If the island of Hainan had a defining flavour and dish, it would surely be a big bowl of noodles. Amongst a rich offering of local gastronomy, this traditional gourmet snack attracts much attention, whetting the appetite of locals and, moreover, of visitors looking to live authentic experiences also at the table.
Almost five centuries of culinary history have transformed them not only into a central element of the regional cuisine, but also into a brand image of Hainan. So much so that in 2010, rice noodles, one of four traditional noodle dishes, entered the list of Hainan's Intangible Cultural Heritage.
What goes into them that makes them so special? Pork is first combined with soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and crushed garlic, before being left to marinate for 15 minutes. Creating some amazing tastes, that will excite anyone’s taste buds.
A wok is then normally used to heat vegetable oil and to fry peanuts. The pork and also some beef jerky is then added, tossed and turned countless times to become brown and crunchy. Add in noodles, chopped mustard greens, bamboo shoots, cilantro and scallions and you have a delicacy made in heaven.
You certainly won’t want to leave Haikou without having tasted at least one bowl of Hainan noodles. So, make sure you hunt them down in a restaurant. There are plenty of food outlets keeping up the traditional savoir-faire of cooking “Yan Fen”(腌粉), a local name for this dish.