September 01, 2010 | | Comments 34

Having Crossing Bridge Rice Noodle (过桥米线) the Right Way

OK, here is the right way to be served the Crossing Bridge Rice Noodle.

I think.

“I think” because I had obviously never been to Yunnan. I am going by the detailed description of this uniquely Yunnan dish from this post yesterday. Here is the description again. If you had read it yesterday, it’s the same.

Cross Bridge Rice Noodle is a special dish of Yunnan. It is originated during the Qianlong period, nearly 200 years ago. There is a popular legend regarding its origins.

It is said that a scholar in Mengzi, who was preparing for the Imperial examination, went to an island in the Na Lake everyday to study. His wife went across the bride to the island to bring his meal to him. Owing to the long distance, he had to eat the meal cold everyday.

Accidentally, his wife discovered that a greasy chicken soup is not easy to get cold. What’s more, fresh ingredients, such as seasonal vegetable, fresh meat and so on, can become edible by putting them into this kind of boiled soup.

From then on, the scholar could have a delicious and hot meal everyday. Because his wife went across the bridge everyday, the rice noodle made this way was named as Cross Bridge Rice Noodle.

By now, the Cross Bridge Rice Noodle has a distinct development. The most important factor in this noodle is the soup. It was made with natural hen, pig bone and ham. It needs to be boiled for over 6 hours until the soup become savory and the oil from these are distilled.

The next thing worth mentioning is the ingredients. There are two kinds of rice noodles. The proper kind is the slim one, which is good at keeping the flavour of the valuable soup. The ingredients can be divided into two categories: vegetable and meat. The vegetable used are dependent on what is in season. The meat is focus on slice. The thinner the better, so the slice meat is one of the characteristics of the Cross Bridge Noodle.

Last but not least, the process of eating is special. The right orders are as follows: firstly, put the meat slice in the soup, then the vegetable, the last one rice noodle. Minutes later, a hot colorful and delicious Cross-Bridge Rice Noodle is ready.

So yeah, I was quite disappointed with the new stall in the Crystal Mall food court who profess to serve Crossing Bridge Rice Noodles and yet do not serve it the way it is supposed to be. They are supposed to make you feel like a scholar served by the wife … just like the legend says.

But I know of a place that serves it the correct way … the way that the legends says it should be. LOL! So, I made my way to this restaurant yesterday and took some pictures so that I can show you how this restaurant does it.

I actually had it earlier in 2006 and blog about it. It was one of the “charter posts” of chowtimes. This is offered as a lunch special. See how they do this right? The first thing they did was to bring two plates of ingredients. Just the two plates … separately served.

I shall call the first plate above “The Fiber”.

The second plate is more important. I shall call this “The Protein”.

Right in the middle is the quail egg … served raw, as it should be. In the Crystal Mall food court, they cheated. They gave me a hard boiled one. No, no. *finger wag*

Then there are … slices of pork which is also an important component. The prawns were butterflied thinly too. They are sliced thin because it cooks fast in the broth.

This is the whole package. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Crossing Bridge Rice Noodle … the real deal. Not in that thing they serve in the Crystal Mall food court.

And all you have to go to get this is just head downstairs from the food court!

I had this in the S&W Pepper House in Crystal Mall. They have this as a lunch special for just $6.75. If you want to try the Crossing Bridge Rice Noodle in the food court, you might as well head downstairs as S&W serves way better food.

I eat in S&W very often as it is close to my office. I almost always order the item #103 above. The Fried Lamb with Cumin on Steamed Rice is wonderful. I tell, you should try it and see what I mean.

I know it is kind of strange. You see, once all four plates are served, they will proceed to pour everything into the bowl of soup for you and then take away the empty plates. They could have mixed everything in the kitchen and then serve this in a bowl to me.

But no. They wanted to serve it the way it is in the legend of the scholar and the loving supportive wife.

Sigh … with me reading the 24 Hours newspaper and the waitress pouring my food into the soup, I felt I am re-living the legend. Oh yeah, that is how it should be done.

Other than that, the food was just so-so. LOL!

