, which regularly are sold by the pound (e.g. US$1.00 a pound in California).

Since they used the word 四川 (Sichuan) in the name, do they grow the Ya Cai in Sichuan then transport them to New York (by air?)?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Each package Ya Cai 芽菜 is 50 grams, and it says 四川宜宾碎米芽菜.

Are these Ya Cai considered expensive? Are they similar to other regular bean sprouts or entirely different?

50 grams does not seem a whole lot for bean sprouts, which regularly are sold by the pound (e.g. US$1.00 a pound in California).

Since they used the word 四川 (Sichuan) in the name, do they grow the Ya Cai in Sichuan then transport them to New York (by air?)?

Ah Leung,

I don't think they mean actual sprouts.

Read pcbilly's statement again:

The name might have come from the idea that Ya Cai is as tender as young sprout.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in the office as I type this (unfortunately!).

Have some dan dan noodles from Wu Liang Ye next to me, and some tangerine chicken for later.

WLY's dan dan consists of minced pork in red oil with Sichuan peppercorns tossed over lo mein-type noodles, and some blanched spinach leaves for color.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The name might have come from the idea that Ya Cai is as tender as young sprout.

Dejah is right.

Unfortunately, sometime the ability to read Chinese Characters on product names can actually mislead you more about what it is. :wacko:

I also had the hardest time in trying to figuring out why Ya Cai , a fermented tender leaves of mustard green, is called spout vegetable in Chinese.

This is another case of poetic Chinese name that has nothing to do with content of the dish; other examples such as Fish-Fragrant Pork, Lion’s Head and Lychee Pork come to mind.

I guess this is why we have so many different topics to talk about on this forum. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

You know, I've loved the Japanese version of dan dan main (tantanmen) for the longest time and still haven't managed to try the authentic/Sichuan version!

I did buy a cookbook (Authentic Recipes from China) purely for this recipe! Haven't tried it yet though.

It calls for:

Sichuan peppercorns

peanut oil

ground pork

chicken stock

preserved, salted radish

soy sauce

black vinegar

garlic

sesame oil

white pepper

wheat noodles

spring onions for garnish

Wow! So many variations judging by the lack of peanuts in this particular recipe (if you don't count the peanut oil). The versions I see often have 'bean sauce-like' consistency hmm.

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know, I've loved the Japanese version of dan dan main (tantanmen) for the longest time and still haven't managed to try the authentic/Sichuan version!

I did buy a cookbook (Authentic Recipes from China) purely for this recipe! Haven't tried it yet though.

It calls for:

Sichuan peppercorns

peanut oil

ground pork

chicken stock

preserved, salted radish

soy sauce

black vinegar

garlic

sesame oil

white pepper

wheat noodles

spring onions for garnish

Wow! So many variations judging by the lack of peanuts in this particular recipe (if you don't count the peanut oil). The versions I see often have 'bean sauce-like' consistency hmm.

That says "salted radish" but I thought it was the leafy tops that are called for usually in dan dan noodles. I know there is no one recipe for dan dan mien, so is the use of the root a variation here?

There's a good youtube video made by a person name Yeqiang on the noodles (here's a link to part one: (

), with a separate one on the pork mixture (. Her dan dan noodles are brothy, which I like sometimes. But sometimes I like them drier.

nunc est bibendum...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

from what i remember it varies from stall to stall. doesn't always contain [minced or roughly chopped] peanuts and/or preserved vegs or roots. i've had this favourite noodle dish of mine in different places in Sichuan province, and even once in Tibet. every time it's slightly differently, always good with or without minced pork, is never brothy. the best dian dian mian is to be found in Chengdu. where else :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Sea fish in my local supermarket
       
       
      In the past I've started a few topics focusing on categorised food types I find in China. I’ve done
       
      Mushrooms and Fungi in China
       
      Chinese Vegetables Illustrated
       
      Sugar in China
       
      Chinese Herbs and Spices
       
      Chinese Pickles and Preserves
       
      Chinese Hams.
       
