Shahe rice noodles have been around since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when they were first served in Guangzhou’s Shahe town at the restaurant of Fan Axiang, who got the recipe from his father.
Although the dish has waned in popularity in the past, fifth-generation inheritor Ou Yousheng has helped revive it by using innovative techniques and experimenting with new flavors, all while maintaining the traditions that made Shahe rice noodles an important part of Guangdong cuisine.
Ou showed me the steps inside of Congee City’s exhibition kitchen, which gives customers the chance to see rice noodles made up close and personal.
The noodles were traditionally made using Baiyun Mountain spring water and Longmei rice sourced from fields around Shahe. But due to limited quantities and higher demand, Ou said after much research, Maofeng Mountain spring water and Longmei rice from Kaiping County are now used.
The two ingredients are ground and mixed to produce rice milk, which the inheritor must measure carefully to create a final product that is as durable as it is tasty. The rice milk is spread flat, steamed into a thin rice sheet, folded and sliced into even strips ready to be cooked.
As I witnessed firsthand, Shahe rice noodles are a versatile dish only limited by the creativity of the chef. They can be served in many ways, mixed with different sauces and other ingredients, boiled and fried. And each spin on this classic noodle will keep you coming back for more.