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.