Monthly Archives: July 2017

Noodle Narrative: Bree Iskandar


Tradition & What it Means to be Chinese American

Bree Iskandar, a Lab Technician at Emory University, truly embodies what it means to be Chinese American. She is 100% genetically Chinese, as all of her grandparents were born in China. However, both of her parents were born in Indonesia, and she and her brother were born in the United States. She and her family have been influenced by every country they lived in, yet strongly maintain the traditions of their homeland. Being Chinese American is just that: primarily Chinese, yet embracing the blend of cultures and familial flexibility of American culture. Bree reflects this on a number of levels.

Because her parents divorced when she was very young, she grew up in two households, with two separate sets of culinary traditions. Although both households were 100% genetically Chinese, each side maintained and upheld certain Chinese traditions while also fostering their own personal traditions. Bree was conscious of and participated in most national culinary practices, such as dumplings and long life noodles. However, this interview proved to be the first time she thought critically about dishes so fundamental to her life, though it was easy for an outside perspective to identify culinary customs unique to Bree and her family. Therefore, one can claim Bree Iskandar’s relationship with food and tradition reflects the Chinese principle of harmony: harmony between different family units, between traditional and nontraditional foods, between conscious and unconscious meanings, between conventional and personal traditions, and between two cultures coordinating to become one: Chinese American.

When I first approached Bree about this interview, she was hesitant, believing her noodle traditions to be unexceptional, if present at all. However, upon further describing the assignment and my assurances that even what she may consider to be the most unexceptional understanding of noodles may even be the most significant, she agreed. Throughout the interview, I was struck by how casually she discussed traditions she had been practicing her entire life. Although they seemed so unremarkable as to warrant an interview, Bree also commented that if she were to have kids, she would carry on these traditions. This statement was particularly noteworthy, because although she was still debating about having children, she didn’t need a moment to consider carrying on the traditions she grew up with. They were already fully embraced and culturally ingrained.

Bree’s maternal side reflects the celebration of traditional dumplings as well as numerous societal conventions. The three generations would gather at least every other week for the day, either eating out at a traditional Chinese restaurant or cooking their own meals. The act of coming together, dining together, and thus bringing the family closer together, is characteristic of traditional Chinese values. Sharing a meal allows individuals to communicate better and facilitates better understandings of each other.

When discussing these meals, Bree spoke fondly, continuing the conversation about her beloved grandmother off camera and after the interview had ended. This not only reflects the Chinese custom of meals bringing people together, but also of the respect for one’s elders. Bree provided one particular example that highlights all of these features: crispy seafood noodles. The dish is ordered when the three generations come together and go out for a family meal. It is a favorite among her family and is shared “family style.” While they reflect this customary Chinese culinary tradition, they have also adopted their own personal one. Bree’s grandmother sits at the head of the table and does the honors of breaking up the noodles and serving the dish. Although it was easy for me to see which aspects of Chinese culture Bree and her family embody, even just through this one meal, Bree explicitly mentioned that she hadn’t before questioned this tradition. To me, however, the supposed banality Bree approached this historically rich and culturally connotative practice simply demonstrates how ingrained it has become in her life. This mentality further demonstrates the blending of two cultures theoretically at odds: the solemn ceremony of Chinese tradition and the informal flexibility of American habit.

Another aspect found in American culture is the unconventional family unit. For Bree, this means two households with two unique traditions. While her maternal side embraces dumplings, her paternal side embraces the tradition of the long life noodles. Although she does know the symbolic meanings of each ingredient and understands the values depicted, Bree explained, “I know it’s a good luck tradition, but I think that is the extent for me.” The tradition, though, has taken on more than the customary significance. While it is celebrated in the serious manner the noodles call for, the tradition has become more about celebrating and upholding the nuclear family. Not once has Bree and her family missed celebrating a birthday with long life noodles; it is time together that they look forward to every year. Even though coming to college has made some customs more difficult to uphold, she has never been away from family on her birthday. It is also a tradition she hopes to continue if she does choose to have children. Although it may not hold the same significance as it might have for her grandparents, or as we have seen historically throughout this course, it does take on a new connotation, albeit not the one originally intended. It would be interesting to further study whether this is unique to Bree, or if perhaps her brother understands the tradition differently. The notion of meaning making, as sociology elucidates, is both personal and communal. Émile Durkheim is one such sociologist and explains the process of meaning making, explaining that there is a collective conscious through which communities decide meanings. While individuals do participate in this collective, there are also aspects that are uniquely personal, as each individual understands an object or action through their own pair of rose-colored glasses.