The noodles are not strong in flavour. The whole idea is that it is served warm.

I asked for the chili oil to spice it up a bit. That makes it taste much more better.


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Here is a picture of the Crystal Mall in Burnaby. If you should want to feel like a scholar, S&W is a better place to go for the “experience”.

S&W Pepper House (Crystal Mall) on Urbanspoon

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  1. James says:

    Thanks foe the tip!

    I haven’t tried S&W yet. These ‘secret’ food courts have some awesome cheap eats.

    2 ‘non-secret’ ones that have a few gems in Richmond are the food courts in Landsdowne and Richmond Centre malls.

    Not to mention the awesome one in Aberdeen’s psychedelic mall (how else can I describe it? xD)at Cambie & 3 Road.

    Richmond’s on my mind today for some reason..Think I’ll bike
    down and grab some eats!

    Has anyone tried the Jamaican place nearby on Kingsway?
    I’ve read mixed things about it.

    I lived near a couple dozen Jamaican and Trinni Shops in my hometown and laughed when I read one reviewer complain about bone fragments!

    • Ben says:

      Hi James: I think the Jamaican place you are referring to on Kingsway is Pearl Island. Yeah, I had been there before http://bit.ly/csNs70 … they have changed owned recently. It was not too good. My fav food courts in Richmond is Parker Place and Empire Center. Check that out. Ben

  2. James says:

    You’ve yet to steer me wrong and I’ll take your word on Perl Island over being disappointed.

    Parker Place is totally awesome!! I used to work down in Delta and my bus exchange was right at the corner of Cambie and 3 road so I’ve eaten around there many times.

    I was going to ask you where the Empire Centre is but found it.. (I don’t remember names sometimes, just the food!

    Any recommendations for a cheap bite along 3 road? Thinking Northern Chinese..something light enough that I’ll be able to bike over the bridge in one piece afterwards :)

    • Ben says:

      Hi James:

      Empire Center is the strip mall just south of Parker Place. It is where Hon’s used to be. The food court has an award winning stall selling claypot rice. If you like Steamed Chicken, they have a stall specializing on this and it is very good. Also not to ignore is the stall that sells … oh … read it yourself here and here.

      Northern Chinese? Not light but Beijiang is one you should check out. See here. Hope this helps.

      Ben

    • Crispy Lechon says:

      FYI, all the food stalls in President Plaza’s food court have been shut down for several days last month due to pest infestation and unsanitary conditions.

      Here’s the news clipping:

      http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/101999098.html?c=y&curSection=/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview&curTitle=BC+News&bc09=true

      • Ben says:

        Yeah. I saw that news on the Richmond Review today. A lot of places in Richmond had been shutdown too this month. That also include some stalls in the Richmond Public Market. Brutal. Ben

        • I’d have to read the individual reports on each stall/restaurant to know what’s the what. Because, some issues are really not that bad (that is, the write-up sounds worse than it actually is, so no need to be alarmist) and some issues are absolute dealbreakers (that is, I’m not eating from there again).

          • Crispy Lechon says:

            One of the worst offender is O’Tray which is a favorite of Chowhounds and mine too. Looking at their kitchen, it really wasn’t sanitary at all. Too bad, they serve really good food.

            • Ben says:

              So the question to you, Crispy, is … are you one of those “1-strike you’re out” kind of foodie or you are forgiving. I hate to say this … as long as the restaurant passes inspection the next time round all is forgiven. Different case if the restaurant repeatedly fail inspection. Ben

          • Crispy Lechon says:

            Yes, the restaurant can clean up, get rid of the pests and pass the next food inspection. But its the bad habit thats hard to eliminate. If the restaurant was negligent in ensuring the cleanliness of the food area, then that will re-occur for sure. I really can’t imagine how a restaurant can ignore the obvious presence of pest droppings in their utensils and stuff. It only means one thing, they dont care for the welfare of their customers. They are just to lazy to clean-up.

          • Ben says:

            The news report said that the entire food court at the President Plaza was closed for 1-2 weeks while one single stall (Always Good) was closed for 4 weeks. It seems to point out that the source of infestation is from Always Good.

