Liangpizi - Gansu's special noodle snack
When you hear about Gansu province's famous snack named "liangpizi," which literally means: cold skin, there is no need to fear - it is not the cold skin of an animal, but merely a unique noodle dish that is served cold!
The locals in Gansu also call liangpizi "Zhaojun pizi" after Wang Zhaojun, one of the four beauties of ancient China. She was given as a bride by the Han emperor to marry Xiongnu Chanyu - king of the Huns, a rival empire that was determined to unseat the Han Dynasty, in order to establish more friendly relations between the two kingdoms.
When Wang Zhaojun arrived at the Hun tribe, however, she found it difficult to adjust to their diet. Coming from the southern part of China where the staple food is rice, Zhaojun was not used to such a heavy diet of wheat noodles, so in order to make her feel more at home, one of the cooks created liangpizi - a dish with noodles made from rice flour. Legend has it that Zhaojun loved this special dish and the popularity of liangpizi, or "Zhaojun pizi," quickly spread throughout the northern parts of China.
Liangpizi is prepared by first shaving rice noodles into a bowl, and then pouring in a special sauce of chillis, soy sauce, peanut powder, green onions and other seasonings. Finally, each person can add their own special seasonings to taste, resulting in a quick and delicious snack that can supply a variety of flavors: spicy, tart, nutty, and so forth.
In Gansu today, liangpizi is eaten so often that it is difficult to imagine how the locals ever survived before Zhaojun came and this dish was created! On your travels through, make sure to grab a bowl of this delicious snack from one of the many street vendors and snack bars on the streets of Gansu.