|Yibin Burning Noodles
|21-3, Xiaonan St., Qingyang District|
|028 8612 3468|
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
There are probably more ways to eat dry mixed noodles in Sichuan than there are to eat pasta in Italy. Ran Mian (燃面), which translates into, “burning noodles,” is one of the classics. Burning noodles have the distinction of being considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, which is to date very rare among dishes. The list of ingredients is quite short, but the flavour is an addictive combination of spicy oil, crunchy and savoury peanuts, chewy ground meat, and most important of all, sour ya cai. Ya cai is a type of pickled vegetable that finds its way into many sichuanese dishes. Every town seems to have their own way of making ya cai, but the ya cai from Yibin is considered very special because of the fermenting agents native to there.
Yibin burning noodles are very popular and can be found in almost every neighbourhood in Chengdu. This shop over by People's Park sells a particularly good bowl. The noodles are fresh and nicely elastic, the seasonings are a little hotter than average, and they are generous with the toppings. You can order the specialty of the house with standard toppings or without meat (素燃面), which we think are just as delicious. Though you don't see many other kinds of noodles being eaten here, another winner on the menu is their mushroom noodles (口蘑面). Fried egg noodles, (煎蛋面) a Chengdu classic that is not spicy, and makes for a great breakfast, are also on the board. In the afternoons the tables are full of people snacking on bobo ji, which consists of skewers of chicken, and absorbent vegetables, marinating in a large vat of red oil. You choose what you want and pay by the skewer. If you haven't eaten your greens for the day it's easy to add a bowl of veg to your order as well. Prices are typical for noodle shops, 5-10RMB/person. Parking is kind of a pain in the area; try one of the side streets off Xiao Nan Street.