Tuesday, 12 October 2010
World Of Noodles 5: E-Fu Noodles 伊府麵
It's pretty poor that five months have passed since my last post in this occasional series on the world of noodles. I'm going to make up for lost time with a feature on a right proper posh noodle, e-fu noodles (伊府麵) aka yi-mein (伊麵/伊面). These Cantonese noodles are made with egg and wheat and are famous for their chewiness, which is due to the use of soda water when making the dough. I think I'm right in saying that e-fu noodles are only available in dried form and I've never seen them sold fresh (生).
Traditionally these noodles are served at the end of banquets, be it for birthdays or weddings, to wish for a long life or a long marriage respectively. However, as people have become more affluent, this occasional treat has become an everyday item. In particular, they are a popular accompaniment to dim sum and it's a fair assumption that a proper dim sum restaurant will also serve e-fu noodle dishes.
How are they eaten?
E-fu noodles are refreshed in boiling water for a minute or two and are then served in soup or braised but rarely (if ever?) stir-fried. The above photo shows them served in soup with fish balls and pak choi based on this recipe. For a braised noodle recipe, let me direct you to the incomparable 3 Hungry Tummies. Other popular combinations that I've come across include crab & conpoy with e-fu noodles (蟹肉瑤柱伊府麵) and enoki mushrooms with e-fu noodles (素金菇伊府麵).
Where to buy them?
If you want to try these noodles at home then you can pick them up at Chinese supermarkets. I can recommend the Kamfen (金粉) brand and you can get a five-portion pack for £3.49 at Loon Fung in London's Chinatown. These come with accompanying sachets of soup mix, usually seafood or chicken flavour, but you can get packs that come without the soup.