iChongqing Title

Xiaomian, Chongqing Spicy Noodles

By Bridging News/iChongqing|May 16,2024

Chongqing Noodles. (iChongqing File Photo)

People from other places may hear about Chongqing hotpot, bridges, or mountains, but there is a dish that is more popular and customer-friendly—Xiaomian. It refers to Chongqing spicy noodles, local fast food made with fresh herbs and spices. Most importantly, it can be made to order, with the unique spicy-numbly flavor that the locals love most.

The locals love xiaomian as much as they love hotpot and enjoy it in the morning, lunch, dinner or night. In the morning, many small, hole-in-the-wall street-side xiaomian restaurants are thronged with people, who choose xiaomian to start the day. No matter who you are, an office worker on their way to work, or a porter, also known as a bangbang man, starting another hard day of work early birds often get their morning’s energy for working or studying from spicy and delicious xiaomian. Xiaomian is true “the people’s food.” For those Chongqing locals far away from home, xiaomian is their “comfort food,” and they often choose xiaomian as the first meal when they come back.

There are two types of xiaomian: noodles with broth and noodles without broth. A bowl of xiaomian usually uses more than ten spices and condiments, such as Sichuan pepper, chilies, spring onions, etc. Otherwise, many different toppings can be chosen for xiaomian, like beef, shredded chicken, pork, and so on. Thus, it is not only a dish but an art form in Chongqing.

Currently, Chongqing has about 84,000 Chongqing xiaomian restaurants. Every day, approximately 13 million bowls of xiaomian are sold for dine-in, meaning that roughly one-third of Chongqing's population eats at least one bowl of xiaomian daily. The annual output value of the spicy noodles has also exceeded 40 billion yuan, with more than 500,000 people employed across the entire industry chain.

However, there is still a vast market demand that remains unmet: Chongqing receives 100 million overnight visitors annually, and once they leave Chongqing, it becomes challenging to find an authentic bowl of Chongqing xiaomian. Recognizing this immense market potential, a portable taste of Chongqing is attracting a large number of market players to step into this new industry track, ushering in new opportunities for the industrial development of Chongqing xiaomian.


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