Love in the time of rice noodle soup


Have you heard about Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles, which is a famous Chinese Cuisine? This is rice noodles with meat and vegetables, but don’t forget: a big bowl of delicious and hot soup.

Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles is folk cuisine from Yunnan Province, southwest of China. Yunnan is rich in natural resources and has the largest diversity of plant life in China. But it doesn’t matter where it’s from, because it is delicious, right? Now, I would like to tell you the romantic story behind this dish.

It’s widely-known that Chinese people don’t like to express their thinking directly. Many Chinese have never said “I love you”, or “I need you”, or any such thing. There was a couple who lived in Yunnan province a thousand years ago. They loved each other, but never told each other. The husband hoped to give his family a better living, so he was studying hard for his Imperial exams. The Imperial exams were a kind of exam to select candidates for the state official job, which was almost lifelong occupation. He studied very hard in his academy which lay on a small island with beautiful scenery. His wife delivered hearty lunch every day after she walked a long way and went over a bridge. But lunch had been cool when the husband ate it, because microwave ovens weren’t invented at that time. The wife was so sad. She struggled to find ways to keep lunch warm and delicious like the dishes were just cooked.

One day, the wife got a good idea. She cooked the broth and loaded a big earthen pot with the boiling liquid covered by hot oil to keep the soup hot, and prepared rice noodle for adding in it. Her little son was very naughty, and threw slices of raw meat into the big earthen pot with the broth. She took it out quickly, but she saw the meat had been cooked and it tasted delicious. She was very surprised. She thought, that’s a good way to put other ingredients together. Then she prepared several slices of raw meat and some vegetables for her husband. When she arrived at the island, she put raw meat, vegetable and precooked rice noodle together. The smell spread. All ingredients were just cooked, and the hot soup was eaten. Her husband ate this special lunch with tears in his eyes, then he stood up to bow deeply to her. He was excited to ask her what the name of the dish was. She casually named it ‘Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles’. From that day, the dish was spread widely. People cook it and love it, but most of them don’t know this romantic story of this cuisine.

Cook Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles yourself:

  • Hot broth (any broth you like, pork bone or chicken recommended)
  • Raw meat (pork, beef or chicken), sliced paper-thin
  • Vegetables (your choice: spinach, little cabbage leaves etc.)
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Tofu skin
  • Thin Chinese rice noodles, cooked

Prepare all above, then put them in the hot broth step by step. First put raw meat, then vegetable and mushrooms, Tofu skin, and finally rice noodles. Done. Easy!

Add sauce for serving such as pepper, salt, chilli, etc. to get your own favourite taste.

Crossing the Bridge soup. Photo: utpala/flickr

Featured image: “They loved each other, but never told each other.” Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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