Dan Dan Noodles with Pork

By Michelle Boamah

Green are the leaf blade clusters that form bok choy,

they are separated and blanched in noodle water.

Dried white noodles can be found in any farmer’s market,

they are combined with chili sauce, leafy greens, and pork.

They are put in a bowl ready to be eaten,

people enjoy hurriedly with the looming thought of it being gone.

Different textures can be seen from the chopsticks,

from the noodles to the Sui Mi Ya Cai.

Simmering on my taste buds it is spicier than most dishes,

I encourage others, offering them like pearls of wisdom.

I wish to go walking off in the streets,

skipping off to taste this dish from every street vendor.

The trip is long, and I worry about getting tired or running out of money,

but the need to experience this dish is far too great.

Finding the dish among a sea of people was a minor thing,

standing in line makes clear my intentions.

Right across from me,

they place the noodles in a big pot.

Later in the day when another customer is ready for a treat after a long day,

this flavor too will be needed for the occasion.


  1. I chose to imitate Cold Noodle Soup with Sophora Leaves by Du Fu.
  2. I choose this piece because I enjoyed how it described the process and ingredients used to make this dish. I also enjoyed how the culture surrounding Cold Noodle Soup shone through the poem and I wanted to do the same with another type of noodle dish.
  3. I learned about the importance of food to the author’s culture. From the detailed description of the meal and its ingredients to the mention of the emperor also consuming said meal. This shows that the meal is an important aspect of this society because even the highest-ranking person in this society enjoys and looks forward to this meal.
  4. The way food is portrayed in this poem by Du Fu is similar to the way my family views food. We also view food as an important aspect in our lives. Food allows us to bring the whole family around for an enjoyable experience. We love to share food with our neighbors and friends because it is an expression of the love we have for one another. My mother, during holidays like Christmas and Easter, will cook meals for our family friends as their gift, instead of giving them traditional store-bought gifts, because she believes that food is able to express the love she has for them more than any gift could. Food is a way that we say I love you without using our words.
  5. There is cultural DNA embedded in his piece by Du Fu shown through his eagerness to share the noodle dish with everyone. In the eleventh line he says, “I urge others, offering them like pearls.” This showcases how noodles have become food for all. There is no hierarchy as to who can enjoy this dish. It is meant to be experienced by all. This is also shown in the last two lines when he says, “Late in the day when the ruler is enjoying the cool, this flavor too is needed for the occasion.” Reaffirming the view that noodles can be enjoyed by all and also showing that it is something that can bring people together by giving them something they can all connect with and enjoy. This poem also showcases Du Fu’s title as a civil servant and his pride and love for his country by his eagerness to introduce others to the dish so dear to his heart.

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