A family with an old person has a living treasure of gold. Du Hsiao Yueh has many treasures and one of the most important treasure is the third-generation descendant Hong, Zhen-Ming’s older sister. From the second-generation descendant Hong, Zai-Lai’s struggling, the third-generation descendant Hong, Zhen-Ming’s business roots planting, to the fourth-generation descendant Hung Hsiu Hung’s business expansion, Hong, Zhen-Ming’s older sister witness the evolution of Du Hsiao Yueh. She is a real living treasure of gold. The following are excerpts from a conversation between Mr.Hung Hsiu Hung and his auntie. Let us find out the secret behind Dan Zai Noodles.
Everything starts from carrying a shoulder pole
Hsiu Hung: I remember that Du Hsiao Yueh is founded by great-grandfather who carried a shoulder pole. So rough and difficult! Auntie, how old did you start to help out family business?
Auntie: Since I was 12 years old. Your grandpa (Hong Zai-Lai, the second-generation descendant ) opened a store at Zhongzheng Road. After your father bought a house, our shop moved to a lane beside Zhongzheng Road. Zhongzheng Road was crowded with people. A small bowl of noodles wasn’t cheap but there were still lots of customers supporting us for the good taste.
After military training, their unit waited for the boat to the battle. Nevertheless, Japan surrendered at discretion and Taiwan's sovereignty was passed from Japan to the Republic Of China afterwards. So your grandpa did not leave Taiwan at all. He rent a store to sell noodles and it went surprisingly well .
Hsiu Hung: A journalist called Chen, Feng-Yuan wrote about our Dan Zai Noodles back at that time. He thought that Du Hsiao Yueh is very different from other noodle stands.
Auntie: Definitely! We prepare best ingredients for our broth and minced pork without adding any unnecessary ingredients. That’s why customers can have the real taste of them.
Hsiu Hung: Chen, Feng-Yuan thought that Grandpa was dedicated to serve the best Dan Zai Noodles!
Noodles that carry an old soul
Auntie: At that time, whenever I went to help out, I would smell the aroma of minced pork right at the intersection of Ximen Road and Zhongzheng Road.
Hsiu Hung: When I was little, I still remembered that as long as we started to cook minced pork, the whole street were filled with wonderful aroma of it. All neighbors lifted metal buckets to buy the gravy!
Auntie: Well, no. Your grandpa cut them with a cleaver on a thick wood cutting board. Whether pork skin or ground pork, he cut them himself.
Hsiu Hung: Besides minced pork, we also put some shallots. Did we buy premade ingredients?
Auntie: No, we also cut it ourselves. Daughter-in-law like us have to cut shallots till we drop tears.
Hsiu Hung: But you didn’t have gas back then...Did you start a fire in wood stove?
Auntie: Yes. We bought lonan wood to make a fire. Like the old house on Zhongming Street, we put woods into the stove and cooked on the stovetop.
Auntie: Yes, it is. Minced pork is the soul of our Dan Zai Noodles. It takes lots of skills to stir-fry.
There is another important ingredient: soy sauce. Without good soy sauce, there will be no good minced pork.
Hsiu Hung: For example: how to marinade and the aroma of cooing. They all matter.
Auntie: Besides, we don’t add any chinese herbal medicine like star anise into our minced pork. We just keep it simple.
Hsiu Hung: So customers can have real taste of it.
Auntie: Exactly. With minced pork, scallions, soy sauce…
Hsiu Hung: ...and the skill of stir frying,
Auntie: We can determine cooking methods judging from the process of cooking and make the best Dan Zai Noodles.