For example, when Bree came across the country to attend college, there were few people who understood the cultural connotations that she grew up with. It was challenging for her to maintain traditions, particularly food oriented traditions, without a collective community there for support. However, she did eventually have a Chinese roommate with whom she could share some traditional foods, such as moon cake. Even with this community of two, though, the meaning was not the same as it was with her family. Seeing as Chinese cuisine is dependent upon notions of community, or at the very least celebrates the power food can have on bringing people together, it begs the question as to whether meanings of foods are static or are temporally and contextually conditional. Bree’s story acts as one possible manifestation of what it means to be Chinese American, and her understandings of foods is unique to her, but further studies could elucidate how meanings may change throughout generations, immigrations, and time.

Blog 1

Chinese culture blazes with its multifaceted beauty in every family’s kitchen, around every dinning table and beyond people’s taste bud. During the whole ” Eat drink man woman”, what I feel the most were three traits commonly used to describe Chinese culture: truth, goodness and beauty. It is true because life is always bittersweet, never too hard yet never too easy. As stated in the movie: “Every family has skeletons in the closet”. Chu’s wife left long time ago and Chu had to carry the whole family and his responsibility as a chef all by himself. Even so, Chu holds his family with exquisite culinary skill day by day. Gradually, daughters grow up with their independent thoughts. Jia jen is mature, calm and tranquil most likely, but when she dresses up with a red dress and gallops away with boyfriend I see an outburst of her fervor suppressed for a long time; Jia Chien seems to be the most westernized, however, she becomes the last one stay at home, revealing her traditional Chinese mindset deep in her core; Jia Ning’s job shed light on her life experiences.Falling in love quickly and being pregnant in no time just like having fast food. As generation gap deprives common topics between father and daughters, as daughters leave home one by one, as old father lost his taste and can’t cook food delicious enough to gather his children around, I feel their bitterness as if I were them. Look into my family, we also have different sorts of conflicts concerning foods. As a common phenomenon in China, my parents are too busy to cook especially on weekdays, so my grandparents take care of all kitchen affairs. However, they almost never satisfy my stomach. As they age and taste degenerates, they can’t cook delicious food. On the other hand, the frugality rooted in their minds for decades makes them apathetic about those delicious but expensive foods. For them, porridge and white rice with some appetizers are always perfect. As a result, I don’t have meat to eat. Fortunately, my parents always stand by my side and bring lots of food materials home. Even so, my dear grandparents can’t cook them properly or they just forget their existence. In the end, I have to have porridge while seeing delicacy placed everywhere at home but go bad and finally be tossed to rubbish bin. As a result, i usually go out for food instead of staying home. This is Chinese culture in a nutshell. Difference in food preferences, conflicts between traditional Chinese mindset and Westernization mindset, together with all sorts of intricacies in society make Chinese family meal usually in somber atmosphere. However, as father Chu says: “It is worry that makes us a family.” Worrying while rejoicing is the eternal melody of Chinese family meal. Secondly, the movie reflects goodness in Chinese culture. Among all the goodness, being filial is of the greatest importance. In the movie, Jia Jen stops Jia Ning’s complaints about father’s cooking since she wants to take care of father’s pride; Jia Chien can’t withhold her tears in the hospital upon a sight of father’s back since she suddenly realizes that her father is aging; Jia Chien gives up a nice opportunity to Amsterdam in order to stay home with father since she knows her father needs nothing but daughter’s company. Such plot always touches the softest part of my heart. Last but not least, the movie exhibits so much beauty. Upon the first glance of a table of delicacy, i drool as if i could not only see but also smell the fragrance of those dishes. Besides the beauty of delicacy, the whole family gathering around for meal is also a kind of beauty. It makes me reminiscent of my last New Year’s Eve dinner three years ago. I put aside my homework; parents stop their work; family takes photos altogether and do fireworks after midnight. The beauty of being together is more meaningful than a table of delicacy. After that, i came to the USA and Chinese New Year is spent in classes. Family members and family meal become images on the other side of computer screen.

