Chinese locals discouraged from eating saliva noodles

An effort to eliminate "xian shui mian" or "saliva noodles" said to be invented by King Wen of Zhou, founder of the Zhou dynasty over 3000 years ago, is being encouraged in Changxing town of Meixian county in northwest China’s Shaanxi province.

The Chinese Business View reported on Thursday that the township government has launched a 500 yuan award for the first six families that do not treat their guests to "xian shui mian" during the New Year or Spring Festival.

Ma Binglin, an official with Changxing township government, further explained that they decided to alter the village dietary habits for the sake of their health since the noodle soup is reused many times and contains each diner’s saliva. The repeated use of the soup has brought about the name "saliva noodle," and is considered unsanitary.

"Saliva noodle," which carries a meaning of "a meal of family community and harmony", is popular in villages in the counties of Meixian, Wugong and Qianxian. In weddings, funerals, festivals and birthday feasts, traditionally guests are treated to saliva noodle.

Though "Xian Shui Mian" disgusts some of the local people, "It has a history of thousands of years and has taken root in local cultures. So it can’t be simply described as a bad habit. The custom could only be reformed but never removed," Mr. Wang said.