      I’ve enjoyed doing them as I learn a lot and I hope that some people find them useful or just interesting.
       
      One I’ve always resisted doing is Fish etc in China. Although it’s interesting and I love fish, it just felt too complicated. A lot of the fish and other marine animals I see here, I can’t identify, even if I know the local name. The same species may have different names in different supermarkets or wet markets. And, as everywhere, a lot of fish is simply mislabelled, either out of ignorance or plain fraud.
       
      However, I’ve decided to give it a go.
       
      I read that 60% of fish consumed in China is freshwater fish. I doubt that figure refers to fresh fish though. In most of China only freshwater fish is available. Seawater fish doesn’t travel very far inland. It is becoming more available as infrastructure improves, but it’s still low. Dried seawater fish is used, but only in small quantities as is frozen food in general. I live near enough the sea to get fresh sea fish, but 20 years ago when I lived in Hunan I never saw it. Having been brought up yards from the sea, I sorely missed it.
       
      I’ll start with the freshwater fish. Today, much of this is farmed, but traditionally came from lakes and rivers, as much still does. Most villages in the rural parts have their village fish pond. By far the most popular fish are the various members of the carp family with 草鱼 (cǎo yú) - Ctenopharyngodon idella - Grass Carp being the most raised and consumed. These (and the other freshwater fish) are normally sold live and every supermarket, market (and often restaurants) has ranks of tanks holding them.
       

      Supermarket Freshwater Fish Tanks

      You point at the one you want and the server nets it out. In markets, super or not, you can either take it away still wriggling or, if you are squeamish, the server will kill, descale and gut it for you. In restaurants, the staff often display the live fish to the table before cooking it.
       
      These are either steamed with aromatics – garlic, ginger, scallions and coriander leaf / cilantro being common – or braised in a spicy sauce or, less often, a sweet and sour sauce or they are simply fried. It largely depends on the region.
       
      Note that, in China, nearly all fish is served head on and on-the-bone.
       

      草鱼 (cǎo yú) - Ctenopharyngodon idella - grass carp
       
      More tomorrow.
    • By liuzhou
      Big Plate Chicken - 大盘鸡 (dà pán jī)
       

       
      This very filling dish of chicken and potato stew is from Xinjiang province in China's far west, although it is said to have been invented by a visitor from Sichuan. In recent years, it has become popular in cities across China, where it is made using a whole chicken which is chopped, with skin and on the bone, into small pieces suitable for easy chopstick handling. If you want to go that way, any Asian market should be able to chop the bird for you. Otherwise you may use boneless chicken thighs instead.

      Ingredients

      Chicken chopped on the bone or Boneless skinless chicken thighs  6

      Light soy sauce

      Dark soy sauce

      Shaoxing wine

      Cornstarch or similar. I use potato starch.

      Vegetable oil (not olive oil)

      Star anise, 4

      Cinnamon, 1 stick

      Bay leaves, 5 or 6

      Fresh ginger, 6 coin sized slices

      Garlic.  5 cloves, roughly chopped

      Sichuan peppercorns,  1 tablespoon

      Whole dried red chillies,   6 -10  (optional). If you can source the Sichuan chiles known as Facing Heaven Chiles, so much the better.

      Potatoes 2 or 3 medium sized. peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

      Carrot. 1,  thinly sliced

      Dried wheat noodles.  8 oz. Traditionally, these would be a long, flat thick variety. I've use Italian tagliatelle successfully.    

      Red bell pepper. 1 cut into chunks

      Green bell pepper, 1 cut into chunks

      Salt

      Scallion, 2 sliced.
         
      Method

      First, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in 1½ teaspoons light soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of Shaoxing and 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch. Set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

      Heat the wok and add three tablespoons cooking oil. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and chilies. Fry on a low heat for a  minute or so. If they look about to burn, splash a little water into your wok. This will lower the temperature slightly. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Continue frying until the meat is nicely seared, then add the potatoes and carrots. Stir fry a minute more then add 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the Shaoxing wine along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover and cook for around 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are done.

