It’s been a rainy week here in the city, though I have been enjoying it. Today is a Saturday in Shenzhen. Overloaded rush hour metros, muggy transitioning-summer weather and odd smog patterns.
Today I was in such a rush I went without a breakfast. I even went without a lunch. It was a busy, busy day in China but at some point I managed to get myself out of the house for a meal. I went no farther than 120 meters from my door for a very typical all-meal-dish I know of as “zhu za tang fen ” or pork noodles, 猪杂汤粉.
What you have in this dish could be a number of different kinds of Chinese noodles (rice, flour etc), boiled with pork meat (undoubtedly some bones for extra flavor) and lean meat at that.
Also included are green onions, possibly some cilantro, and of course on option a dash of lajiao! (Chinese hot sauce, 朱杂汤粉)
Of course, taking the first bite is always the best part. There is nothing better than a bowl of protein packed, spicy meaty noodles.
So let’s talk about what we are looking at here in terms of taste and value. The cost for each bowl of noodles (I had a friend with me) was 20￥ for the pair. Let me confirm on that ambiguous figure. It was 10￥ for 1 bowl. That is ~$1.70 a bowl. That is about ~$3.50 US for a meal for two people. Shockingly cheap, refreshingly tasty! So we know the value is great, what about the taste? I can tell you that it is excellent and you would have a VERY difficult time finding something for even 2 or 3 times the cost of here. What you get when you get a bit of everything is (Meaning noodle, meat, and broth) an incredibly cheap yet flavorful experience. Zhu mian is a very common dish in China, very affordable, and very delicious. I consider it relatively healthy because it’s not fatty pork meat, and the noodles are not fried and the nutrients coming from bone-broth are numerous. In fact, it’s so good you end up with a picture like this:
On a Saturday evening, I couldn’t be more satisfied to have a thrifty meal in China. Weekends are often times very tempting to go out and spend a lot of money on a fancy western meal, but if you are willing to stay in the Chinese cuisine, dinner can be very cheap.
I’ll close this evening’s post with a similar recipe to tonight’s dinner: zhu zha tang fen, pork noodles with cilantro and mushrooms, or 排骨蘑菇汤 which is a recipe on my YouTube channel.