April 27, 2010

Foochow Long Yien (Home made Foochow Egg Pancake Noodle)

My documentation is not chronological . I am writing about the best and most impactful events first like the one that I am going to relate below.

During the early days of Foochow settlement in Sibu not many of the frugal rubber tappers would spend their hard earned money on snacks in the town . At the most they would buy a few cents worth of kong pian (guang bing or kompia). At home their wives and  their old China born mothers would be able to  make a special snack called Long Yien or Egg Pancake Noodle if they did not have mien sien or mee sua in their keep safe(recycled biscuit) tins.

My translation of the term "long yien" is still short of the real meaning of the term. (The name on the menu list is the second one from the right in the first picture.)

This trip to Kutien in Fuzhou gave my team and I a chance to taste the Long Yien Soup several times. Indeed we were glad that one contact in Kutien even arranged for a demonstration. How nice it was to taste once again the snack my grandmother and aunts used to make so long ago downriver in Ah Nang Chong (Lower Nang Chong Village).

Here the nice cook prepares the batter of egg and flour for the pancake. (22/4/20l0)

She fries the pancake using a wok. - This is what we call "long yien".

Long Yien waiting to be cooled and cut into strip-like noodles.

A deep wok of soup is prepared (clams and vegetables and minced meat) when it is boiling hot the egg noodles are added. Fantastic!

Here we are enjoying the bowls of long yien. The sweet Kutien lady standing tells us the intricate details of the long yien.

Sitting down next to the road with my friend Yeh Fang and Frank Shu I just cannot help but clarify my memories of my grandmother and how she cooked for us in the bygone days. The texture of the egg noodle is soft and gentle like the love of a grandmother.

suggested ingredients:
  • tea cups of  plain flour (cup could be any size you’ve at home, just make sure you use the same cup / size throughout)
  • tea cups of  best tapioca starch
  • 2 - 3  eggs
  • 1 tea cup of light veg oil
  • 6 – 8 tea cups of water (add in the water until the flour mixture is runnier than pancake mixture)
This dish is usually served on birthdays a long time ago........My grandmother Lien Tie loved this dish. My second aunt (Mrs. Lau Pang Kui) is best in making this as she was born in Fuzhou City. As far as I remember not many other people in Sibu can make this dish as well as she can.

Today long yien is still popular as a street food in Kutien (Fuzhou China)

I welcome my dear readers to give me the English name of this dish. Thank you.

For my readers who can read Chinese and for my children especially :
蛋燕是永泰县一道名闻遐迩的特色菜,而以古镇嵩口最具特色。蛋燕也叫太平燕,不管是结婚乔迁升官贺寿等喜庆宴会,还 是朋友相聚家庭接待等一般聚会,蛋燕都是一道必不可少的压轴菜,都是一道争先点名的大众菜。蛋燕象征着幸福美满,平安吉祥,健康长寿。     蛋燕本来是叫蛋面,它改名换姓是跟脍炙人口的“铁印直行”故事有关。我想,太平燕不叫太平面可能受此影响吧。 
    传说明朝正德皇帝曾来嵩口古镇,正值嵩口巡检司周大人下田耕作,司衙大唱空城计。帝令随从衙门口击鼓,紧接着,对面响起鸣锣,遥相呼应。不出一刻时辰,周大人与众兵丁,挽着高泥腿,握紧长锄头,齐集衙门口。帝见巡检司与众兵丁,官不官、兵不兵、农不农,心中纳闷,细问 之下,方知巡检司、众兵丁俸禄少得可怜,要靠自力耕作,艰难度日。再看厨灶锅中,仅蒸着数条番薯当午饭。乡民纷纷诉说,周大人为官不易,勤政爱民,廉洁奉 公,不涉民脂。帝心方悦。周大人猜想来头不小,愧无物奉敬,只能献上蒸熟番薯,暂且充饥。紧挨衙门的邻居煮了一道祖传蛋面送到衙门敬客。正德帝正皱着眉头 啃两口番薯,一看到黄澄澄、香喷喷的蛋面,立即举筷,啧啧赞叹;细细询问,乃知嵩阳名菜叫蛋面也称太平面,龙颜大悦,或许是乡音南北差异,帝将面听成燕, 连连称赞:“蛋燕,香也!”金口御言一出,从此蛋燕名动四方,扬名大江南北!帝返京都之后,颁下一枚铁印给嵩口司,嘱其有紧事直奏天听,行文无须经由府 县,嵩口司铁印直行遂风行闽省。
    小时候,家庭贫困很少做蛋燕,即使做了,也只下少得可怜的蛋;但记得母亲在灶台熟练搅拌、泼浆、翻煎、起锅,起锅时蛋燕就势手掌上转了一圈,啊!简直是在 欣赏艺术品制造。偷偷的摘下一小块,高高的举在空中,轻轻的放到嘴里,慢慢的品嚼着,幸福感迅速弥漫开来。现在,老婆经常做蛋燕,看到女儿吃得津津有味, 顿觉得家庭充盈、惬意、和谐。在酒桌,一遇见色彩黄橙,芳香四溢的蛋燕,就有一种回到家里的安逸感觉。
既可以充饥,又可以配酒;既可以干炒,又可以水煮;既有传统意义,又有现实需要;既可以独自出戏,又可以联袂登台; 既可以登大雅之堂,又可以作家常便饭。
    蛋燕色彩鲜艳,味美爽口;营养丰富但经济实惠;色香味俱全,老少壮皆宜。蛋燕取材容易,应用广泛,灵活多样,寓意深刻,是永泰人民生活,乡村文化底蕴重要 组成部分。在游览青山绿水、乡间民居之后,亲手制造并倾心享用一碗美妙的蛋燕,实在是人生的乐事。
    现在,蛋燕已走出了大山,挤进了都市,逐渐成为人们生活不可或缺的一部分。好友文想抓住商机,创办蛋燕生产,我相信这对丰富永泰文化,推动农业发展,加快 农民致富,改善饮食结构,倡导健康生活,都具有十分重要的意义。小小蛋燕可以做称大文章。我朋友也一定生意兴隆,财源滚滚。(Source: http://zhangpeifen.blog.sohu.com/142267296.html)


