Mì Quảng – The soul of Quang Nam people

Just as each person in this world is created from a unique personality, so are the dishes, each region will have different typical dishes imbued with the culture and people of that region. However, among the provinces in Vietnam, there are only two dishes whose names are associated with the land it was born in, which are Mi Quang (Quang noodles) – a specialty of Quang Nam people, and Hue beef noodle soup – Representative. of the children of Hue. However, vermicelli is a fairly common way of food processing in Vietnam, depending on the name, the seasoning method of each region will create different vermicelli dishes. As for Quang noodles, Quang noodles themselves have a very unique history of formation and only people in Quang Nam can make this dish with a special original flavor.


History of Quang noodles – From noodles of nomads 

In the 16th century, under the Nguyen Lords, Quang Nam’s land was stable for a long time and Hoi An city became a prosperous international trading port. In addition to the Chinese who came to settle down here in large numbers and established a Minh Huong village, which still exists today, there are also Japanese, Dutch, and Spanish merchants who come to open shops or come and do business. In a city like that, of course, the dining industry is very developed and the restaurants are a lot. The Chinese, with their famously rich culinary traditions, certainly has many advantages. The famous specialties of Hoi An that we know as wonton or Cao Lau are still Chinese dishes. And of course, it is impossible not to mention the noodle dish – the famous noodle dish originating from the wheat grain of the nomadic people in Xinjiang, China. Before thinking about cutting flour into fibers, people here just bring flour to make small cakes to bake. But gradually, under the skillful hands and creativity of Xinjiang women, instead of kneading flour into bread, they thinly sliced ​​it into thin strands and created a new dish for mankind, with the name “Noodle”.


Going to the “Pearl Noodle” of the people of Quang

If food is called culture, the people of Quang Nam at that time were in a very early flow of cultural exchanges, at least only in tasting delicious foods from the four directions. Could the revolutionaries of Quang Nam later be sensitive to the Duy Tan movement, pioneering many renovations works, perhaps partly because they were descendants of a class of people who had the opportunity to open their eyes, exposed to many different cultures from three to four centuries ago? The Chinese noodle dish when returning to Quang Nam, of course, is very close to the taste of our people. And in accordance with the harmonious tradition of our Vietnamese people since ancient times, the people of Quang have tolerated and transformed that noodle dish to suit our God-given products and our eating habits. And so even though there is no flour, Quang Nam people still produce their own noodles and gradually develop into the image of Quang noodles, a specialty of the whole Quang Nam region, just like pot-au- feu was later turned into pho in the North by grandparents. Although called noodles, but actually the material to make is not wheat flour but the flour of milled rice grains – the pearl of heaven of the Vietnamese people, this is also a feature that makes the noodles impressive. The ad that anyone who hears it must laugh at. Because of that feature, the noodles here are loved and respected by the people of Quang Nam as a precious thing, like a pearl of their own homeland.

How to make fresh Quang noodles are actually not difficult, you can do it anywhere, just need a stone mill to grind flour, when the rice has been milled into water powder, people “coat the noodles” on a pot of boiling water. Cover the fabric in the same way as making rice paper, but the noodles are thicker than the rice paper, then use a knife to cut the noodles into fibers, that’s it. People here rarely say to cook soup for noodles, Quang noodle dish of Quang Nam people does not have broth, but only makes it. This is actually a kind of broth, but very concentrated, with little water, making the bowl of Quang noodles often very dry. Therefore, at noodle shops in the countryside, it is common to see diners eating noodles while sipping a quart of white wine, something we rarely see in people who eat pho or eat vermicelli or vermicelli. That is, when needed, Quang noodles can be temporarily used as a drink.

Quang Nam artisans coat Quang noodles in Tuy Loan ancient village.


Quang noodles crept into every moment of the family

Quang Nam is the only locality in the country that can make such noodles, a very familiar image only to the people of Quang Nam. And when considering its characteristics, we will understand its formation and role in the life of the people of Quang Nam. Everyone knows that our country has many provinces that start with the name Quang, but when it comes to Quang noodles, everyone understands that it is the noodle dish of Quang Nam land. But right in Quang Nam, people don’t call it Quang noodles, just noodles, without fear of being confused with any Chinese man’s noodles. Chinese noodles are only available at shops in Hoi An and Da Nang, while noodles of Quang Nam people are a very rustic dish, popular in the most remote villages, and present in all Quang families. The richest or the poorest male. You can find Quang noodle shops from the foot of Hai Van Pass in the south to An Tan and Ben Van areas later called Chu Lai, from the highlands of Doi Chieng, Ti, Se, and Tien Phuoc to the eastern coastal villages. 


