The World's Rarest Noodles

Saturday - 04/06/2011 08:03

Second only to rice, noodles are undeniably synonymous with delicious Asian cuisine. Although every diameter, make, and shape of noodle can be found f-rom China to Singapore, not all noodles are cre-ated equal.


Hong Kong and Southern China claim one of the rarest noodles in the world: Jook-sing noodles. Jook-sing noodles are made with duck eggs - not entirely unusual; however, tradition demands that the cook straddle a large, bamboo pole to roll and press the noodles before cutting.


Only a few restaurants in the world still prepare the noodles in the traditional manner. If you suddenly feel the urge for some Jook-sing noodles, your only option outside of Asia may be the Bamboodles restaurant located in San Gabriel, California near Los Angeles.

Perhaps even rarer than Jook-sing is Vietnam's cao lau noodle dish. Hailing f-rom Hoi An -- a quaint, touristy town located in Central Vietnam -- cao lau cannot technically be prepared outside of the region. Authentic cao lau noodles must be cooked using lye made f-rom wood ash taken f-rom the islands outside of Hoi An.

As if that wasn't enough, the water used for broth must be ground water taken f-rom ancient Cham wells found only in Hoi An! Centuries worth of minerals have dissolved into the water, giving it unique properties.

Although cao lau appears on every menu in Hoi An, finding the real deal prepared with Cham well water is slightly tricky. Avoid the tourist restaurants along the river; seek out the old women in the market area who sell only cao lau noodles at local prices.

I sampled cao lau noodles in Hoi An on a couple of occasions, but have no real way of knowing if I actually enjoyed the rarest noodle dish in the world or a mock imitation. Either way, they were delicious!


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