Ashley / Chengdu / Food

Noodles!

I learned this insanely catchy speech piece at a workshop this fall, my fifth graders loved it and I hope you do too:

I love noodles! Give me lots and lots of noodles!
I love oodles of noodles, pile them up to the sun!
Noodles give me a happy moodle, cause they are my favorite foodle,
Give me the whole kit and caboodle, I could eat them by the ton!

I have a great love for noodles, anything here in Chengdu with the word “mian” in it makes me a pretty happy camper. Lucky for me Sichuan is infested with oodles of noodle dishes and I have a wonderful boyfriend with a great eye for photography and the patience of a saint to take tons of pictures of them. Pictures I will now share with you!

Dan dan mian – this signature Sichuan dish and one of Chengdu’s most famous xiaochi (small eat or snack) is served hot and in small bowls. The thing that really distinguishes dan dan mian from other bowls of noodle is the tangy ground pork topping.

Liang mian – not only our most photographed bowl of noodles but probably one of my favorites. It’s cold (aka dangerous for your digestive tract), coated with vinegar, garlicy and mouth numbing. My favorite is from a shop on Kehuabeilu (next to He’s shao kao) because they serve it with ji rou si (basically pulled chicken).

Tian Shui Mian (back right above the liang mian) – I’ll never forget on the night before a very good friend left Chengdu she snuck off for one last fix of these noodles. When she returned, her last teary-eyed words to us were “I just broke up with tian shui mian!” These thick sweet noodles change lives people.

Dao Chao Mian or Knife Cut Noodles (upper right) – the coolest thing about these noodles is that the cook takes a block of dough and flings slivers of the dough straight into boiling broth with a knife. The hearty starchiness of this mian sticks to your gills and is a good bang for your buck.

Sweet Potato Noodles or as I fondly call them “snot noodles” (bottom center) – they’re slippery, clear looking, hard to eat and probably at the bottom of my list of noodles I like to eat, mostly because of the experience it takes to eat them.

Ants Climbing Up a Log or Ma Yi Shang Shu – the English name for this dish is much more interesting than the Chinese in my opinion. Its named for its aesthetic, not its taste. The dish is made with sticky bean thread noodles and ground pork or beef which is separated into small kernels by cooking and sticks to the noodle, which in the end looks   like ants climbing up a log.

Guoqiao Mixian or Across the Bridge Noodles – this dish really hails from Yunnan province, but we’ve seen it several places around the Yulin neighborhood. The dish starts with a bowl of broth with oil on top and several little dishes of meat, vegetables, rice noodles, quail eggs, coriander. You basically construct the soup on your own, cooking and eating the dish at the table.

By the way, this is our 100th post! Crazy! I think we’ll celebrate with some noodles for lunch.

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