Rice noodle rolls, or chang fun, is a classic Cantonese dim sum dish.
One young man in New York insists on making it the traditional way: using a stone mill.
It takes 30 minutes to collect a bucket of rice pulp from the mill.
In ancient China, a stone mill was used to make rice pulp. The waiting is worthwhile. This method of making the pulp preserves the natural flavor and nutrition.
“Cold grinding means to grind slowly, not heating the rice or losing its nutrition. The rice pulp feels smooth, which can be used to produce thinner rice noodle wrap,” said Joe Rong, owner of Joe’s Steam Rice Roll.
Spread the rice pulp, add the toppings, then send it to the steamer. It more difficult than it looks.
“In the first month of my business, the rice noodle rolls I made tasted awful because I chose the wrong type of rice. I shut down for a week to look for the right one. I picked from over a dozen kinds for a particular one to make rice noodle rolls,” said Rong.
Rong came to America seven years ago. But he cannot forget this dish from his hometown.
“I’ve never tasted in America rice noodle rolls like the ones back in my hometown. So I decided to go back to China and learn the technique,” he said.
Operating for six months now, Rong knows his recipe well. He has quite a few burn marks on his arm, too.
“I have to take out the plate fast. If the steaming time is 5 seconds or 10 seconds longer, the rice noodle wrap becomes a liquid mixture and couldn’t hold,” he said
Rong hopes his hometown recipe can become popular here in the United States.