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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Foods with Stories

A culture that has been around as long as China has been is always going to be full of stories and symbolism in every walk of life, including food!

Noodles with Legends

Noodles are the staple of Northwestern Chinese cuisine because rice is hard to grow in the arid Northwestern climate and wheat is easier to grow. Wheat becomes flour, which becomes dough, which becomes noodles. One of my friends from China, Benjamin Xi, said that when he was growing up in his village, rice was 'luxury'. Noodles and potatoes were the two staple foods of his family.

This story is about 'saliva' noodles, noodles which are shared by many, many people which brings about a feeling of community and family. The article details it quite clearly as an honor to be had. It's true.

What I really miss about Chinese food is not the flavor of the dishes, but the sense of community that I got when having a meal with others. When Chinese people talk to you before they are fully fluent in English, they use a lot of "Chinglish"which is literally translated from their language, and I have heard a lot of people say to me, "okay, so next time you come here, we can come together and share a meal." It sounds weird in English, but think about it. We can come together and share a meal. Really sit and think about it and you'll see why it's such a powerful thing in such a simple statement.

Lanzhou Beef Noodles

Lanzhou Beef Noodles (牛肉面)have been around since Guanxu's reign (1875-1908) and have been a staple of Northwestern cuisine ever since. Overall, 拉面 (hand-pulled noodles) are seen everywhere in China, including Lanzhou style!! 兰州拉面 is a very famous dish among all Chinese.

Freaking delicious. Every special dish in China has a long history and a story. It's one of the great things about a long-lasting culture like China.

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