Cross Bridge Rice Noodle

This famou s dish originates in Mengzi County in southern Yunnan Province. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there was a tranquil island in the lake outside the county seat of Mengzi, where scholars studied for the imperial exams.

Scholar Yang was one of those isolated on the remote island, free from distractions. Devoted to his studies, he often forgot to eat. His wife, who delivered meals from home to the island, often found his food uneaten because it had grown cold. One day, she made chicken soup and unexpectedly found it blisteringly hot because of the greasy oil on its surface. From that day on, she would make chicken soup with a layer of oil atop, prepared with various thinly sliced ingredients and cooked rice noodles. Adding the sliced vegetables and meat to the boiled soup just before her husband ate ensured a hot meal. Tasting the brittle and delicious noodles, Scholar Yang was motivated towards greater diligence in his studies. Years later, he finally became the Zhuangyuan, the examinee with top marks.

As his wife had to cross a bridge to reach the island, her dish came to be known as Cross Bridge Rice Noodles. With continuous innovation by chefs specializing in Yunnan cuisine, the dish has enjoyed growing fame both at home and abroad.


To cook:

Wash the ribs, chicken and duck, and chop into chunks. Put in boiling water and skim off the froth. Put the chunks of meat in a pressure cooker, together with crushed ginger and Yunnan ham, adding water approximately four to five times the volume of the solid materials. Turn the stove on high, and later reduce it to low flame. Simmer over 60 minutes until the soup thickens with oil floating on the surface, and add some salt.

Serve in a big bowl. First put in the ripe chicken oil, MSG, pepper, and then the chicken broth.

Break a pigeon egg into the bowl. Add fish fillet, fresh sliced meat, chicken, pig liver, scalloped kidney, squid, trepang, and gently stir until boiled. Follow with sausage and grilled pork. Then, put vegetables, such as pea shoot, leek, chopped green onion, shredded ginger, bean sprouts, slices of bamboo shoot and braised beancurd sheets together into the bowl.

Leave the soup for two minutes. Add the boiled rice noodle in and scatter minced green onions. The flavor is especially rich, typifying Yunnan cuisine.