Wanning establishes a Hou’an Rice Noodle Soup Association

By Marian Rosenberg / HICN / Updated: 17:31,13-January-2022

With the purpose of defining Hou’an Rice Noodles as a distinctive product, the Hou’an Rice Noodle Soup Association was established on January 10 in  Hou’an Town, Wanning City. It is created to ensure the rice noodle soup sold on Hainan island, throughout the rest of China, and around the world as “Wanning Hou’an Rice Noodles” meet the association’s standards of tradition and authenticity. 

Hou’an Rice Noodle Soup gets its name from the town of Hou’an. According to the Annals of Wanning County, the people of Hou’an Town were already making their distinctive rice noodles as far back as the Song Dynasty. Boiled continuously for more than four hours, the stock used in the soup is made from pig bones, chitterlings, offal, and black peppercorns. As this fragrant broth can be considered the “soul” of the soup, the majority of the cook’s effort is spent on making a proper soup stock.

Hou'an Rice Noodle Soup. HAINAN DAILY

For any given serving of Hou’an Rice Noodles, the traditional vermicelli rice noodles which accompany the soup stock use high-quality local indica rice that has often been stone milled by hand, but—these days—the thick and chewy rice noodles are more likely to be made with machine milled rice flour. Done properly, as soon as one takes a bite of the soupy rice noodles (accompanied by crispy pork from local black pigs, fried shrimp, shallots, parsley, and minced celery), one's mouth is flooded with an explosion of deliciousness.

Hou’an Rice Noodle Soup was one of the earliest local snacks to make its way out of the immediate vicinity of Wanning. As of now, they've even become one of the best known Hainan snack foods. According to official data, the province currently has 1,106 registered companies, restaurants, and snack stalls that incorporate the words “后安粉” (Hou’an Rice Noodles) in their name. With stores located in almost all of the province’s cities and counties, two major chain brands of Hou’an Rice Noodles are currently Wuji and Beilou. 

Hou'an Rice Noodle Soup. HAINAN DAILY

Although Hou’an Rice Noodles have become well-known outside of Wanning City, there are no unified standards. Depending on the cook and the shop, there’s a huge variety in both taste and quality. There are even some dishes called “Hou'an Rice Noodle Soup” that are completely unworthy of the name. 

"If consumers visit a Hou’an Rice Noodles shop and they get something that doesn’t taste very good, that’s likely to leave a lasting bad impression on how they view our local dish,” said Lin Daojun (Head of Hou'an Town). With the establishment of the Hou'an Rice Noodle Soup Association, the local government will safeguard the common interests of people engaged in selling Hou’an Rice Noodles. 

Hou'an Rice Noodles. HAINAN DAILY

"We want to make sure that every bowl of Hou’an Rice Noodles is a delicious treat loved by all,” said Lin. By formulating industry rules and standards, organizing related training, and carrying out technical exchanges and cooperation, the Association will implement standardized management and make corresponding requirements for the quality operation by stores using the name “Hou’an Rice Noodles”, so as to enhance the popularity and reputation of the local brand across Hainan and across China.



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