How to eat noodles like a Guangzhouvian

September 1, 2015

in Academic Year 2015-2016, Asia, China, Tammy Tian

Guangzhouvian: [ˈɡwɑŋˈdʒo: vɪrn]

  1. A person from Guangzhou

Guangzhouvians admire food. For them, there is a process to eating and drinking tea that is slowly fading away. But fear not! I found some locals that still preserved the culture (aka, my family). Today we look at noodles, particularly noodle soup.

I realized I ate noodles strangely when my friends from other parts of China and the rest of Asia for the matter laughed at me for the way I ate noodle soup dishes. I’m not really sure how other parts of China eat their noodles, but in Guangzhou, it really is a process.

Noodle soup dishes in Guangzhou are street food. You get a bowl of broth with noodles, a few bits of meat, and a few slices of greens. Each noodle shop has a big pot of specialty broth that has probably been cooking since they started. The broth is light, simple, and delicate in flavor, no black bean sauce, no chili oil unless you add it yourself.

Step 1: Choose your noodle

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Noodles are important to satisfy your appetite for the day. Today, Auntie Chan decided on Ho Fun* (河粉), and I decided on Mi Fun* (米粉). ,Ho Fun is a wide, soft rice based noodle that carries that is easy to slurp with the broth. Mi Fun is a thin, rice noodle with a little bite. It is often confused for Fun Si.

*English spelling of these noodles are in Cantonese

Step 2: Prep your palate

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Pick up the spoon in your off hand. Take a slurp of the broth to prep your palate.

Step 3: Prepare the Spoon

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Then fill the spoon with chili, soy sauce, and red vinegar to the ratio of your tasting. Place the chopsticks in your dominate hand. I recommend keeping the amount small so that you dump the sauce into your bowl and take a spoonful of broth when things get salty.

Step 4: The First Bite

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Take some noodles with your chopsticks. Dip the noodles into your saucy spoon. Slurp up those nicely coated noodles and savor the flavor.

Step 5: Enjoy

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My time in Guangzhou has been nonstop nostalgia. Ironically, this is not nostalgia of Guangzhou, but of the back of my parent’s restaurant in the suburbs of Milwaukee during the early 2000s. My dad would often make noodle soup just like this, a little more peppery, and a touch more ginger, but always with Mi Fun. My dad must have passed many of his days in the streets of Guangzhou.

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