For someone who doesn't cook and has the habit of marrying women who eschew cookbooks, I've amassed a fairly impressive collection of Chinese cookbooks and books about Chinese food generally, especially books that can teach or entertain. My latest find is Local Snacks in Hong Kong
in the "Yellow Bus Loves Hong Kong" series. It features 12 popular Hong Kong street snacks, and what makes the book unique is its treatment of them.
Not only does it give some background and a description of each dish, but it it provides all you need (except for the ingredients) to make the dish yourself in two different ways
: cook it, or create a paper model from a clip-and-fold page provided for each dish. Hong Kong Cart Noodles is one dish given this honor. This dish, we are told, was popular in the 1950s and featured a sort of buffet on wheels from which you could construct your own bowl of noodle soup by choosing as many toppings as you liked from a wondrous array. Actual noodle carts have been banned from the streets for safety and hygiene reasons but the dish lives on in food stalls and restaurants.
The template at the top illustrates how to make your own cut-and-fold bowl of cart noodles. Clicking it will enlarge it for detail. If all that cutting and folding makes you hungry, Local Snacks in Hong Kong obliges you with a recipe for cart noodles:
- Soup: Pork rib soup, curry soup, or tomato vegetable soup.
- Noodles: Thin noodles, thick noodles, instant noodles, udon, Yi Mian, He Fan, rice noodles, etc.
- Dishes: Fish balls, beef balls, pig skin, curdled pig's blood, Chinese radish, fish skin dumplings, chicken wings, vegetables, dried mushrooms (soake to soften), squid, beef tripe, etc.
Cook noodles and dishes and mix them with the soup.
What could be simpler?
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