Despite walking past HonGuo 红锅a number of times, I saw it as ‘just another Chinese eatery’ and never really knew what it sold. That is until I heard of its signature “Cross Bridge Vermicelli”. Known as 过桥米线, this is Yunnan’s best-known cuisine with more than 100 years of history.
Word has it that a virtuous wife would bring meals diligently to her scholar husband everyday by crossing the bridge to where he was. And that was one very long bridge. She surprisingly realised that the soup would remain hot, most likely due to the layer of chicken oil and claypot used. Others eventually adopted her method of cooking, with some calling this the “Love Bridge Vermicelli” due to her devotional love.
Would you do the same to your spouse? Crossing the bridge everyday to deliver a bowl of soup? Such is love.
I do not think many wives in current days would do the same, but this fortunately this traditional dish remains. This meal at HonGuo turned out to be rather out of the ordinary when a huge red bowl arrived with 15 different saucers of ingredients. All for the price of $8.50. The waitress would throw in the ingredients, starting with the meat, vegetables and ending with the mee sua – just like how authentic zha jiang mian would be served in China.
This bowl of various ingredients of prawns, squid, meat slices, mushroom, quail egg and vegetables reminded me of steamboat. The double boiled soup of duck, chicken and pork portions was palatable yet not salty, fortunately without MSG or that original layer of oil. There was an occasional crunch of peanuts or rubbery squid which made eating an ‘adventure’ because you did not really know what entered your mouth.
I wished that the soup was really hot and boiling, as though the hot steam from the red bowl can blow into my face. Still, this huge portion could be shared between two, and makes a rather comforting and filling meal.
HonGuo 红锅, 23 Serangoon Central, #B1-75 NEX Mall, Tel: +65 6634 4675
Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm Daily
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