Tomorrow is China’s 70th birthday. Food is always an indispensible part of any birthday celebration, and in China, as traditional would have it, the signature birthday dish is not a cake, but a bowl of noodles.
The noodles are known as changshoumian, which literally means “long-life noodles”. Chinese people believe that the longer the noodle, the better the wishes for a long and healthy life. The most authentic birthday noodles are made from just one single noodle strand served in a bowl of hot meat-flavored broth. One must take care never to break the noodle into pieces, since it carries the blessing of longevity, and instead eat the entire noodle bit by bit in one go.
As the country steps into a new era and celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China, why not grab a warm bowl of noodles and celebrate China’s birthday with the entire nation?
And meanwhile, here are 10 of China’s most notable noodle dishes.
Wuhan’s hot-dry noodles
Hot-dry noodles, also known as reganmian, are a traditional dish of Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province. Reganmian, which has a long history of 80 years in Chinese food culture, is a typical breakfast dish for people of Wuhan and often sold at street carts in residential areas.
Beijing’s noodle with fried soybean paste
Zhajiangmian, a specialty of Beijing, consists of thick wheat noodles topped with a mixture of ground pork stir-fried with a salty fermented soybean paste, which you mix into the noodles before eating. People say it tastes better with hand-pulled noodles.
Shanxi’s knife-cut noodles
Originally from North China’s Shanxi province, knife-cut noodles, or daoxiaomian, are cut and cooked to order from a slab of wheat dough. Their delicious flavor has reputedly earned them a spot among the five most famous noodle dishes in China.
Henan’s stewed noodles
Henan stewed noodles, or huimian, also known as Henan braised noodles, represent a traditional Henan style of hand-pulled noodles dating back more than 800 years.
Lanzhou’s hand-pulled noodles
This dish from Lanzhou in Northwest China’s Gansu province is known for its colorful presentation of white radish, red chili oil, green coriander leaves and yellow noodles in a clear beef broth.
Hangzhou’s pian’er chuan
Pian’er chuan — noodles served with preserved vegetables, sliced pork, and bamboo shoots in soup — is a Hangzhou dish loved from century ago that still remains a favorite today.
Kunshan’s aozao noodles
On the front door hangs a plaque calligraphically inscribed with “Aozao Restaurant – Time-honored Store in China” by the famous calligrapher and painter Song Wenzhi, reminding you of its 148 years of history that stretches back to the third year of Emperor Xian Feng of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1853).
Zhenjiang pot-cover noodles
Zhenjiang pot-cover noodles are a delicacy from East China’s Jiangsu province known in every household in the nation. These porous noodles can absorb plenty of flavors from the broth, making it a delicious treat for noodle lovers across China.
Dandan noodles, which originate from Sichuan cuisine, consist of a spicy sauce containing preserved vegetables, mustard stems, chili oil, Sichuan pepper, minced pork and scallions served over noodles.
Jilin’s cold noodles
Anyone interested in Korean culture should know something about Yanji, a city in Jilin province located very close to the border with North Korea. The cold noodles in Yanji are the most genuine you can find China.
Published by “China Daily”