Many Chinese dishes have stories behind them. Maybe it’s cause we know that food tastes richer with a legend or two, or maybe the lack of modern entertainment gave us cause to make things up. Either way, I love these tales that accompany my meal – it turns a simple lunch from a functional action, into a dining experience.
So, have you ever heard the one about the Crossing Bridge Noodles?
There are a few variations to this story, but the way I heard it was that there was a family who lived in Yunan, where the winters can get particularly snowy and cold. This family weren’t particularly well-to-do, and the father of the house had to cross a bridge every day in order to travel to work. In order to make sure that he had a hot lunch, the mother would bring soup up to a rolling boil in an earthenware container in order to keep it warm, and pack some noodles separately, so the noodles would not get soggy. Hence, crossing the bridge noodles!
At Two Sticks on George Street, you can try these noodles for yourself. They are indeed brought separately to your table – which assists in the romantic notion that there could be a snow covered bridge between the kitchen and your table – and the wait staff put paper thin slices of chicken and break in a fresh quail egg so that it’s cooked fresh at the table. You are then advised to wait a minute to put the noodles in – it would drop the temperature of the soup and prevent the chicken from cooking through – and then it’s all hands on deck as the diners’ chopsticks and ladles get in on the action.
There was something extremely comforting about the broth for me – it did also help that it was a cold winter’s night – and I really liked the simple way they tried to keep the tradition. The sides too, were delicious.
Pig’s ears were cooked, thinly sliced, and mixed in with chilli oil, szechuan peppers, and finely sliced carrots and cucumbers.
These ‘signature fries’ were coated in a fermented soy bean paste sauce, and are every soggy-fry lover’s dream. Full of umami and a nice salty kick, these can be a very addictive snack if you let it.
The food portions were quite generous – these three dishes fed the two of us very nicely – and the service was efficient and polite. I really like how this small and cozy restaurant – read: not much leg room – still manages to serve a menu with a decent variety, as well as maintain a level of authenticity.
Great for an eat-and-dash meal in the heart of Sydney.
694 George Street
Haymarket, NSW 2000