It is National Noodle Month and National Nutrition Month and celebrating both of these means Captain Create is floating his balloon around the world looking for healthy and tasty noodles to share with you! Today he is exploring Chinese Noodles, which were first recorded in their history during the Eastern Han Dynasty, which was approximately 202 BC – 9 AD.1 That is a really long time ago!
China is a really big place, which means the people that live in different parts make their noodles differently, and from different ingredients. They can use wheat, rice, or even beans to make noodles.
In Mandarin (one of the main languages in China), miàn, also pronounced “mien” or “mein”, is the word used to mean to noodles made from wheat flour, while fěn (or “fun”) is the word used when noodles are made from other things, usually rice flour and mung bean starch. Each noodle type in Hong Kong, and neighboring region of Guangdong, will be known by its Cantonese pronunciation (“meen” or “mien” for wheat noodles, “fun” for non-wheat based noodles).1
Many types of noodles are still made the traditional way in China, and the recipes and techniques have been passed down to younger generations for thousands of years. Have a grown -up help you find videos of these traditional methods (and maybe you can try making them that way too!)
Instant, pre-packaged dry noodles are also made in China, and lots of people eat them because they are easy to cook and taste pretty good! Be sure to add lots of veggies and a little bit of protein from beans or tofu (like they serve them in China) when you choose to make them!
Captain Create knows that some ingredients from around the world can be hard to find, but others are pretty common, and finding the closest thing to the original is okay to do! Gather the cooks in your family and try out this veggie-filled Chow Mein recipe. Do you remember what the worn “mein” means the noodles are made from? Scroll back up to see!
1- Chinese noodles. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_noodles#:~:text=Chinese%20noodles%20are%20generally%20made,more%20typical%20of%20southern%20China. Published February 23, 2022. Accessed March 9, 2022.
2- Parkinson R. Loaded vegetable chow mein with egg noodles. The Spruce Eats. https://www.thespruceeats.com/vegetable-chow-mein-694337. Published January 5, 2022. Accessed March 9, 2022.