Cha Chiang Mein

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Cha Chiang Mein
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This recipe for Cha Chiang Mein, egg noodles with stir-fried pork, is one of the simple culinary treasures I brought back with me from China. I happened upon it through one of those chains of events that often lead a traveler from one pleasant experience to another.

During my stay in Hangzhou, I took a side trip to the gently rolling hills in the countryside to visit the Lung Ching (Dragon Well) tea plantation. The journey was something of a pilgrimage for me, because Dragon Well has long been my favorite green tea.

A worker guide gave me a morning's tour of the plantation, showing me how the tea is grown, harvested, and processed. When she discovered how much I appreciated Dragon Well tea, she covertly slipped me a small packet of the commune's very best tea, the number one tea out of sixteen possible grades.

She advised me to take a half hour's ride to Running Tiger Spring. There, she explained, I could ask the attendant at the teahouse to brew this choice Dragon Well tea in water that has such high density and surface tension it seems to defy gravity. As I later saw with my own eyes, you can pour the famous Running Tiger Spring water into a glass to a level of about one third of an inch above the rim before it starts to overflow.

Next to my table at the teahouse sat an English-speaking resident of Hangzhou with whom I shared my once-in-a-lifetime pot of tea. We struck up a conversation and quickly discovered that we were both interested in Chinese gastronomy. When I told him of my interest in peasant cooking, he invited me to his house to try cha chiang mein, prepared by his cook, who came from a peasant family. "Yes," I responded without hesitation, and that evening I was in possession of the recipe for this informal yet tempting dish.



Famous peasant dishes

Arroz Con Pollo  Spain
Cassoulet  France
Cha Chiang Mein  China
Couscous  Morocco
Houskove Knedliky  Czech Republic
Huevos Rancheros  Mexico
Nasi Goreng  Indonesia
Osso Buco  Italy
Oyako Donburi  Japan
Roghan Josh  India
Tom Yam Kung  Thailand
Vatapa  Brazil
Yalanci Dolma  Turkey

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