Gerald said...

My son and I tried your prawn and coconut. It definitely was a very refreshing dish, but I doubt we cooked it the way you did. Didn't quite come out the way it looked in your post.

This dish looks tasty and light.Very much like Wantan dumpling soup. And it seems like a very healthy dish. Vegetables, Clams and minced meat.

Foochow Surprise Egg Noodle Soup Style would be an amusing name :)

Will try it with my son tonight.

Mi said...

hmmm yup i think i can imagine the taste and smell, something that'll make you smile.... I think in english it can be just special savoury foochow pancake... lets make it more... french... "crepes foochow speciale" and in spanish "panqueque Foochow especiales"

how's that :D

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Gerald
I am glad you tried the prawn and fresh coconut dish. I did it in a simple "sup terjun" way...it is a kind of dish you can cook even under the trees without a proper kitchen. And being famished you would love the dish!

Hope your Foochow Surprise Egg Noodle Soule Style would be a roaring success. Whenever you try a new recipe make sure your audience/guests are really hungry!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Mi..thanks for the visit.

I did think of Crepe in French...Spanish is quite a mouthful!

Let the translations come in!! All are welcome to help!

(The Chinese words are "egg" and "Swiflet"....so why the yien or swiflet?

This soup smells wonderful!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Many would eat this egg noodle instead of the usual packaged noodles or fresh yellow noodles because it would not have the "soda" or preservatives of which many are allergic to. How wise were our ancestors!

Sunflower said...

When I was at uni, there was this girl from S'pore not sure if she is Teochew or Foochow, she made this egg pancake noodles with egg, conflour and water only it was yummy. Wonder if it was this noodles. I have been looking for its name for ages. Now I know it is called tan yen 蛋燕 or long yuen in Foochow dialet. Why is it called 蛋燕? See this webpage http://zhangpeifen.blog.sohu.com/142267296.html

I am definitely going to make some soon.

Ann said...

Your Chinese is very good. I did not attempt to read it because I failed my Chinese in school.

Glad you had great time, am very happy that the church is in the open now.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

No Ann...I copied the Chinese article for readers to read in case they cannot reach the site...and furthermore the Chinese article is fabulous...I won't even attempt to translate it on line...but will email you the gist of the fantastic tale....

Government supported churches are very fabulous. Some are underground and some are home churches. Different categories. In this church Bibles are openly displayed and they are so new too.

Ah Ngao said...

hi Sarawakiana, overall is the food costly in Taiwan?(i meant like in an ordinary kopitiam-type?)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Sunflower
thanks for the fabulous article in Chinese and in my excitement yesterday I did not reply ! I have another question - do you happen to have the recipe for yanpi? It uses the Chinese word Yien (swiftlet too. I understand from my visit that it is the pounding of fish and meat with a bit of starch to create a transparent skin for the wonton. Hence the wonton there is very special. Apparently package yanpi is also available in some outlets in Singapore.

Please show us how you make your long yien and yanpi.

You are an absolute gem.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao
The food in TAiwan is on the whole average. Go to the night markets and you get tourist type of food - very tasty at 30 taiwan dollars (e.g. 3 ringgit our money). Hotel food is around 250 TWN for most common dishes. Beef noodle shops for example can be small (10 tables) by the roadside and they can be very good. Chin Ta Wan is a tourist outlet and it is the higher end kopitiam specialising in beef noodles. Read the signs.
Lots of takeaways.
Clothings are expensive unless there are sales.
If you join a tour all meals are provided except for the night you go to visit the Tamsui night market.
Taxis are more expensive than the LRT. It is easy to use LRT. Go in fours (for taxi). Usually the people are very polite because they know that tourists bring in good money.
Do ask me questions. I will try to answer them.

Sunflower said...

Traditional 燕皮 yanpi is pork coated with starch, there are others with fish too. I don't have the recipe. It's super labour intensive I couldn't even think about making it. Far as I know lean pork is bashed with wooden stick to a superfine pulp gradually mixing with some alkaline additive (maybe potash or lye) to give it a springy texture. Then this meat pulp is spread paper thin, coated and pressed with starch. Finally it is dried and cut.

Maybe not yanpi but I had fish paste skin wonton in Miri and it was very springy and tasty.

I will let you know when I make the long yien.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Sunflower
Thanks for the great tip...It is indeed a long and difficult task. Will look for the fish paste skin / yanpi in the Miri supermarket.

Looking forward to your photos of long yien...cheers.

Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

The pioneering families of Sibu Foochows continued to practise the  adoption of girls from poor families who become their maids (slaves). ...