Shu Xueliang, an inheritor of Shuangqiao dried rice noodles making, examines the dried rice noodles. [Photo/qz96811.com]
Limpid water strikes wooden water wheel, which pushes the hammer up and down to thrash the rice, a regular scene for making dried rice noodles.
"I used to play around with the water-powered hammer and the sound of thrashing rice was my favorite nursery rhyme," said Shu Xueliang, an inheritor of Shuangqiao dried rice noodles making with a history of more than 300 years in Qujiang district of Quzhou.
According to Shu, a series of procedures are required before the dried rice noodles takes its shape, including selecting, soaking, grinding rice, making rice flour cake, stretching cakes into strips, coiling the rice noodles, and air drying.
Rice and water are the only raw materials required for dried rice noodles. Shu said that only when the round-shaped rice is soaked in running water, can the high quality Shuangqiao dried rice noodles be made.
For the ease of drying and storage, Shu came up with a unique way to coil the rice noodles – they are entangled with each other to form a triangle.
The more disorderly entangled the better. Shu said that the disorder makes the gap between rice noodles more clear and that allows the noodles to be evenly dried.
For Shu, tasty dried rice noodles are not dried out with a dryer, but with natural wind.
On days of appropriate temperature, Shu would ride a rice noodle-laden tricycle to the ancient bridge in Shuangqiao and lay out all the rice noodles over the bridge to let the natural wind dry them.
With the same flavor for hundreds of years and great reputation, the skill of making Shuangqiao dried rice noodles was listed as the second group of Quzhou's intangible cultural heritage in 2008 and six years later, the cuisine was honored as Zhejiang's time-honored brand.
In order to reserve the old flavor, Shu established a dried rice noodle museum where local residents and visitors can experience how to make the local products and eat the dish cooked by their self-made dried rice noodles.
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