      • Ben says:

        OMG. A few days after our dinner at Red Star, they were forced to close for a few days for pest infestation. Just read the latest VCH report! Ben

        • Crispy Lechon says:

          Yeah I saw that one too. Here’s the food inspection report.

          http://www.foodinspectionweb.vcha.ca/Inspection/Show/bccb8c8e-451b-4319-85e9-5cf117ea7b53

          • Marike says:

            Shortly after the event, I was reading up on Red Star and found out they are PRETTY long history of poor food safety practices. *cringe*

            While the food we had was good and the service top notch, I shudder to think about where that food came from (dirty kitchen).

            I compared reports with those of locations of Kirin and Sun Sui Wah too. Red Star seemed to be the worst! Kirin looked 2nd worse.

          • LotusRapper says:

            @ Marike,

            My own impression is when it comes to safe food handling/prepartion practices (for Chinese restaurants), there is virtually no material difference between high-end establishments and your hole-in-wall food court stalls. No amount of food safety training can replace due diligence in the kitchen. In fact I would argue that smaller establishments may, on average, perform slightly better than large fancy restaurants if the crew is smaller and more conscientious of proper practice, than a large restaurant kitchen filled with staff working like crazy around the clock.

            My $0.25. Don’t flame me if you feel differently.

          • Marike says:

            @LR You make a good argument. I guess my expectation for fine dining restaurants is higher because they are selling quality at a premium price so I expect diligence in not only the end product that we see, but also respect for the food along the way. As an owner/operator of a high end restaurant, reputation important, so why risk harming your patrons and getting a bad rep?

            @Crispy Lechon I did read all the reports and the trend tells me it’s more of an attitude issue than anything else. Food Safety is close to my heart and I know some who inspect. They verbally instruct the operators in much greater detail than what we see in the posted reports. There is such a lack of resources, they can only visit each establishment maybe once a year. Problematic ones might get 2 visits, not counting post inspection visits where they just make sure the violations are corrected. The system is not perfect and the threshold for deciding to close down an establishment is fairly high.

            The unfortunate truth is that places that simply don’t care can go on with their bad habits and just correct them after an inspector comes in. It really is a case of consumers beware.

  3. I’m just thinking of when we went to O’Tray in August: I’m pretty sure it was after the July 30th inspection, maybe 2 weeks after, August 14th. I can be assured that “the premises has already been cleaned to a high standard of sanitation.” So, I guess the question, 1 strike and you’re out?, is moot now for me. I’ve already been there after they’ve had a strike.

    Not defending the proprietors of O’Tray, I am a bit incredulous that pest droppings would actually be on the utensils themselves. The way that the original line was written on the report, I think “filth” was on the utensils (e.g. grease) but not actual pest droppings. I would believe that pest droppings were in the hard-to-reach areas to clean. Ah what the heck — I don’t really know. I just wish that everybody wrote more specific and clearer and I also wish everybody cleaned up better.

    • Crispy Lechon says:

      Sorry JS. I disagree that mouse droppings can only be found in hard to reach places. Wherever food is left out in the open and the lights are turned off, then the mice will have a field day and wherever there are mice, there will be mice droppings. Even with the premise that its just filth on the utensils and stuff, its still pretty gross and reason enough not to patronize the place.

      • Without seeing the premises, there’s no way to know. My point is, the way that the inspection report is written is not clear. Hence, people should be writing *better*. I don’t know if it was the “trainee” EHO who wrote up the report.

        All of which does not mean that people should not be cleaning up their kitchens better and implementing good food safety procedures.

        My concern with O’ Tray actually would be their dishwashing facilities. I’ve been trying to scope out where they actually wash the non-disposable items.

  4. grayelf says:

    Cleanliness in restaurants is an interesting conundrum. I’m sure all of us have watched one of the Ramsay shows where he goes behind the scenes and discovers truly wretched conditions even in high end places. Not surprised at all to hear about Red Star…

    We did stop going to a now-defunct Japanese restaurant on Robson years ago when two cockroaches crawled by on the wall during dinner behind my mum’s head — bleh.

