Yi Mian (Braised Noodles 伊面)
What is it?
Yi mian is a type of egg noodle that originates from Guangdong Province. Shaped like spaghetti, it is made from eggs and flour. But the egg noodle is first cooked in boiling water and deep fried twice (not unlike instant noodles). The delicacy, definitely not for those who are counting their calories, is perfect with dishes that feature thick gravy or sauce.
Why is it famous?
Legend has it that the dish was created accidentally when the chef of the Qing Dynasty calligrapher Yi Bingshou (1754-1815) mistakenly put egg noodles that had already been cooked into a wok filled with boiling oil. The chef improvised and decided to serve the noodles together with a stock. Unexpectedly, the dinner guests loved the dish and sang its praises. Over time, the noodles became known yi mian (yi is named after the calligrapher while mian means noodles). Some say yi mian is what later inspired instant noodles, which uses a similar method of first deep-frying the noodles before cooking it in hot water again to soften.
Where to eat it?
One of the most popular variations of the noodle meal is one that’s cooked with lobster. In Hong Kong, many restaurants serve yi mian with braised lobster too, sometimes topped with grilled cheese. Another classic version of the noodle is the braised yi mian with straw mushroom. The dish, which can be made entirely vegetarian, cooks the noodle with mushroom, chives before it is braised in a sauce that is concoction of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and stock.
For a unique dining experience try Loaf On Seafood in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. The restaurant, which was awarded one Michelin star in 2012, is famous for its fresh seafood. Loaf On Seafood, 49 Market Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong (Tel: 852-2792-9966).
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