Pulled Noodles, Knife Cut Noodles and Dumpling Banquet
Traditional la mien
Lunch today had to be one of the best culinary
highlights of the trip. It was a buffet along with two noodle
stations. The buffet was really bad so I skipped that and went
straight for the noodle stations. One station offered traditional
la mien, meaning "pulled noodles". The chef started
with a ball of dough and rolled and stretched it until it was
a long but thick rope. He doubled it and pulled, thus making two
noodle ropes. He doubled again and kept doubling and pulling until
he had a handful of noodles that were pretty symmetrical for being
handmade. Then he dropped it in some sort of light broth and scooped
it out into bowls for everybody to try.
other noodle station offered traditional dao xiao mien, meaning
"knife cut noodles". This station was cooler to watch
though the flavor was just as good as the other station. The chef
started with a chunk of dough and molded it onto a wooden board
in the shape of a loaf of bread. Then he took a really sharp knife
and "sliced" off noodles straight into the pot of water.
These flat noodles were also sized well for being handmade. The
noodles were cooked and then drained and placed in bowls. They
were served with a special beef sauce drizzled on top. I thought
the noodles were great but the sauce was a little salty so I went
back for another bowl of the la mien.
Noodles are popular with Chinese because they are simple to make,
cook, and eat. In just a short time, a specially trained chef
can make a dozen bowls of noodles and serve them hot or cold,
drizzled with chili oil, doused in soup, or smothered with a sauce.
Also, since noodles always come in the form of long strings, they
represent longevity and can be found at birthday parties and other
The final stop before dinner was a museum of ancient stone tablets.
I nicknamed it the museum of "rocks with stuff written on
them". Somewhere along the way there was a loss of information
so I didn't learn much here. Eventually many students ended up
sitting and waiting for others. I don't think the museum is to
blame for not being interesting; the terra cotta soldiers were
a hard act to follow.
was yet another culinary highlight. It was the famed "dumpling
banquet" that I personally had been waiting for. The dumplings
came out in this order: pork and corn, chicken and cabbage, ham,
cabbage, pork, shark fin, pork, fish, corn and duck, chicken and
mushroom, lotus and pork, pork, boiled water dumplings, deep fried
dumplings, fried (potstickers), pickled, chicken and mushroom,
pumpkin, walnut, and baby fish dumplings in soup. I think the
baby fish soup was the best. The waitress said scooping up one
fish was lucky, two even luckier, three the luckiest. Some kids
scooped and got none; I scooped and got four by random chance.
After dinner there was a show that didn't really tickle my fancy.
I was ready to go home and sleep after my big meal.