    I’ve traveled all over Mexico and Latin America and always feel most secure in dining establishments where I could see the kitchen. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve ventured to the loo at “nicer” restos, had a dekko at the kitchen on the way by, and wished myself at an outdoor taco stand!

    I will continue to patronize O’Tray. I can see enough of their work area to be fine with it. And I could care less if they store their eggs at room temp. That’s what the chickens do and they don’t go bad :-).

    • LotusRapper says:

      Reminds me when I was once at Daisy Garden (Kam Gok Yuen) on E. Pender. I was eating alone, and happened to look over at the sidewall as this “Ratatouille” decided to take a leisurely stroll from one end of the wall to the other. My jaw dropped, and looked around to see if the staff noticed. One waitress did (I saw her looking at the rodent) but she just casually pretended she didn’t see anything. Stunned, I resumed my meal, but a wee bit more suspect of the “steamed cut chicken” leg I was gnawing on …….

      • grayelf says:

        That’s funny, LR, when I was reading the reports I was thinking to myself, “There are way more rats in urban areas than mice. Could be worse!”

    • Eggs are sold at room temperature in France and Italy.

      • grayelf says:

        It’s been ten years, but I remember seeing them at room temp in smaller grocers in England too. I’d much rather buy fresh eggs stored at room temperature than the eggs that you get refrigerated at most supermarkets which I understand can be weeks old before they even hit the shelves…

        • Don’t get me started on the inequities and inanities of food safety policies and regulations in North America.

          • Ben says:

            On one hand I am afraid where this would lead to because, well … I have seen the other side of the sweet JS when it comes to defending what she string believes in. LOL! But I would love to hear of what she has in her mind … “the inequities and inanities of food safety policies in North America”. Frankly, food safety is something I had never thought much about although Suanne is insanely religious about it after her food safety training. Remember the photo of the cooked and uncooked beef slices from the So-Hot-So-Pot post? She made me re-cook the cooked piece because “it was in contact with the raw slices”. But it was just a few seconds. Doesn’t anyone respect the 5 seconds rule anymore? Ben

  5. watercress says:

    Customers should boycott eateries with dirty kitchens and poor sanitary habits. Period. 10 years ago, there were not that many restaurants slapped with a closure order. What gives?

  6. Crispy Lechon says:

    I’m actually passionate about following safe food handling and food safety. In our kitchen I have a separate knife and chopping board for meats and non-meat products. I make sure there is no cross contamination between them. BUT, I don’t know if restaurants are as conscientious in following safe food handling as we like them to. One thing I noticed though in restaurant closures, most of them are Asian restaurants. Asian countries have a lax food safety regulations than in North America. I think that was what JS meant about inequities and inanities of food safety regulations in North America. But I’d rather be safe than sorry.

    Last summer, I had a really bad episode of food poisoning. I was hospitalized for 3 days. I was very sick that I fainted several times. It’s really something I dont take lightly anymore. And you know where I got it? It’s from the Richmond night market, particularly the pork intestine barbq. I swore off pork intestines for about a year.

    • Sorry to hear about your food poisoning incident last year. Did they tell you what kind of pathogen you got? Is it pork intestines not cooked through?

      RE Asian restaurants and food safety regulations: no, that is not what I meant. But going into more detail about this topic is such a long, and quite frankly, frustrating exercise that I’d rather not get into it on the Saturday morning of a long weekend.

      • Crispy Lechon says:

        JS its the dreaded c.difficile. It was very contagious and so they put me on isolation. Which is fine with me. Private hospital room. LOL.

        I think it just wasnt cooked through. For safety they should have boiled the pork intestine first before barbquing, but they didnt. They barbque’d it from raw state. It tasted good though.

  7. fmed says:

    Peaceful Restaurant (Broadway/Cambie) has Yunnan Crossbridge Noodles on the menu. It looks like it is served in the ‘proper’ hotpot-like style. I should give it a try some day.

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