China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Dear Noodle Man

Dear Noodle Man,

We just discovered you. Who knows what treasures we pass by each day as we mechanically walk the same few routes. Our minds are now trained to ignore the picture writing that labels every trivial food vendor, massage parlor, drink stand, and welding shop that clutter China’s streets. And our heads are so often down, watching our step to avoid landing a foot in a strategically-laid pile of excreta or tripping on the rubble from an excavated sidewalk.

Even with greater attention, could we ever try them all – every hole-in-the-wall noodle joint and dumpling shack? Every ten feet there is another sizzling wok pumping out clouds of spicy coal air into the sidewalk.

Also, we are illiterate. But we found you. Among so many options, we chose you. Or maybe you chose us… Who knows why, except that the newspaper happened to teach us the character for noodle the other day, and then we saw it, up above, ten simple lines slung together to form what looks like a detonation box.

What are you, noodle man? How to best bring you to life? You are to Chinese street food what the mustached Italiano flinging pizza dough is to the American pizzeria. As we sat ungracefully devouring our beef noodles, we became hypnotized by your quick movements and effortless sculpting; I felt like I was once again a Parmesan-faced child, gawking with wonder at the spinning discs of pizza pies. Somehow, you took into your hands those bricks of dough and, in a few motions, you created something thin and delicate. We couldn’t figure it out – was it some sleight of hand maneuver? No matter how intently we watched, we missed the trick, only to find you once again dangling noodles from your fingers like the strings of a cat’s cradle.

I think the best way to express our admiration and awe is through a song. So here it is, noodle man, a simple verse just for you:

Oh, The noodle man

The noodle man

Look at his hands

He plays those noodles

Like an accord-i-an

Sincerely,

This Ridiculous World

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