      While the main dish is cooking, cook the noodles separately according to the packet instructions.  Reserve  some of the noodle cooking water and drain.

      When the chicken and potatoes are done, you may add a little of the noodle water if the dish appears on the dry side. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Add the bell peppers and cook for three to four minutes more. Add scallions. Check seasoning and add some salt if it needs it. It may not due to the soy sauce and, if in the USA, Shaoxing wine.

      Serve on a large plate for everyone to help themselves from. Plate the noodles first, then cover with the meat and potato. Enjoy.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Way back in the 1990’s, I was living in west Hunan, a truly beautiful part of China. One day, some colleagues suggested we all go for lunch the next day, a Saturday. Seemed reasonable to me. I like a bit of lunch.
       
      “OK. We’ll pick you up at 7 am.”
       
      “Excuse me? 7 am for lunch?
       
      “Yes. We have to go by car.”
       
      Well, of course, they finally picked me up at 8.30, drove in circles for an hour trying to find the guy who knew the way, then headed off into the wilds of Hunan. We drove for hours, but the scenery was beautiful, and the thousand foot drops at the side of the crash barrier free road as we headed up the mountains certainly kept me awake.
       
      After an eternity of bad driving along hair-raising roads which had this old atheist praying, we stopped at a run down shack in the middle of nowhere. I assumed that this was a temporary stop because the driver needed to cop a urination or something, but no. This was our lunch venue.
       
      We shuffled into one of the two rooms the shack consisted of and I distinctly remember that one of my hosts took charge of the lunch ordering process.
       
      “We want lunch for eight.” There was no menu.
       
      The waitress, who was also the cook, scuttled away to the other room of the shack which was apparently a kitchen.
       
      We sat there for a while discussing the shocking rise in bean sprout prices and other matters of national importance, then the first dish turned up. A pile of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies. It was delicious.
       
      “What is this meat?” I asked.
       
      About half of the party spoke some English, but my Chinese was even worse than it is now, so communications weren’t all they could be. There was a brief (by Chinese standards) meeting and they announced:
       
      “It’s wild animal.”
       
      Over the next hour or so, several other dishes arrived. They were all piles of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies, but the sauces and vegetable accompaniments varied. And all were very, very good indeed.
       
      “What’s this one?” I ventured.
       
      “A different wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “Another wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “A wild animal which is not the wild animal in the other dishes”
       
      I wandered off to the kitchen, as you can do in rural Chinese restaurants, and inspected the contents of their larder, fridge, etc. No clues.
       
      I returned to the table with a bit of an idea.
       
      “Please write down the Chinese names of all these animals we have eaten. I will look in my dictionary when I get home.”
       
      They looked at each other, consulted, argued and finally announced:
       
      “Sorry! We don’t know in Chinese either. “
       
      Whether that was true or just a way to get out of telling me what I had eaten, I’ll never know. I certainly wouldn’t be able to find the restaurant again.
       
      This all took place way back in the days before digital cameras, so I have no illustrations from that particular meal. But I’m guessing one of the dishes was bamboo rat.
       
      No pandas or tigers were injured in the making of this post
       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      It sometimes seems likes every town in China has its own special take on noodles. Here in Liuzhou, Guangxi the local dish is Luosifen (螺蛳粉 luó sī fěn).
       
      It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative. Luosifen is only really eaten in small restaurants and roadside stalls. I've never heard of anyone making it at home.
       
      In order to promote tourism to the city, the local government organised a food festival featuring an event named "10,000 people eat luosifen together." (In Chinese 10,000 often just means "many".)
       
      10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.
       

       
      The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.
       

       
      Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot water, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”
       

       
      Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.
       

       
      Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.
       

      Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.
       

      Whole roast lamb or roast chicken
       

      Lamb Kebabs
       

      Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG
       

      Kebab stall
       

      Crab
       

      Different crab
       

      Sweet sticky rice balls
       

      Things on sticks
       

      Grilled scorpions
       

      Pig bones and bits
       

      Snails
       
      And much more.
       
      To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...