Every family in Quang Nam knows how to make Quang noodles, that’s for sure. Few people are sure that all the people of Thua Thien, or maybe more narrowly, Hue city, know how to cook Hue beef noodle soup, but Quang noodle dish for the people of Quang Nam is undisputed. Within the family, sometimes having free time, and wanting to escape the boredom of the endless rice and fish sauce meals of the countryside, people organize to eat noodles. Soak rice, grind flour, burn oven to coat noodles, make chicken or buy fish, shrimp, and crab meat to make, chop raw vegetables, and live in the house with a delicious traditional meal. Although it has a very rustic origin, Quang noodles have been made very well by many families, delicious noodles are family noodles, not sold in shops. Of course, these are well-to-do families, and gourmets have a cooking tradition, it is in these places that Quang noodles have been enhanced in quality to be comparable to anything of its kind in other regions. other in the country. The most popular, and considered “orthodox” is still crab noodles. Quang Nam has two best shrimp and crab areas, Hoi An and Cay Tram (about 15 km south of Tam Ky town). Both places are famous for their unique bowls of shrimp and crab noodles.

Quang noodles – In the kitchen of a Quang Nam family.


Create very real images

Besides the fresh Quang noodles made from rice flour, the special thing that makes Quang noodles become a unique dish, the most outstanding is the thick sauce to eat with the noodles that the people here call “but”. So what is Quang noodle? It can never be confirmed by a sound like beef noodle soup, chicken vermicelli, or pork vermicelli, only a single “Quang” followed by the sound of noodles. But that one hour includes countless types of ingredients that can be used to cook Quang noodles. But Quang noodles can be cooked from anything from meat, fish, shrimp, and crab, … people can also stir-fry into noodles. In areas with a lot of shrimp and crabs, make shrimp and crab noodles. As easy to find as beef pork, we have beef pork noodles. In the countryside far from the market, if you can catch a few fish, you can make fish noodles. Or chicken, duck as you like. At the beginning of the rainy season, catching many frogs, people can enjoy frog noodles, a specialty that only comes once in a while.

Quang noodles are made from frog meat


It is the Cantonese language accompanied by the sound of noodles that makes Quang noodles become a more diverse dish with many different ingredients, close to each family in Quang Nam.

The way to cook Quang noodles is actually very simple, each person can cook Quang noodles in their own style and create the image of a very old bowl of Quang noodles, with just the ingredients around each of us can process into noodles. Just follow a general rule that the noodles are made of rice flour – clear rice for white noodles, red rice for brown noodles, sometimes a little turmeric for yellow noodles, is also acceptable – combined with a kind of concentrated errata made with any food, we find that Quang noodle is an unpredictable dish, and that’s what accentuates its folk character, easy to customize depending on the product. that local or family get that bowl of noodles will have a taste like.


Rustic and genuine the people of Quang

Compared to other things of the same type, Quang noodles (traditional type) have a somewhat rustic image compared to similar dishes such as vermicelli or pho. The chopped noodles are a bit rough and hard, the raw vegetables are often with bananas or bananas, and the dish is sprinkled with a little water sprinkled with crushed peanuts, and broken rice paper, when mixed, the bowl of noodles looks messy, no You can enjoy the softness of pure white noodle soup, the flexibility in the clear broth, or the charm of pork rolls and the spicy red color of a bowl of beef vermicelli. But pho or beef vermicelli has the appeal of sophistication, while Quang noodles bring in the deliciousness of the rustic, of the very images of the Vietnamese countryside. The noodles are big, thick, and greasy, giving us a slightly simple but strong and stimulating taste.

Hat aunt’s noodle vendor in Hoi An City.


People do not eat Quang noodles in a small way but have to “loudly” to be delicious. If you eat in the simple setting of the countryside, the better. Because judging from its presence and nature, it can be concluded that Quang noodles first originated in the countryside, but the people who enjoy them are those who toil in the fields.


With the sentence “tell me what you eat and how you eat, I will tell you what kind of person you are”, the Quang noodle dish also speaks to the nature of Quang Nam people a lot. Not fancy, a little crude but honest, very firm in principle but also flexible in behavior, although flexible in a slightly rigid way. Obviously, what people do, noodles do.


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