Talking about the “Big Night”, Brothers move from Italy to America to start their dream. Unfortunately I don’t have any acquaintance who is cook so that i can’t draw any comparison from real life experience. What i read in the movie is that brothers not only treat their job as a way of living but also as their belief. They have persistent even a little stubborn altitude toward cooking. However, reality rapes them with chicanery and cruel financial crisis. Here comes a dilemma: Brothers might make through the straits with sacrifice of their rooted belief about Italian cooking, otherwise they’ll become insolvent. When hesitating around in the dilemma, i came up with father Chu’s words:”Life isn’t like cooking after all. I can’t wait until all the ingredients are properly prepared… and laid out before starting to cook”. Indeed, some problems will come beyond our expectation rather than well-prepared food material. Should the brothers prepare earlier and make compromise to the reality, the ‘Big Night’ may be a real party rather than a gamble.

Category: Student Work

Blog 2

My story with Gelato

Back in my childhood, ice-lolly was always a normal but agreeable necessity in hot summer. Small markets across from my primary school were always crowded by boisterous kids. I, as a part of them, valued ice-lolly much higher than those snacks. However, due to its mass production by machine, ice-lolly seldom have exquisite nicety. That’s why it’s cheap and commonplace. I still remember the first time i tasted Italian ice-cream. Here i refer to it as “ice-cream” with no offense since when i first tasted it i didn’t know the term “Gelato” but only “ice-cream”. I can imagine that if you ask for an Italian Gelato shopkeeper for ice-cream, he may seriously rectify his product as Gelato rather than ice-cream. In my point of view, being called Gelato is an important respect to shopkeepers’ hand-made products. As i know, different from ice-cream, Gelato is always hand-made.

That was a hot and exhausting afternoon, i took a day of class and really wished to have an ice-lolly. However, an Italian Gelato store appeared in my sight. With an impulse to try it, i bought a blend of favor with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, together with some add-on such as little candy and blueberry. Through the first bite to the last one, it was all about cool, refreshing and delicious. During summertime in my city, sometimes people worn out and have no appetite. I believe that Gelato can be the best choice for them. Beginning that day, i visited that Gelato store everyday and i began to try those favors i dared not choose at the first place. Pepper, chocolate chili and so on, are surely formidable to take a try. I tried all of them in a few days. Every time gave me special experience. From this, i saw Italian people’s creativity, sweetness, uniqueness and romantic. They are creative because they try so many different favors and avoid being pedestrian; they are sweet because they create sweetest Gelato in hot summer; they are unique because even for the same favor different shopkeeper creates different taste; they are romantic because they treat hand-made Gelato as a special artwork, as their interest.

Gelato has largely pleased mood in many summer days. If i were asked to use an Italian food to incarnate Italian people, i will definitely insist Gelato.


Category: Student Work

Blog 3

Nanjing noodle, being one of my favorite food, has accompanied me through my growth and becomes a main source of my nostalgia these years. It’s categorized as hodgepodge noodle with many different ingredients. Likewise, it contains much of my memories.

I heard of it from an old Nanjing people. He lived in Nanjing all his life so as to become an experienced foodie. If not for his rich experience, I really doubt if I can ever get to know this noodle since it’s the kind that always conceals in deep alley rather than in populous areas. I remember my first time to that simple and crude place. Literally it can’t be defined as a restaurant. It was more like I went to their house and had noodle in their dinning room, and bedrooms were next to us closed for guests. There were only few tables but I felt no worry about their business well-being because there were incessantly many people coming. In fact, it opens from only 9a.m to 3p.m, partly because their staff are overall old, but more importantly they earn enough money even for such short business hour. The preparing process was like an rigorous maneuver. One stirs noodle in a gigantic pot with water vapor pervading around; one put bowls arrayed in series on another table; one gets all kinds of different ingredients into the bowls, and others deal all kinds of guests’ needs and deliver noodle. The noodle looks wild and even a little vulgar. A layer of spicy oil floating above. It could be frightening for someone, but for me it’s always hard to resist it’s delicious favor. Their chili oil is their secret prescription that accomplishes their great popularity. Every time you come, they will ask you for exact scale from: little little spicy, little spicy, normal, very spicy and ultra spicy.

