Q is for qiáo (桥) or bridge. Or more importantly, the qiáo in guòqiáomǐxiàn (过桥米线) "Over the Bridge Noodles." The part of China in which we live is famous for "Over the Bridge Noodles." And in order to bring you the best of local culture, I made a special visit to a nearby noodle restaurant. But first... the story:
In more ancient times there lived a scholar who, in diligent preparation for his examinations, sought the peace and quiet of a lake island. He stayed in a little shelter there, and his loving wife would bring him meals every day across a long, connecting zig-zag bridge. He was so engrossed in his studies, however, that he often forgot to eat. The food, having already traveled far, would turn cold and unappetizing. As he became more and more thin, his wife worried for his health. One day she sent a nourishing hen in a pot, which he once again neglected to eat. When his wife arrived, she noticed the untouched meal and thought that surely it would be inedible. To her surprise, when she uncovered the pot, the hen and broth were still hot. In this way, she discovered that the oil from the fat of the hen would keep the broth hot and that she could even add cold vegetables and noodles to it to be cooked. From then on she brought a pot of hot broth covered with a film of oil and, separately, the other ingredients to be added and cooked later. And her husband could always have a hot meal.
This is the premise of "Over the Bridge Noodles"... a bowl of hot chicken broth with a sealing film of oil to which you add uncooked greens, meat, and noodles.
So sparing no expense... I took the #66 bus to The Brothers Jiang, which is a noodle serving franchise with locations all over the city and specializing in "Over the Bridge Noodles." Tons of business folks and students grab a quick lunch here every day. Natives will tell you that there are other, more authentic places to get the "Over the Bridge" experience; but this restaurant is pretty popular and well-known. So I put my nine yuan (about $1.30) down for the bottom of the line, least exotic version; and here's what I received....
I'll try to identify some of the add-ins:
tofu skin on the plate with the spring onions and chives
quail egg (another Q word!)
some unidentified meat slivers that may have been liver and squid
Then I dumped a huge bowl of rice noodles in with the rest. I added some red pepper to mine for a spicier flavor. After that, it's much like a treasure hunt. Here's the egg....
And me coming to the end. I did spoon out some of the soup to drink.
I am linking up with Teacher Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday. You can find many wonderful and creative Q posts here.
The gorgeous bridge image displayed above was taken in 1924 by Sidney D. Gamble and restored by ralph repo. It depicts the Jade Belt Bridge 玉带桥 (or Camel Back Bridge) on the grounds of the Summer Palace in Beijing. It is "an 18th century pedestrian Moon bridge." Please check out more information about this lovely photo and bridge here.