Cephalopod Noodle Soup

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Here’s one for Peezee.


Like many Chinese Swedes, my mother-in-law hails from Qingtian in Zhejiang province. Though located in a rich coastal province, Qingtian is a pretty poor place, high up in the hills, with little arable land. Marginal farmers are susceptible to wanderlust, and so Qingtian’s sons and daughters have travelled far, taking their rustic dialect and cuisine with them. (Speaking Qingtianese seems to be easy: take Hangzhounese and substitute “öööh” for all vowels.) According to Wikipedia, Qingtian is the single Chinese community of whose population the largest percentage has left the country.

My wife and her siblings have inherited a taste for fengan (pronounced “fun gun”, I kid you not), rice stick noodles in pork broth. Boil bony pork bits for ages, toss in salt-dried bamboo, dried shiitake mushrooms and rice stick. Then comes the luxury bit: dried cuttlefish from the coast. Soak it in water, cut it into strips and fry it in oil. The cuttlefish ain’t pretty when it arrives at our place after its trans-continental flight in my in-laws’s suitcases. But it’s good!

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