Chu Qui: Oodles of Noodles.

Nicholas Quirke was inclined to believe that the Spring festival was just an excuse to eat excessively on 17 February 2021 and his stomach was starting to rebel against the diet that tradition demanded he consume. The seventh day of celebration, which is also the day man was created, and marked the end of the holiday had a simple task to fulfil; eat Noodles! Ancient China had the tradition of wearing a hair accessory called rén sheng (人胜) on this day and Nicholas convinced himself that by wearing a hat he was realising the convention. It was his usual cleaning day and before doing anything else he completed his domestic chores. They had decided to go north to Bestease a Vegan noodle restaurant for lunch which was a long journey on the subway. On arrival they discovered that it was shut! Peng quickly found an alternative and they mounted bikes and cycled the 3 km to an old established eatery specialising in noodles. The only vegan dish he could have was Yo Po Mian or Biangbiang noodles 面/面 are popular in the cuisine of Shaanxi Province and revered as one of the “eight strange wonders of Shaanxi”. Described as part of a poor man’s meal in the countryside the bowl is topped with many red-hot peppers for the cold winter and hey were absolutely delicious but spicy Once he had eaten them along with a plate of spicy lotus root, noodle flour soup, a tasty tofu and spring onion mountain he feared he was inviting in another night of disturbed sleep. They had cycled a long way from their original plans for the day and instead went back to the cafe he’s discovered a couple of days before which was conveniently around the corner. The cafe was part of a gallery that had been partially adapted from a garage which was continuing to thrive in the adjacent space. He explored the exhibition which was on show including an instillation which was set on the Normandy coast but with its pebbles reminded him of home and Brighton and he experienced a twinge of homesickness as he listened to the seascape being used. The evening, after he had eased away the days exertions in the massage chair was spent in front of the Tv screen watching the trivial, mildly entertaining ‘Finding ‘Ohana’, a Hawaiian children’s adventure story with little but some lush footage of the beautiful island, where apparently Lost and Jurassic Park were filmed. Simple fare to take him to bed but as anticipated the spice kept him from enjoying a full nights sleep.

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