Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pork Intestine Rice Noodles - Bai Jia Fei Chang Fen

Pork intestine (fei chang) is the starting point of some of the most loved local dishes in Sichuan. It is stewed, stir fried, stirred into hot pot, adds richness to dishes like bean soup, and gets the dry pot treatment, among others. I once watched a couple of guys buying a huge length of it in the supermarket with the obvious anticipation that one of my compatriots might show picking out a top grade steak. I get why it is so popular - there is a chewy outside and a tender inside to the organ that gives it both absorbency and 'kou gan' (mouthfeel), but I only order it at reputable places since it has to be cleaned and prepared carefully or the barnyard notes get a little too much for my taste.

A popular way to eat fei chang is in soup with rice noodles - fei chang fen. Many of the shops selling fei chang fen in Chengdu advertise Bai Jia style. We went to Bai Jia Village in Shuangliu to try the original. Besides noodles, we sampled a few of their other dishes prepared with pork intestine.

By the door, as is typical with fei chang fen shops, was a guo kui station. Guo kui is the traditional accompaniment to fei chang fen. My host said that during the holiday, there was a half hour lineup for this guo kui.

The guo kui was nicely browned but not too oily, and tender and flaky. There was not a lot of meat filling but we didn't miss it. It did complement the bowl of rice noodles well. We ordered the rice noodles without hot sauce, but many people like to get them spicy.

The first dish to land on the table was cold mixed fei chang (凉拌肥肠). Spicy, salty, delicious.

We then dipped into a bowl of 'stewed knotted intestine soup' (冒结子汤). My table companions were impressed with its fragrance.

Fragrant crispy intestine (香酥 肥肠 ) that had been sliced into rings and deep fried, one of my favourite dishes of the day:

Dry pot style (干涡 肥肠 ), one of the dishes that really impressed me with the kitchen's cooking skill. Besides the fei chang, vegetables, and hot pepper there were other flavourful touches like reconstituted dried mushrooms and ginger. All of the components really worked well together.

Mouthwatering intestine (口水 肥肠 ) lived up to its name. It was spicy but well balanced.

Last but not least, intestine steamed in rice meal (粉蒸 肥肠 ), which melted in the mouth.


Name: Bai Jia Gao Ji Fei Chang Fen, Original Shop
Name and Address in Chinese: 白家高记 肥肠 粉总店, 成都 双流白家镇新街 136 号

Wenshu Temple over the holiday

Wenshu Temple is a hotbed of activity during the Spring Festival and had lots of extra booths set out, as usual.

Yak jerky, and various other dried creatures:

There were piles of crunchy sweets made from grains and nuts:

The lineup at Gong Ting Tao Su was even longer than usual.

Zhang's Liang Fen was standing room only, even on the outside.

It was far easier to grab a chair across the alley at Long Chao Shou, where the servers showed great annoyance that neither I nor the three customers ahead of me had change. I hadn't eaten at Long Chao Shou in years, due to repeatedly being disappointed by their signature product, but it remains a tourist favourite so I decided to drop in.

My san he ni, which was tasty but gummy - too much sticky rice in relation to the other ingredients.

I also got an order of chao shou in mushroom broth. The chao shou had good filling and were nicely cooked, tasting much better than I remember. Though I was impressed with the dumplings, the mushroom soup tasted like it was from a mix.

Fresh blended Soy Milk

I've been noticing more and more of this 'fresh blended soy milk' being sold as a snack. Cooked soybeans are blended whole with hot water and additions. The menu lists the health benefits of each type of soy milk - you can add red, black, and green beans, peanuts, oatmeal, mountain yam, lotus seeds, dates, goji berries, sesame seeds, and corn, in various combinations. Sugar is usually added, but I tell the vendor not to bother.

Big blender and additions:

Closer look at the additions:

Menu with formulas and health benefits:

Location: Yulin Dong Lu 玉林东路

Chicken Soup Shop

It's been a while since I visited this place. It is as good as ever, with its set menu of chicken soup and side dishes. I sat upstairs this time. I did notice that quite a few of the other diners were eating spicy cold seasoned chicken (凉拌鸡) rather than chicken soup.

The side dishes are now chargeable, so it is not as inexpensive to eat here as it once was.

Chicken soup, cabbage and tofu, pumpkin rice: