Crossing the bridge noodles

Crossing the bridge noodles
Crossing the bridge noodles
Guo Qiao Mi Xian.jpg
Simplified Chinese 过桥米线
Literal meaning Cross bridge rice noodles
- Hanyu Pinyin Guò qiáo mĭxiàn

Crossing the bridge noodles is a kind of rice noodle soup from Yunnan province, China. It is one of the most common dishes in Yunnan cuisine.



The bridge-crossing noodle's origins are uncertain. One likely theory is that it originates from a bridge in southern Yunnan in Mengzi County, where there is a rice vermicelli tradition at least 100 years old.

Another explication is in the following story; A scholar was studying hard for his imperial exams. A large earthen pot was loaded individually with pig bone or chicken soup. Noodles and other ingredients were kept in another container. When his wife combined them just before eating, they became a nutritious bowl of steaming noodles. This was thought to have two advantages: a thin film would form on the surface of the soup, keeping it warm, and eating became more efficient because the noodles and soup were together. This allowed the student to study harder.[citation needed]

Name origin

There are many claims to the name origin of the bridge-crossing noodle. There is a claim when a scholar sent his wife to buy noodles from the other side of a bridge. So when the husband asked his wife the name of the novel dish, she replied Guo qiao mi xian or bridge noodle.

Another origin of the name comes from the eating of rice noodle. Due to the action of taking fresh noodles from one bowl to another, one has to pick noodles from a bowl full of soup. The process is similar to crossing a bridge between bowls, hence it was termed "bridge-crossing noodle."

There is also another saying that when the wife crossed the bridge to the husband, carrying the meal in a basket, she tripped and accidentally poured hot broth into the bowl of raw meat. When she opened the basket to have a look, the meat was found to have been boiled, but also tasted delicious. Since the dish originated from a trip on the bridge, the name of the dish accordingly made reference to the bridge.


The main ingredient of the noodles is rice. Rice vermicelli production is quite different in many regions. In particular, in Kunming, Yunnan, there are two varieties such as "dry paste" or "sour paste". The production process differs depending on individual preferences and tastes. The distinction is quite simple, "sour paste", as the name suggests, tastes a little sour, but obviously it is characterized by a relatively thick and soft rice noodle. The "dry paste" does not have the sourness of the sour paste, and the noodle is relatively thin and more rigid. The older people in Kunming think the "sour paste" noodles is more authentic. Most people in Yunnan think the Kunming noodle does not satisfy their taste buds, and generally believes Mengzi County and Jianshui County makes better noodles.

Now, as people's tastes change, all kinds of noodle varieties are flooding onto the market. Kunming people now do not necessarily pick a "dry paste" or "sour paste." At present people prefer the more efficient, slippery "water-washed rice noodle" and "purple rice noodle", one that is mixed with purple rice.


The development of Guo qiao mi xian has changed people's eating habits over the years, especially breakfast. People's eating habits in the course of normal life should be just as simple as Guo qiao mi xian represents, simply crossing the bridge. Generally in street markets, the hot fresh rice noodle is put into bowl of boiling water for about half a minute and then adding colored sauce in the bowl. This is known as the "hat" of the sauce. Guo qiao mi xian served in markets in the morning are usually completed in one minute.

There are a few franchised restaurants across the bridge which serves more intricate or elaborate Guo qiao mi xian dishes. Normally Guo qiao mi xian is ordered in a set, a set of bridge noodle will cost 10 to 50 Yuan. Ordering the Guo qiao mi xian with more ingredients, meat, or vegetables, will command higher prices.


The general ingredients of Guo qiao mi xian are made from includes:

  • raw quail eggs
  • ham slices
  • chicken slices
  • colored vegetables

It is generally served first with a bowl of boiling hot soup, with temperatures over 100 Celsius. The attendants will then be on the other side and put the ingredients into the bowl, generally in the order from raw to cooked: meat first, then quail eggs, and then vegetables. Finally, perform the noodle "crossing" with chopsticks and the dish is ready to be consumed. The amount of oil, chili, and vinegar one puts in the bowl varies according to personal taste. After crossing the bridge you can slowly enjoy the delicious rice noodle, and finally do not forget to drink to soup.

See also


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