Hot dry noodles
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|Hot dry noodles|
Hot dry noodles (right), Dou pi (left), and Jiuniang （Sweet rice wine）.
|Literal meaning||hot and dry noodles|
Hot dry noodles (热干面 pinyin rè gān miàn), also known as reganmian, is a traditional dish of Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province in central China. Hot Dry Noodles has a history in Chinese food culture for 80 years, and it is unique because the noodles are not in soup like most other Asian style noodles. It is the most significant, famous and popular breakfast food in Wuhan, often sold in street carts and restaurants in residential and business areas. Breakfasts such as Hot dry noodles are available from as early as 5 am, and usually appears on night markets as a snack during late night times in Wuhan. The noodle could be prepared in minutes and affordable, therefore it becomes the most popular breakfast choice.
Hot dry noodles restaurants stand all over the city. Typical hot dry noodles contain soy sauce, sesame paste, pickled vegetables, chopped garlic chives and chili oil. Hot dry noodles, along with Shanxi's knife-cut noodles (刀削面: Daoxiaomian), Liangguang's yifumian, Sichuan's dandanmian, and northern China's zhajiangmian, are collectively referred to "Top five noodles of China" by People's Daily, and rated No.1 in the list titled in "China's Top 10 famous noodles" by Business Insider in 2013 The specifics of the preparation of hot dry noodles is discussed in Wuhan author Chi Li's novel '热也好冷也好活着就好'.
The recipe for hot dry noodles is different from cold noodles and noodles in soup.
Both Wuhan and Szechuan cuisine make extensive use of chilies to cleanse the palate and cope with the humid climate. The chef will cook the fresh noodles mixed with sesame oil in boiling water. When the noodles get cooked and cooled down, it becomes pliable. Before eating, the noodles will be cooked in the same process again. Finally, dressings including spring onion and sauce will be added. While preparing hot dry noodles, the noodles are placed into a Chinese strainer (a cone-shaped strainer) and dipped briefly into boiling water and then swirled and drained. The noodles will be poured into a paper bowl and the sauce and pickled vegetables will be poured on the top of the noodles. Chili oil is usually used in the seasoning of hot dry noodles as well as a bit of fresh coriander.
The summer time in Wuhan is extremely long, and the high temperature causes food's rapid deterioration. As a result, people added dietary alkali into noodles to avoid deterioration, that is the predecessor of hot dry noodles.
A widely circulated rumor is, in the early 1930s, there was a small food stand operated by Bao Li, a hawker who made a living by selling bean noodles and noodle soups near a temple in Hankou. One day, Li poured sesame oil onto his noodles accidentally, and he boiled those noodles then added shallot and other condiments on the next day and sold them on next morning. His noodles became very popular because of its unique taste, and customers asked Bao Li what kind of noodle it is, Bao Li answered: Hot dry noodles.
It is difficult to find hot dry noodles outside of Wuhan. Nevertheless, during the development and spread of the making technique, people in Xinyang, a city in Henan Province, formed their own special way to make hot dry noodles and it became a branch of hot dry noodles eventually.
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