Gradually, I become familiar with their staff. They may care about my lifewise well-being every time I come home from the USA, care about if I’m taller or thinner, and give me more ingredients and extra noodle for free. In return, I’d love to take friends to there. For old friends, we’d love to chat while enjoying noodle every reunion; for foreign friends or friends from other provinces of China, I will introduce this kind of noodle while introduce my hometown Nanjing.

In a nutshell, Nanjing noodle is not only my favorite food but also becomes one of my important ways of social networking.


Category: Student Work

Noodle Narratives

Since I grew up with eating noodles made by my grandmother while my parents were busy on their jobs, I believe she can be a wonderful interviewee with the quality of volubility and confidence. That I lived with her and was fully emerged in and highly influenced by her view of culture, which perfectly achieves the anthropological concept of culture relativism, can be another reason for her to be my interviewee. She was born and grew up in Jiangxi, China and moved to Hubei province at her 20s. These two places are located in the southern part of China and most of the citizens there eat rice for their daily cuisines. Living in the societies that do not regard noodles as a major dish for almost all of her life, my grandmother can have a distinctive perspective on noodles from those residents in the northern areas of China. During the conversation, curiosity, conversion and nutrition would be the three primary points that summarize her perception of noodles.

Jiangxi province has long been known as ‘land of fish and rice’, which conveys it is abundant with various food resources. Even though it is not common for Jiangxi citizens to take noodles, they have a tradition of eating Longevity noodles or Sau Mein on birthdays, the first day of lunar calendar, and days that important guests visit. In Chinese, “long” is also the prefix of the word that represents “long-life”. Therefore, as the spaghetti-shaped noodles are elongated for more than one meter, it perfectly symbolizes the “long” to attain people’s desire of “longevity”. My grandmother also mentioned the noodles always contain two eggs as eggs symbolize richness. Longevity noodle is the product invented from people’s fine and dandy yearns of their future lives. In this case, only being able to eat Longevity noodles occasionally, my grandmother regarded it as a luxury and developed great interest on the noodles.

Later on, she formed her family in Hubei province and the curiosity towards noodles disappeared with the discovery of diverse noodles in Hubei. Among them, she likes the Wuhan specialty Hot Dry noodles the most. It is made of a mixture of alkaline noodles, chili oil, sesame source, shallot, pickled vegetables and cilantros. The pungent and refreshing flavor competes the plain flavor of Longevity noodles. The conversion of her preference towards noodles started from the time she met the new culture. When I asked her whether she cooked Longevity noodles for her children to maintain the tradition from her hometown, she responded that when the kids were young, the tradition stayed for a few years, but later on the kids turned to not prefer the Longevity noodles. It is simply because the children, growing up in Hubei province, were fonder of piquant Hubei traditional noodles or western birthday cakes. She cannot judge if the conversion of her flavor preference and the difference of the attitudes between her children and herself to traditional Longevity noodles are laudable or not. I think she believed it is a normal trend of the culture development if one moves to live with another culture.

Although my grandmother changed her attitudes to Longevity noodles after moving to a new place, she still believes the traditional noodles have the excellent nutritional value that other modern snacks cannot achieve. Even though the convenience noodles are easier to access and manipulate, she dislikes the artificial ingredients and understands the deleterious feature of the preservatives. Taking the noodles occasionally is acceptable, but it is never practical to have it everyday. The fresh, homemade traditional noodles made from the wheat flour are always better options to maintain good health than the instant noodles.

Through the conversation, my grandmother narrates her changing attitudes towards the traditional Longevity noodles along her life, from the novelty to acquaintance and then to appreciation. This is an understandable adjustment through my personal experience. When people are young, they are always curious about the distinct traditions and the stories behind. For instance, it is not surprised to greet all the relatives and obtain the “Red Money Packet” at the first day of Chinese New Years. Kids learn various etiquettes for different situations, and the freshness of new knowledge always attracts their attentions. However, the newness gradually shades away as along as kids grow up. The newfangled activities are more favored to them. They follow the trend to explore the newer technology and visit other places to reveal other untouched cultures. New inventions such as instant meals, exotic food and snacks can easily substitute the spot of traditional cuisines in their hearts. Nonetheless, after leaving the original culture and food for years, it is not surprised for a person to reminiscent the benefit of the tradition. For example, the first time I realize I deeply love Wuhan food and culture was when I left home to study abroad for college. The beauty of traditional culture is being aware usually when one leaves the culture. This is probably why there is a trend that adults and seniors always miss their childhood.

