Guilin Rice Noodles (桂林米粉) from Yangshou (阳朔)

It’s about time I uploaded some photographs from my three month trip to China. Now I’ll admit I wasn’t paying too much of the food while I was in China — I was too busy avoiding food poisoning (I lost five pounds because of it) and trying to pick up the language.

These bowl of noodles were discovered at the Yangshuo Night Market in Guilin. It was an idyllic strip of street vendors and restaurants — most of them ironically Western. But a couple of us had heard of the famous Guilin rice noodles and embarked on a mini-trip to find them.

The quest for these noodles was motivated by our Chinese professor. Next to our apartments in Shanghai was a fairly popular Guilin Rice Noodle shop that we constantly frequented. Our teacher had brought up that the Shanghai variety was more “chou” (臭), or stinky, than the Guilin varietal.

It’s the pickled vegetables that give off the “chou” factor. After a great deal of inquiring, which was odd because we were supposedly in the center of the place known for their rice noodles, we finally found a shop named Yi Feng Ji (壹粉记)that sold the noodles.

The dish: noodles with fish from the nearby Li River. Unlike regular wheat noodles, these noodles are made from rice. They’re clear and have less of a chewy-like texture.

There definitely was a distinction between Guilin’s Guilin rice noodles and Shanghai’s version. The Guilin version is softer on the pickled vegetables and the fish, a white-fleshed carp, was the defining ingredient. Shanghai’s version emphasized way too much on the pickled vegetables, which gave it a sour aftertaste that really didn’t resonate well.