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Chinese Spaghetti in Wuhan, Have you tried?

Wuhan, China

"Morning. Which place to go today? We haven't been to that one beside the Machine Tools Factory for a long time. How about that? Alright, I'll meet you there". It is 6:30 in the morning. Lao Wang, a middle-aged man is making a call to an old friend to discuss the breakfast café they are going to meet at.

He runs a China Hotel in Wuhan, a city in central China dubbed as the stove city for its hot weather in summer. Their breakfast get-together (can be literally translated as Guo Zao: to spend the morning) has a history of 10 years since Wang was laid off. So are many other people of this city. Thanks to the rich variety of snacks in Wuhan, a leisurely taken breakfast with friends has long been a necessary start for hundreds and thousands of locals.

The most popular snack for breakfast is undoubtedly Re Gan Mian (Hot noodles with sesame paste mixture). To make it, you need spaghetti, sesame paste, soy sauce, salt, black pepper and green onion. If you can find some, the flavored chopped dry radish (Luo Bo Gan) would be a great icing on the cake. The spaghetti should be prepared the prior night, boiled and dried --- but not too dry in case the spaghetti get stuck together --- and processed with some kind of alkali. When making the noodle, immerse the spaghetti into boiled water for a while and dry it out. Then put the put the premade sesame paste, soy sauce, salt, green onion and black pepper in and mix them up. The taste is probably a bit strange for most first-timers --- think of the noodle with very little water but rich flavour --- but nearly all who takes another try will love it at once. The phrase Re Gan Mian is probably the most written word in the home letters of Wuhaners in foreign places. It has become a symbol of the city, like hamburger is to the Americans.

Like milk is for bread, soymilk is the best companion to Re Gan Mian. It is the rich creamy milk made from whole soybeans. To make it, the soybeans are soaked for a few hours before grinded with water. The fluid which results after straining is soymilk. In different places, soymilk can be made from a variety of beans, ranging from black soy beans to mung beans. In Wuhan however, most if not all soymilk peddled are made from soya beans.

Other popular breakfast snacks include rice wine (Mi Jiu), a lite wine made from rice and tastes like Japanese sake; Dou Pi, steamed rice covered by a thin skin of egg-bean powder mixture; and Zha Ci Ba (fried glutinous rice cake), a rectangular fried cake made of glutinous rice.

Most people take their breakfast at little roadside stalls or small restaurants near home or office. The usually one-hour long breakfast is unthinkable in western cities. However, besides the delicious snacks, conversation at breakfast is probably another reason for people to stick to it. It is a major circumstance of social communication. Very often a breakfast can start with two people and end with five --- more new friends are made thereafter. Topics can range from family trivial to international relationship. Right or wrong is not a major concern here. Even children can join in at times, if they are bold enough to challenge their fathers. That is partly how tradition is formed, I guess.

7: 50. Lao Wang has taken his last drop and is saying goodbye to his friend. You will probably see him again tomorrow morning at another stall, with an old friend. Or a new one?

permalink written by  vincy on October 29, 2008 from Wuhan, China
from the travel blog: My Travel
tagged RestgoWuhanTravelChinaHotels

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