Traditions transmit from generations to generations and the same changing of attitudes towards traditions happens to every generation repeatedly. Tradition is an agent that inherits ancestors’ culture and perception, and descendants like us shall spend the whole life to fathom its delicacy.

Category: Student Work

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The chinese dish that I want to talk about in this post is not traditional by an means. It is actually a form of dumplings that we get in India, and which was introduced to us by the Chinese influence in Shillong, India (North India). This dish in none other that the infamous MOMOS!!

Since I was a kid growing up in South India, I have been exposed to a great influence from the north-east. My mum who was born in Assam (which is very close to the border of China), had a very interesting exposure to Chinese food as a child. As a result, most of the food that I ate as a kid had tastes of north east of India embedded in it. However, the one dish that was always my favorite was momos.

Momos are a kind of north-east Indian dumpling. They come in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions, containing diced cabbage, onions, carrots and chicken respectively. They are made into little parcels just like dumpling, and are steamed in a bamboo container. They are then served piping hot with are really spicy chutney. Each bite of a momo is like sinking your teeth in a fluff of clouds. Being a form of Chinese cooking, the ingredients are very simple, but are packed with immense flavor. It is usually made in places with really cold climate, and along with the spicy chutney serves as a tonic for the people.

My mum made this every now and then when I was a child, and my sister and I always looked forward to eating it. We would beg and plead and when it finally worked my mum would prepare the ingredients all day and make it for us for dinner. It was the perfect thing to eat. Nutritional, filling, easy to digest and most importantly TASTY; these are some of the characteristic of momos and I think it is very reflective of the Chinese outlook on food. After we grew up a bit, my sister and I would help my mum make these small parcels of joy and we realized that this added to how we felt when we ate it. It was even tastier (like that was possible right?!). That’s when I realized that it was also about the experience, and reading Lin Yutang’s article confirmed that for me. Chinese food is an art which can be experienced and I feel after the years of tradition and evolution they’ve got a pretty good hang of it. I am a big fan and I hope to try more authentic Chinese food throughout the rest of my life!

Here is a recipe of the momo. I hope you guys make it and are able to feel the same way as I did as a child:

momos chutney recipe | tomato garlic chili chutney for veg momos recipe


Category: Student Work

Blog Entry 3

Due to the diverse historical backgrounds and geographic features, Chinese cuisine is well known for its variety, creativity and deliciousness. Chinese chefs can produce various dishes from the same ingredients and every dish has its own historical meaning and special story. Among the Chinese dishes I have tasted, there is one dish that is distinctive to me.

Hot dry noodles, a traditional breakfast food of Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province in China. Hot dry noodles have a long history of nearly 90 years, and it can be easily purchased from street carts in Wuhan. Hot dry noodles also have an interesting history of creation. In about 1930s, an owner of a small noodle restaurant spilt the sesame oil on alkaline noodles. The next day, he boiled the noodles and mixed it with pickled radishes and soy sauce, and was surprised by the deliciousness of the dish. As alkaline noodles are less perishable than other noodles, hot dry noodles spread its popularity around the tropical Wuhan area.

As my family moved from Guangdong province to Hubei province, the first time I tasted hot dry noodles was when I was 6 years old. When I saw the yellow noodles with brown sauce in an old restaurant, I doubted on its cleanness and refused to taste it. Because of the suggestion of my parents, I finally tasted it. A strong flavor of sesame came into my mouth, and the noodles were too dry that I could not swallow. The first meeting with hot dry noodles was not a delight one and I kept my bias on it for years until I went to middle school. Most of my middle school classmates are from Wuhan and they love hot dry noodles. After they highly recommended hot try noodles for weeks, I finally decided to give it a chance. In the restaurant, my friend taught me the importance of eating the noodles is stirring along eating. In this case, the soy sauce and sesame oil at the bottom can be fully mixed with the top noodles so that it will not become too try. Accepting their advice, I am surprisingly aware of how tasty the golden, glossy noodles with pickled vegetables are. From then on, I deleted the hot dry noodles in my black list and developed my own recipe of the ingredients. I would like to inform the chef to add standard sesame oil, soy sauce, no shallot, less chili oil, and extra pickled vegetables and cilantros to personalize my hot dry noodles. It became my lunch in most of my high school days.

