As I travel, I either listen to their stories about their food or I will read about them on the walls of restaurants. Such beautiful stories give each dish its extra sentiment, that when I slurp the noodles or scoop up a spoonful of chillies, I will think about the lovely hands and hearts that went into making such delicious meals.
One such enjoyment is getting to know about the Cross Bridge Noodle 过桥米线. It is Yunnan's most famous "small eats 小吃", side dishes. It is the king of all side dishes in Yunnan. In fact, the story about the noodle has such draw that if you are in Yunnan, especially in Kunming and Dali, and you have not tried this noodle, it is said that you have not been to Yunnan at all.
|Restaurant in Kunming for Cross Bridge Noodle: 桥春园|
|Ingredients served in small plates and the softened noodles.|
This dish has a history and a beautiful story that show us how love is used in the way the Cross Bridge Noodle is served.
A long time ago, there lived a scholar with his wife. The scholar was studying for his imperial exams and he needed a quiet place to study. He found a place a distance from his home where he had to across a bridge to get there. Not to let him miss his meals, his wife prepared lunch and walked the distance carrying food in a basket to his study sanctuary. After a few days, she couldn't help but realize that the food kept getting cold when she served him. She could not think of a better way to keep the food warm as there were no food warmer or thermos tiffin then.
One day, she prepared him chicken soup. While crossing the bridge, she felt tired and thought of taking a rest. She woke up with a jolt when she realized that she had fallen asleep. She quickly opened the basket to check if the soup had turned cold. Instead, she found to her amazement that the chicken soup was still warm. She suddenly get the idea, the oil from the chicken had risen to the top of the soup keeping it warm for a longer time.
From that day on, she separated the soup with the noodles and the ingredients leaving a layer of oil on top of the soup. When she served the scholar, the food was still warm.
Doesn't this story add sentiments when you eat Cross Bridge Noodle the next time?
Also, when you are in Yunnan, do try its beer which is named after Yunnan's complex climate and its topography. The beer is called "wind flower snow moon 风花雪月".
There are also two dishes you would not want to miss: 沙锅鱼local fish claypot and 黄焖鸡chilli fried fiery chicken.
|Cross Bridge Noodle was served in the biggest bowl ever in Lijiang, Yunnan.|
|Local fish cooked in claypot, a Dali delicacy.|
|Chili fried fiery chicken. Also a Dali special dish.|
|Yunnan local beer.|
|My dinner in Dali, a feast with beer for 2, less than RMB100.|