Silver Thread Noodles (Yin Si Mian) – A Specialty in Changzhou

silver thread noodles

Silver Thread Noodles (Yin Si Mian, 银丝面), a traditional local snack originating from the city of Changzhou in Jiangsu Province and its surrounding areas, boast meticulous ingredient selection and a rigorous preparation process. These noodles are characterized by their fine and silken texture, a color resembling silver, a soft and smooth consistency, and notable resilience, ensuring they do not become sticky when cooked.

To achieve delicious noodles, attention is given to four key aspects: “flour, soup, condiments, and heat.” The dough for Silver Thread Noodles is made with high-quality white flour, incorporating 1.5 kilograms of egg whites into every 10 kilograms of flour. During the rolling process, these noodles undergo an additional two rounds compared to regular noodles, enhancing their chewiness. The final touch involves using a “noodle knife” with 30 teeth per inch to create the distinctive texture.

The “soup” component is a crucial element of the dish. In the past, renowned Changzhou eateries like Weixiang Zhai Noodle House sold up to 10 bags of flour worth of Silver Thread Noodles in a single day. The soup base typically features carefully simmered ingredients such as eel bones, pork scapulas, chicken, and cuttlefish, crafted by skilled chefs to impart rich flavors.

The term “condiments” or “哨” in local parlance refers to the toppings or garnishes added to the noodles. Traditionally, these toppings were often stir-fried in small woks, emphasizing the seamless coordination between chefs. The rhythmic sounds of spatulas clashing on one side and noodles being deftly scooped on the other contributed to the harmonious preparation process.

Lastly, “heat” is essential for serving Silver Thread Noodles. The bowls, noodles, soup, and toppings should all be piping hot. Some noodle shops even briefly immerse the noodle bowls in the boiling water used for the noodles before ladling the hot broth over them. This meticulous attention to temperature ensures that every element of the dish is served steaming hot, contributing to its aromatic and appetizing qualities.

Eating Silver Thread Noodles is not just about enjoying the taste but also experiencing the delightful interplay of textures, temperatures, and flavors. The artistry involved in crafting these noodles reflects the culinary expertise and cultural richness of the Changzhou region, making Silver Thread Noodles a beloved and enduring local specialty.

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