After graduating high school, I went to Atlanta for college. The unique environment and exotic cuisine surrounded me every day. A few months later, I was tired of American food and nostalgic about the Chinese cuisine. Hot dry noodle is the dish I missed the most and I bought the convenience hot dry noodles from Amazon. However, the taste is never the same. It is hard to have alkaline noodles. Even though I prepared the same ingredients, I cannot achieve the same tastes by the small restaurant near my high school.

I returned to Wuhan during the winter break in my freshman year. The first thing I did after landing was to eat the hot dry noodles. When I tasted the familiar aroma from the ingredients, I had an authentic feeling of backing home. True, it is not possible to obtain the same taste in the U.S., even though one has the same ingredients. The hot dry noodle I love is only the hot dry noodle in Wuhan, because it is more a miniature of all my memories in Wuhan than a bowl of noodles. It contains all my love and affection to the city and the people in the city.

Pictures from

Category: Student Work

Chinese food: Xiao Long Bao

I have really taken a liking to Chinese food in the last couple years. I’ve tried doing some dishes, but the one that I’ve always wanted to perfect is the soup dumpling. I have to admit I went to my first dim sum place in Seattle unfortunately pretty late in my life, where I’m from, and where the Asian fusion cuisine runs through the streets. I absolutely fell in love. The restaurant that is most famous in Seattle is called Din Tai Fung, its famous throughout Hong Kong and has several installments in the United States. I remember going in for the first time with my friends my sophomore year of high school. Chinese cuisine was always a treat for me as most of my family has always been extremely picky about food. Consequently it was more of a rare treat for me, or something that I used to go out with my friends to eat. I love the style of ordering and how the cuisine is actually run. Its different from an American or typical Italian layout of a meal. There is no structure like Antipasti, Primi, Secondi, and Dolce; or starters; you order what you want how you want it, in batches of however much you think you may need. I’m sure there is more of a custom in China with the cuisine, but I’ve only been able to experience the Chinese American restaurants. The cuisine is full of strong rich and innovative flavors with technique like no other. I definitely felt more connected to Italian cuisine over my life, but I would definitely choose Chinese cuisine to dive further into and explore more for myself. Dough is always so tricky to deal with, but the soup dumpling needs to be perfectly crafted; the dough must be light and thin, but not too thin for the gelatin to escape before biting into it. The gelatin is also tricky, as adding too much may result in a thick, sticky, and obviously too gelatinous soup dumpling. One of my favorite type is the Xiao Long Bao or pork soup dumpling and i think the sauce is perfectly rich for a soup dumpling but nothing too much like a heavier cut of beef or gamey like lamb. Past the dough recipe and the technique behind the Xiao Long Bao, the real flavor behind the soup dumpling comes from a good pork and chicken stock. Use Chinese aromatics like green garlic, ginger, five spice powder and thrown in a couple of your own twists if you want. But really a good stock must be made from home, its cheaper, tastes better, and you end up with a better product when its homemade. I’ve supplied one of my favorite websites, called lucky peach, which gives a thorough and detailed recipe. Lucky peach has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and I think this recipes should go great… soup dumplings are tricky and time consuming though, so definitely be weary and leave time to make these delicious snacks.

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Wenkai Xu

ITAL 376 W

Prof. Hong Li

Prof. Christine Ristaino

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July 18, 2017


China has a history of eating noodles for over thousands of years and noodles have evolved into different styles depend on different regions. As a native Chinese, I am also a huge fan of Chinese noodles and I am willing to introduce some of our most famous and delicious types of noodles:

1. Wuhan Hot Noodles( “武汉热干面”)

Because Wuhan Hot noodle has a hot and dry texture,  it is also known as Hot and Dry noodles (热干面) in Chinese. The main seasoning is tuned sesame paste. And usually we top with picked spicy radish also from Hubei and sometimes pickled long Chinese green beans.

2. Beijing Noodles (“北京炸酱面”)


Beijing Noodles is also known as Fried Sauce Noodles. It is one kind of chewy noodles with a rich, meaty sauce.

3. Shanxi Sliced Noodles (“山西刀削面”)

This is one kind of cooked wheaten food in North China. The special cooking process, in which a curved knife is used to shave the dough into sliced noodles before being put into the boiled water, is its claim to fame in China.

