September 27, 2011

Crossing the Bridge Noodles Sculpture @ Nanhu

In Yunnan the famous local noodles called Cross Bridge Noodles are eternalised by a beautiful sculpture in the Nanhu(West Lake) Park in Mengzi. I do not think any soup or dish in Asia has been better commemorated in this way. When I looked at the sculpture I was thinking of my own Foochow mien sien in Sibu or the kampua ...when would the Sibu leaders officially commission sculptures of our famous dishes ?

Crossing the bridge noodles 过桥米线 (guò qiáo mĭxiàn) is an elaborate chicken (or any other meat) noodle soup which originated from the southern province of Yunnan and specifically from Mengzi.

The legend has it that about 100 years ago a scholar isolated himself on an island to prepare for the Imperial civil examination. His wife would bring him rice noodles and other morsels in a rich chicken broth, with a layer of fat on top to keep the soup warm until she reached him. The chicken soup was still warm and the rest of the ingredients fresh and tasty. (Wikipedia)

Indeed I was very touched by the commemorative sculpture when I stood in front of it. How gentle the wife was and how scholarly the husband looked. And as if it was very appropriate the two had only one child. And the way he looked at her was very special. ..that has a rather modern take as I reckon in the olden days of Confucian training most men would not look at their wives with that kind of special gaze. The sculptor should be commended too.

The sculpture exudes the best of values of family - love - kindness -duty - and patience. The sculptor captured them all remarkably!! When visiting Yunan every tourist would usually be introduced to this noodle in a nice outlet by the tour guide. And I must say you would find it a treat which will last a life time. And do spend time to savour the delicacy.

 My experience was near perfect as ten of us sat a huge round table in Mengzi's best Crossing the Bridge Noodles Restaurant. We ordered 6 sets to share. My friend and I could not finish in fact!! Served by attendants wearing ancient Chinese uniforms we felt like royalty. Furthermore we were also treated to a grand concert with good music and beautiful dances.The MC in his Mongolian costume was particularly eloquent and artistic.

The rice noodles here are different in texture and taste as Yunnan produces very good rice on its hills. All rice noodles are made and consumed on the same day!! I did throw a coin into the wishing well...may be one day I would be able to go back there and eat another bowl of Cross Bridge Noodles with my friends.......Do dreams come true?

(WARNING : always ask how big the dish is because a small eater may not be able to finish the giant bowl. Get a good friend to share the set meal or you will be wasting your good money....scan the environment first. Also when you bring your young children they might find the dish too much. Some restaurants only serve this dish and you might not have a choice....)

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