One of the famous dishes of Kunming is “Across the Bridge” or “Over the Bridge” noodles. There are quite a few rice noodle dishes in the region probably due to the rice terraces of the southeast region.
Legend has it that guoqiao mixian came about when a young scholar retreated to another place to prepare for his imperial examination. His loving wife would travel and cross a nearby bridge to bring him his daily meal. Frequently, his meal would turned cold by the time it gets to him. One day, quite by chance, she discovered a bowl of chicken soup could keep warm with a layer of oil on top. From the on, she would serve the noodles and meat slices with the oil layer soup and the young scholar could enjoy a warm meal every day. When the scholar did well in the examination, he credited his success to his wife’s noodles hence, this dish Across the Bridge Rice Noodles was made known.
Over the bridge noodles remind me of Vietnamese pho (pronounced fuh). You get a steaming hot bowl of chicken soup that you put all the fixings into to cook. Unlike pho, where the fixings are mostly vegetables and sauces, this one includes raw eggs, meat, and the noodles themselves. Your meal also comes with a small variety of pickles and cold dishes that the restaurant seems to carry a multitude of. The end result for me was a little oily due to the layer of oil keeping the soup warm, but it was fun to eat.