The adventures of Guangxi’s rice noodles

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A family feasts on a big bowl of laoyou rice noodles at Laoyouwang restaurant in Nanning, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, December 9, 2018.
Photo: CGTN

If you visit south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, you can’t miss rice noodles. From capital Nanning to tourism city Guilin, from mango-hometown Baise to longevity village Bapantun, the people of Guangxi would not call it a day without eating a bowl of rice noodles.

There are three symbolic rice noodles in Guangxi: Nanning-special laoyou rice noodles, the well-known Guilin rice noodles, and internet-sensation river snail rice noodles from Liuzhou.

They, to an extent, showcase the changes this region has witnessed in the past six decades.

In the 1930s, an old man in Nanning used to visit a tea house every day. But once, he did not show up for many days due to the flu. When the tea house owner heard about it, he prepared a bowl of hot noodles for the old man with pickled bamboo shoots, chilli, fermented soya beans, and crushed garlic.

The sour and spicy noodles helped the old man recover fast. The old man was grateful to the tea house owner and later sent him a plaque reading “old friend frequent.”

That’s how laoyou noodles also known as “old friend noodles”, got its name. Since the people of Nanning love eating rice noodles, the dish gradually became laoyou rice noodles.

“In Nanning, if you mention laoyou, it not only refers to laoyou rice noodles but also a kind of cuisine that tastes sour and spicy,” said Huang Weining, founder of Laoyouwang restaurant.

Huang, a Nanning native, has run the restaurant focusing on laoyou cuisine for 11 years. His grandfather and father both worked in the catering industry, and he learned about the laoyou noodle story and Nanning cuisine culture during his childhood.

Out of his interest in laoyou cuisine, he quit his job at a state-run company and visited famous local chefs and ingredients production places to seek the best flavor for his own restaurant. As his restaurant has become more popular, he now hopes to further develop laoyou cuisine to open more restaurants next year and also develop packaged laoyou rice noodles.

Read the full article at CGTN:

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