On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta

about a year or two ago, i ended up at Capital M for one of their foodie lectures featuring Jen Lin-Liu, author of Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and co-owner of the excellent Black Sesame Kitchen in Beijing. That was at the height of my food writing if you will and i started slowly working out a master plan to write the ultimate guide to Chinese Noodles…. I’m a proud noodle-head after all!

Well, life happened and i ended up with a job that keeps me super busy along with a bar that’s making some noise in the Beijing scene… The Noodle Diaries had to unfortunately sit on the back burner for a little while. Until today that is when looking over Thebeijinger.com, I spotted a post that i wished was about me:

In Search of Spaghetti: Jen Lin-Liu’s ‘On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta’

Long story short, it looks like while i was busy eating, Jen was busy writing… and it sounds like she wrote a good one. Quoting thebeijinger.com:

Having previously published Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China, in this book Lin-Liu discovers that before China made noodles, it made bread, and that in its earliest incarnations, noodles were called bing, a term now associated with smaller bread-like products, like pancakes or rolls. Tang bing, or soup cakes, were the way noodles were first cooked in water and then eaten.
The current common turn for noodles, mian, first appeared as a chunkier noodle in western China, in today’s Qinghai province, among ethnic minorities including the Hui. Mian pian, noodle pieces, are still common and popular in Xinjiang and other dishes from western China, Lin-Liu said.
There is evidence that noodle culture may have first evolved in non-Han areas of China, and it was certainly non-Han noodles that had an impact on areas west of China. A noodle that may have been 4000 years old was discovered in western China, but dissolved in transit on its way to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Made from ground millet and not wheat, “that doesn’t really qualify as a noodle,” Lin-Liu declare

Anyways, the book comes out friday and i’m looking forward to it.. In the meantime, you can catch up with Jen over the following events:

Jen Lin-Liu will present a Silk Road Dinner with The Wine Republic at the Orchid Hotel on Sep 7 at 7pm; a special noodle cooking course at Black Sesame Kitchen on Sep 8 at 11am; and a book talk for On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta at Capital M on Sep 8 at 7pm. Please contact the venues for pricing and reservations. The book is available for pre-order from Amazon.com.

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