Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'Cross the Bridge' Rice Noodles 过桥米线(1/3/07)

Lihui's parents from Guangzhou insisted on buying me lunch. I didn't want to go too far, so we just walked to a nearby restaurant. It served dishes from Yunnan province. Mr Li wanted me to try the famous 'Cross-the-Bridge' Rice Noodles 过桥米线.

There is a beautiful story about the creation of this dish. A long time ago, there was a scholar who isolated himself on an island in the middle of a lake because he was preparing for the Imperial Exam. His wife brought him meals daily.

She had to travel a long distance and by the time she delivered his meals, they were cold. The scholar disliked eating cold meals. So what did the good wife do?

One day, she caught a fat chicken, to boil a pot of soup. She placed the chicken soup in a clay pot, and together with his favourite rice noodles and ingredients, she delivered it to him in a bamboo basket.

When she tried to take the pot of soup from the bamboo basket, it was so hot that she scalded her fingers. There was a thick layer of chicken oil floating on the soup. It kept the soup warm. So she put in the ingredients and rice noodles.

The scholar was very pleased that day because he could finally eat a hot meal and it was extra delicious. He praised his wife for her thoughtfulness. And because she needed to cross a bridge to deliver his meals, he named this dish 'Cross-the-bridge' rice noodles. That's how this dish becomes popular among the common folks. What a beautiful love story! sigh......

There were several prices on the menu, from 8rmb to 48 rmb. The more pricey it is, the more ingredients are added to the noodles. I wanted the 8-rmb bowl but Mr Li ordered a 16rmb bowl of rice noodles for me. A rice bowl of noodles is accompanied by 13 small dishes of ingredients like ham, pork, chicken strips, several types of vegies & mushrooms, quail eggs ....etc. The piping hot bowl of great tasting soup stock was humongous!

The waitress first placed the noodles into the huge bowl of soup, followed one by one by the dishes of ingredients. It turned out to be a gigantic bowl of rice noodle soup with assorted ingredients. OMG! My eyes almost popped out!

The Chinese can really eat. A petite girl at the next table ordered the 48rmb one which had more than 20 ingredients. She finished everything. Yes, the soup too! Geezz...... I could only manage half a bowl.

Mr Li was embarrassed & apologetic. He thought I didn't like the dish. I had to assure him that it was really delicious and that I am a small eater. He had ordered a few side dishes too. I had requested for a Sliced Pork with Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉. It is thinly-sliced fatty pork belly topped with a yummy spicy garlicky sauce. It has lots of fats but it was super delicious! I'm salivating as I think of it.


  1. A food storey can be so lomantik!

    Sounds really yummy too. :)

  2. The choice of 蒜泥白肉 looks good! But next 24hrs cannot make a public speech :O ...so much garlic

  3. This 'Cross the Bridge' Rice Noodles seem to taste nice. :)

  4. SA,
    There are lots of lomantik stories for quite a number of Chinese dishes. If you come over to Singapore, I'll cook for you and tell you the stories.

  5. Hi lx,
    Thanks for dropping in. You have a love for swines?

  6. tigerfish,
    oooohhhh, the 蒜泥白肉 was so shiok! Who cares about the garlicky breathe? I would love the man who would kiss me even after I had garlic! hehe...

  7. yes oceanskies,
    It is nice. The soup is thick and flavourful! I'll try cooking that when I'm better. Want to try it? I'll call you when I'm cooking it.

  8. Thanks for the offer. When your hand has healed completely first please.

  9. What a story!

    I love 'Cross the Bridge' Rice Noodles. I used to have it at least one per week when I lived in Hong Kong. I always had the little spicy one. Oh, I miss it a lot!

  10. Hi Windy!
    Thanks for dropping in.

    Great dish huh!

  11. oii, the "mi xien" (not sure of the spelling here, sorry for my ignorance in chinese, don't write nor read hehe) over in China is super-sized one, over here served at the Hunan restaurants are like tiny lil' worms :P

  12. melting wok.
    yes, it's super-sized! haha... in Singapore also, they are thin and short, like little worms.