Guilin Rice Noodles

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Guilin rice noodles are a traditional snack in Guilin City, belonging to the Guilin cuisine. The dish is made from early indica rice and brine. It has been listed as a national-level intangible cultural heritage.

Guilin Mifen.png

Chinese Name

桂林米粉 Guìlín mǐfěn


Legend has it that during the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, he ordered Shi Lu and his workers to dig the Ling Canal. When the canal was completed, Emperor Qin Shi Huang, accompanied by Prime Minister Li Si, disguised himself and went on a sightseeing tour of Guilin's beautiful scenery.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang had a hobby of using carp whiskers and roe to serve as appetizers for drinking. When he saw the carp swimming in the Li River, he was amazed at how easy it was to catch them with one's bare hands. He immediately instructed the boatman to catch as many carp as possible and offered a large sum of money for them.

It took countless numbers of carp to make just one bowl of stir-fried carp whiskers or roe. Emperor Qin Shi Huang spent half a month upstream of the Li River, killing thousands of carp. The angered king of the carp vowed to overturn the emperor's boat and consume him. However, the river god warned him that such an action would not be appropriate for an emperor.

The king of the carp then came up with an idea: he ground rice into a paste and made it into noodle-like shapes to resemble carp whiskers and roe. Emperor Qin Shi Huang enjoyed the meal so much that he praised it highly, and thus Guilin rice noodles were born.


Guilin rice noodles are bland in flavor, the key to delicious Guilin rice noodles lies in the gravy. Each store has its own special recipe for making the gravy and it is generally kept a secret. Although each store's recipe differs, the general method of preparation is similar.

The essence of Guilin rice noodles lies in the gravy, which is made by secretly preparing ingredients such as pork, beef, herbs, and spices. People often struggle to get the proportions right when making the gravy, which can greatly impact its taste.

There is no standardized recipe for the gravy used in Guilin rice noodles, so the taste of the noodles can vary greatly between different stores that each have their own secret recipe.