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Rice Noodles (mǐ xiàn)

When you are in Yunnan you may make up your mind to try the Cross-bridge Rice Noodle. However it's most probably beyond your knowledge of the Rice Noodle (mǐ xiàn) Culture of Yunnan whose people have developed diversified ways for preparing rice noodles.

To begin with, it may be helpful for one to know that the rice noodle in Yunnan can be divided into two categories, namely the Thick Rice Noodle and the Thin Rice Noodle which are respectively called "suān jiānɡ mǐ xiàn or cū mǐ xiàn" and "ɡān jiānɡ mǐ xiàn or xì mǐ xiàn" in culinary jargon. The Thick Rice Noodle is soft, slippery, sweet and fragrant while its counterpart (Thin Rice Noodle) appears slim but not so soft or fragrant. In comparison, the Thick Rice Noodle tastes somewhat sour.

Most eateries based in Kunming serve rice rolls (juǎn fēn), Er'si Rice Noodle and flour noodles besides the two kinds of rice noodles mentioned above. Once you decide which kind of noodle for your alien meal, you are supposed to give your order for the ways preparing it.

(1)-Cross-Bridge Rice Noodle (ɡuò qiáo mǐ xiàn)

Deriving its name from the story of crossing the bridge in Nanhu Lake of Mengzi County in the south of Yunnan, this local dish would be served in a big pot in which the hot soup is prepared beforehand, sliced chicken, fish and pork etc go after, and finally the vegetables and rice noodle.

(2)-Small-pot Rice Noodle (xiǎo ɡuō mǐ xiàn )

This course of rice noodle derives its name from the copper pot in which it is cooked and also served. The copper pot is a little larger than normal bowls. When the broth boils, pork, (pickled) vegetables, seasonings and spices will be at first added into the soup, and next comes the noodle that will be prepared in about 10 minutes.   

(3)-Big-pot Rice Noodle (dà ɡuō mǐ xiàn)

Being the most popular among rice noodle dishes, Big-pot Rice Noodle is conveniently prepared by scalding. This dish normally goes with ingredients such as minced meat, stewed pork/beef, pork blood, fried pork skin, fried brown sauce paste and chicken etc.          

(4)-Marinaded Rice Noodle (lǔ mǐ xiàn)

This dish is made from scalded rice noodle, gravy and assorted seasonings. It tastes sweet and normally goes with rice soup (mǐ tānɡ).

(5)-Cold Rice Noodle(liánɡ bàn mǐ xiàn)

Western “salad dishes” equal to Chinese “cold dishes” (liánɡ bàn cài). The Cold Rice Noodle is a summer snack made from rice noodle and assorted seasonings such as vinegar, chili and soy sauce etc. It can guard against sun strokes in summer time. Made slightly sour or acid by vinegar, the Cold Rice Noodle serves as a good appetizer and especially the favorite of girls. 

(6)-Rice Noodle With Tofu Pudding (dòu huā mǐ xiàn)

Bean-curd (Tofu) is a “treasure” in China because it contains rich proteins. Soy bean milk, Tofu Pudding (dòu huā) and Fermented Tofu etc all get inextricably involved with Tofu. In Kunming (Yunnan), visitors will get delighted by enjoying Rice Noodle with Tofu Pudding. 

(7)-Fried Rice Noodle (chǎo mǐ xiàn)

Like Er'kuai Rice Cake, rice noodle can as well be fried with egg, tomato, diced meat, leek and other veggies. Eateries prepare fried rice noodle differently.  

*Where to eat?
(1)-Most eateries in Kunming City Proper serve different kinds of rice noodles;
(2)-Cross-bridge Rice Noodle is most authentic in chain restaurants such as “Jian Xin Yuan” and “the Brothers Jiang” etc;
(3)-If you are clients of travel services, you can specially ask to arrange Rice Noodle meals on your itineraries.

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