Weishan 巍山: two noodle marvels
There are several unique culinary traditions in Weishan. It’s worth to mention two different local kinds of noodles: one made from wheat and one from rice.
#1. The marvel of wheat
Yī gēn miàn 一根面, or “one noodle”, is exactly what the name suggests: one single thread of noodle. And it can be long. Very long. Several years ago local people tried to set the world record of noodle lenght… succesfully: the result was a strand of whopping 1704 meters of noodle!
“一碗面是一根，一锅面是一根，一家人吃的是一根，一千人吃的还是一根……”Rough translation: one bowl a strand, one pot a strand, what one family eats is one strand and what one thousand people eat is still one strand of noodle.
#2. The marvel of rice
Ěrkuài 饵块 is a kind of rice cake well known all over Yunnan (but not so much in other parts of China, except maybe Guizhou). Rice is first steamed, then pounded, and finally kneaded into desired shape. One of the popular forms is a thin pancake-like erkuai. Erkuai cubes or loafs may also be cut into thin strands of noodles and then called ĕrsī 饵丝. They look like your standard rice noodles and are also used in the same way, mainly in soups.
Weishan has its own dish with ersi noodles. It took me a while, but I have eventually found a restaurant that specializes in it. Pork is stewed for very long time and then pulled into shreds. Extremely succulent and aromatic, the meat slivers finish as the topping for the noodles served in rich broth. This goodness’s name is parou ersi, 肉饵丝 (the first Chinese character won’t display, see “language corner” below).
[Language corner: "肉饵丝"... I am sorry but the first character in this name cannot be displayed on the computer because it is not available in Unicode. You can see it on my photos: It has 火 "huo" element on the left and 巴 "ba" on the right. This "huo+ba character" (火巴字) pronunciation is "pā" and the implied meaning is "softness". For convenience you can replace it with "粑" or Latin letters. So over the internet you will find our meat and noodles dish as "粑肉饵丝" or "pa肉饵丝".]
Language corner: Unicode (computer text encoding standard) currently includes about 75000 Han characters.
Most of them are not in wide use: ancient variants, local dialects (of Chinese or Japanese),
alternative forms you shouldn't bother to care about, etc etc.
"75 thousand" is still far from "all". During my travels, I often encounter characters
that are not in the dictionary, which is both annoying and fascinating.]
Read my other posts about Weishan 巍山, a lovely city in the mountains of Yunnan province, here are the links: