Pastry Stories

The Story of Cut Noodles

It is said when Mongolian Tartar occupied main land of China and established Yuan Dynasty, to prevent Hen people from rebelling, they confiscated all the metal stuff and ordered that ten families could only share one cooking knife which must be given to Tartar after being used.

One day, an old woman made jowar paste for noodles. His husband went to take the knife, but it was already in use by other people. So he had to go home. On his way, he found a small sheet of iron and took it home.

<Cut Noodles>

As he went back home, water was boiling in their pot and the hungry family was waiting for the knife to slicing the paste. But there was no knife available, the old man paced up and down, not knowing what to do, suddenly he thought of the small sheet of iron and told his wife while taking out it,' Just use this.' The old woman gave a suspicious look at the thin and soft sheet and said, 'How can it slice the paste!' The old man reacted,'If slicing does not work then cut it.' The old woman held a wooden board in the right palm on which was the paste, standing in front of the pot and cutting the paste into pieces in the boiling water with the iron sheet in her right hand. After it was cooked, she put them in the bowl and added sauce. The whole family said it was tasty. Then the recipe was gradually spread all through northwestern area.

After many changes, it becomes current Cut Noodles.

The Sanzi Origin

Sanzi(oil fried wheat) is a traditional Chinese food. It was invented in Jin Kingdom of Spring and Autumn Period (between 770BC and 476BC) and has the history of more than 2200 years.

Sanzi can be kept for several months in winter and spring time and it has played an important role in the development of Chinese pastry. Sanzi is crispy, tasty, easily digested and suitable for people of all age. In Tang Dynasty it was the necessary pastry in official banquet.

<San Zi>
However it is not easy to make Sanzi. Only bee made from delicately mixed flavors and fried properly can Sanzi be tasty and crispy.

The Tradition of Eating Noodles In Birthday

Chinese people have the tradition of eating noodles in birthday. The origin of the tradition can be traced back to Xihan(West Han)Dynasty.

It is said that one day, Liu Che, one of emperors of Xihan(West Han)Dynasty, who believed in anthroposcopy, chatted with his ministers and said. 'According to anthroposcopy book the longer philtrum one has the longer life he would live, if one has philtrum of 1 inch, he would live 100 years.'When hearing this, Dong Fangshuo, one of the ministers began to laugh. Others all feel weird about him and blamed his rudeness to the emperor.

<Longevity Noodles>

Liu Che asked him why he laughed, and Dong Fangshuo explained, 'I am not laughing at Your Majesty, but at Pengzu. If one's philtrum is1 inch, he can live 100 years, then Pengzu lived for 800 years, his philtrum should be 8 inches, so how long his face should be? Everybody laughed when hearing the explanation.

It seemed that long face could not ensure a long life and people thought of other way to express their desire for living a long time. Face has the same pronunciation as noodles in Chinese, thus long noodles has become the symbol of long life. Gradually, eating noodles in birthday has been a tradition in China.

During the end of Donghan(Eastern Han)Dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing, master of Chinese traditional medicine was appointed the prefect of Changsha(in today's Hunan Province). Soon after, plague spread, he resigned and decided to go back hometown and be a professional doctor. It was a chilly winter, on his way home, he saw people suffering cold and hunger with their ears frostbitten. Too many people died. Then he built a shed with a big pod in it. He boiled mutton, pepper and herbal medicine for shaking off cold in the pod. After a certain time, he took out the mutton and medicine, chopped them into crumbs, wrapped them with sheets of flour in the shape of ear and boiled again. After that he gave them to the poor people who ate them all through the winter and their cold and frostbitten ears were cured. Since then people learned to make the food and named it Jiaoer(Ear Dumpling).

Ever since then, in every Winter Solstice people made this food. As the name Jiaoer was hard to pronounce, it became Jiaozi. Jiaozi has deeply rooted in Chinese people's mind and become a symbol of Chinese food.