As one unique phenomenon, the craftsmanship of “Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle” stands out strikingly in Gucheng’s time-honored cuisine culture. Made with elaborative efforts, Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle is as thin as hair and is believed good at enhancing eaters’ beauty and health.
As legend has it, the Lin’s family ran a noodle house in Shihua Street of Gucheng County for earning a living during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. Moved by the good deeds of the good-natured and philanthropic family, Kui Constellation Guardian, an immortal in heaven, decided to help them in secret. So, he descended to the mundane world in the guise of beggar. Upon seeing the starved and filthy beggar, the Lin’s family immediately cooked a bowl of noodle to allay his hunger. “Delicious！ What if the noodles become hollowed? I guess it might taste even better”, commented the beggar. After pondering over the plausible suggestion again and again, Lin’s family decided to have a try. However, all efforts in daytime turned abortive. Out of inexplicable impulsion, one night, they pull 0.5 kilogram of paste to Chaotian Guankou from Shihua Street for more than 5 miles. When it got dried up at dawn, silk-sized hollowed noodle took shape. The family felt both surprised and delighted for the accidental finding. However, the same production process could not lead to the same result in neither daytime nor ordinary nights without Kui Constellation. Hollowed noodle could only be made in night with Kui Constellation shining above. The family suddenly came to realize that the beggar must be some immortal being, saying Kui Constellation Guardian, one of the 28 constellation guardians above the heaven. In honor of the immortal enlightenment, the family decided to name the hollowed noodle as Kui Noodle, with the annotations of good fortune and unusual luck. In consideration that it was originated in Shihua Street, the noodle was finally given a full name as Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle.
For the manufacture of Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle, elaborative efforts must be made. Firstly, only flour made of well-chosen red wheat could be used as raw material. After washed out and dried up, the flour will be grinded into fine powder. Noodle makers are required to take bath and change clothes before work to ensure absolute sanitation. They must have their fingernails manicured to avoid scratching paste. Also, they must rinse mouth and stop smoking before noodle-making to get rid of any possible extraneous odor. Besides, a set of rigorous bans must be followed by noodle makers too. For exempla, no noodle could be made when they were in bad mood for fear of unfocused mind, when they were under the weather for fear of lack of sufficient stamina, when they were visited by outsiders for fear of disturbed efforts. As a rule, they must pull 15 kilogram of paste into slender noodle about 150 miles. After dried up, the pliable and refined noodle will turn into hollowed one, tasting refreshing, smooth, and elastic with faint scent after cooked.
Only two old men aged above seventy years mastered the complicated craftsmanship of Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle now. No successor could be found for the traditional cuisine. A leading group for the salvage and protection of non-material cultural heritage was established by Gucheng County in 2008. Under the guidance of newly issued Regulations for the Salvage and Protection of Non-material Cultural Heritage in Gucheng County, Gucheng County has successfully applied national patent and China famous brand for Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle. Thanks to such efforts, Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle returned to local market after more than ten years of disappearance, and gradually permeated to provincial and national markets. At present, Shihua Hollowed Kui Noodle has been recognized as Hubei Province Non-material Cultural Heritage, passed QS quality system certification, and been honored as the second prize winner in the 4th Xiangyang City Tourism Commodities Fair.