Locals discouraged from eating saliva noodles

14:23, January 25, 2010      

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This undated photo shows traditional food of Shaanxi Province "Sao Zi Mian" noodles in spicy, sour and fragrant soup with pork and vegetables in Baoji city of Shaanxi province. (hsw.cn Photo)

An effort to eliminate "xian shui mian" or "saliva noodles" said to be invented by King Wen of Zhou, founder of the Zhou dynasty over 3000 years ago, is being encouraged in Changxing town of Meixian county in northwest China's Shaanxi province.

The Chinese Business View reported on Thursday that the township government has launched a 500 yuan award for the first six families that do not treat their guests to "xian shui mian" during the New Year or Spring Festival.

"However, none of the local households has received the award until now", according to Ma Binglin, an official with Changxing township government.

Ma Binglin further explained that they decided to alter the village dietary habits for the sake of their health since the noodle soup is reused many times and contains each diner's saliva. The repeated use of the soup has brought about the name "saliva noodle", and is considered unsanitary.

"Saliva noodle", which carries a meaning of "a meal of family community and harmony", is popular in villages in the counties of Meixian, Wugong and Qianxian. In weddings, funerals, festivals and birthday feasts, traditionally guests are treated to saliva noodle.

"As people's lives improve, more and more villagers realize that 'xian shui mian' is unsanitary. Indeed it is a bad habit that can spread diseases by eating the recollected soup," said Mr. Yang who lives in the north of Weihe River.

Mr. Yang also recalled that he used to be criticized by grownups for pouring away the soup after the meal when he was a child. He said the reason was that it was seen as breaking a rule of his culture.

Mr Wang, who now works and lives outside his hometown in Fufeng county, shares the complaint.

Every year when he goes home, he is worried that he will have to eat the noodles he considers so unsanitary. "So I visit relatives after eating at home every time."

According to a manager at a restaurant in Baoji city of Shaanxi province, the traditional noodles using the recollected soup is unsanitary and less delicious, adding that the nutrition in the soup is lost.

Though "Xian Shui Mian" disgusts some of the local people, "It has a history of thousands of years and has taken root in local cultures. So it can't be simply described as a bad habit. The custom could only be reformed but never removed," Mr. Wang said.

But even thousand-year customs have to keep up with the times. Everyone should take responsibility in reforming and promoting this dietary custom.

Source: CRI online
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