|One side for making the wonton and storing food supplies and eating implements, the other side for the broth filled cooking pot and the charcoal brazier beneath|
It often fascinates me how much the world has changed in the last, say, six to seven decades. That sounds like a long time but it really isn't, it encompasses the lives that my parents grew up living (which doesn't really exist anymore.) Thru the advent of modern technology and science, etc., the world has really changed so much that many of the older generation, like my dear 爸爸, are often times at a loss to cope. For myself it's a different kind of problem, I often find a hopeless grey fog in front of me when I try to imagine or reconstruct the way that things used to be done in the past. I mean how the hell did things get done before the invention of machines that churn out endlessly to meet our every need nowadays? How, for example, did people make ice cream before ice cream machines? Or even before electricity for heck sake?! With such thoughts often in the back of my mind, I was pleasantly surprised the other day when we stumbled upon a display of an old time 1940's Wonton Noodles Mobile Hawker Stall, or 雲吞麵小販攤檔.
|The brass pot for the cooking of wontons and noodles|
The Hawker stall was a revelation in many ways. First of all was the beautiful construction and spare, efficiently functional design. Lovely jointed wood and shining brass pots. Each drawer and space was carefully designated so that all the stages of the wonton noodles process from the making of wonton to the cooking to the serving to the customers was catered for. It not only worked to a tee but was also quite beautiful. This Wonton Noodle Mobile Hawker Stall reminded me of some of a noodle street stall that I had patronized while eating noodles in Japan: traditionally beautiful and yet exceptionally functional. Traditional style operating in modern mode, why not? I just wish that we Chinese could embrace this concept more fully.
|A photo of a real Wonton Noodles Mobile Hawker!|
So Wonton Noodles was originally a street snack! And only evolved into a shop entity over the passage of the years. I thought it especially interesting about the Wonton Noodle operators singing 'wonton songs' to attract and call their customers. That's so much more interesting and involved than looking at some ad or watching a commercial. Imagine this: You're at home and the singing drifts in the window, you raise your head and smile in recognition and hunger, grope about for the correct change and down you go to the street were the wonton hawker smiles and asks you about your day before passing you your steaming hot fragrant bowl of wonton noodles. And of course it's really, really good Wonton Noodles cuz you wouldn't patronize his hawker stall if it wasn't the best. Ah, those were the days, eh?
Best wonton noodle film scene ever!! Check out this clip from Wong Kar Wai's movie In the Mood for Love. This guaranteed to make you hungry for a bowl of wonton noodles scene takes place in the 1960's:
Tip: If you want to see this Wonton Noodles Mobile Hawker Stall for yourself, it's at Wong Chi Kei 15B Wellington Street, Central HK. I think it's a permanent installation. And while you're there you might as well treat yourself to a delicious bowl of wonton noodles!
Tip 2: Check out more info on bamboo stick noodle production at our Shrimp Roe Noodle recipe post.
Tip 3: Want to know the answer to how ice cream was made before machines? Check out any of our delicious ice cream recipes!
More Local Hong Kong eats at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Belly Button Biscuits 肚臍餅
Hong Kong Hawker Traditional Fruit Candy
Chinese Jinhua Ham 金華火腿