4. Henan Xiaoji Stewed Noodles (“河南烩面 “)

Henan Noddles is also known as Hui Mian and it has one beautiful history story.  A country woman made a bowl of noodles for Li Shimin to help him when he had a cold, so Li found that woman later after he became the emperor.  Later, the royal cooks began to learn from this woman and named this kind of noodles Hui Mian.

5. Lanzhou Ramen


There are also many other types of mavelous noodles in China. Like Sichuan Spicy Dandan Noodles in Sichuan Province, Jilin Yanji Cold Noodles in Jilin Province, and etc.

Then I am gonna to talk about my own experience of Chinese noodles.

When I was in primary school, crisp instant noodlecrisp(干脆面 in Chinese) which is one kind of street snacks was very populous among us. Every time when we finished our school, we rushed to a local vendor to spend 1 Yuan to buy this crispnoodle.  Every pact of crispnoodle had a different flavor and I remembered that my favorite was BBQ flavor. Together with my friends, we ate, talked, and laughed together on the way home.  That was one of my precious childhood memories.

When I grew up, instant noodles became an important food for me. When I was going on a school trip or on a picnicking, I always brought some instants noodles with me. Even though they might not taste so delicious, they are just so convenient. I just need some boiling water to make one decent lunch in less than 20 minutes.

After traveling many places in China, I have gained a deeper knowledge about Chinese noodles. Noodle itself, is not only merely a food, but also it represents one kind of culture or tradition.  For example, last year I went to Sichuan Province and ate Sichuan Spicy Dandan Noodles. My tourist guide told me that in the history of Sichuan because of the wet and humid weather,  people living here  were eating spicy and dry noodles to keep the moisture away from their body. Later it formed a tradition of eating spicy Sichuan DanDan noodles. Every time when I traveled to a new place, I would eat its local type of noodles: When I was traveling in the north part of China,  I had Fried Sauce Noodles to taste their salty sweetness. When I was in Wuhan, I would eat Hot and Dry noodles to taste its spicyness. Different noodles, become cultural marks of different places.




Category: Student Work

Noodle Narratives 3rd Blog Post – My first authentic Chinese and the dish I had come to love

My relationship to this particular Chinese dish actually relates back to my first time trying authentic Chinese food.

I’m not sure if it was more my personality that led me to form multiple close relationships with the Chinese students on my campus or the time I dedicated to the International Student Association, but needless to say many of my college friends are Chinese. Through them I learned that the Chinese food I had grown to know and love as a child was just a more American imitation of true Chinese cuisine. So I started to become curious as to what real Chinese food was really like and decided to devote some of my time every Friday starting my spring semester to drive the Asian international students to the Asian shopping center in Duluth, Ga (opening up the chance for me to try authentic Chinese). The first time I went to a Chinese restaurant with my friends on the night I first started driving the International students, I had a dish native to the province of my friend Cheryl (Sichuan province). It was Kung Pao chicken- and I thought it tasted wonderful. At the table we shared a lot of dishes (family style) but the chicken was undoubtedly my favorite. It wasn’t too far off in style of American Chinese food for me to see it as foreign and I guess that’s why it grew on me the fastest. Even now it is still the most common dish I incorporate into a Chinese Dinner. I think my relationship with this particular dish is similar to that of the Chinese people in that we typically have a special place in our heart for the dishes we are most familiar with growing up; most Chinese people prefer the cuisine of their own province and I prefer Kung Pao chicken because it is similar to what I was used to eating at Chinese American restaurants.


Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Serves 2 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes


1 1/2 boneless & skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
6-8 dried red chilies, seeded and cut into halves
3 tablespoons oil
5 slices peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, sliced diagonally
1 stalk scallion, cut into rings


1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing rice wine, optional
1 teaspoon oil


1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch


Cut the chicken meat into small cubes, rinse in water, pat dry with paper towels and marinate with the ingredients above for 30 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat up a wok with one tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the marinated chicken until they are 70% cook. Dish out and set aside. Clean the wok and add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until it’s fully heated. Add in the ginger and garlic slices and do a quick stir before adding in the dried red chilies.

Stir fry the dried red chilies until aromatic and smell spicy, then add in the chicken meat. Do a few quick stirs before adding in the roasted peanuts. Add the sauce and stir continuously until the chicken meat is nicely coated with the sauce. Add in the scallions, stir to combine well with the chicken, dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Category: Student Work