Fresh Chinese wheat noodles

Are there any comprehensive primers on techniques for making fresh Chinese wheat noodles (preferably in English, but Chinese with photos is okay)? Cookbooks tend to be more about noodle dishes than the noodle creation process. Jen Lin-Liu’s memoir On the Noodle Road is the best book resource I’ve found but it only talks about a few types of noodles.

I’d like to use such a resource to fact-check an SFBA noodle guide that I’ll be posting soon. I’ve already put together a list of which local restaurants serve the noodles listed below, and hope to flesh out some history and technique beyond what I’ve been able to scrape from Chowhound, the web, and youtube.

A : Hand pulled, stretched, and/or shaped noodles

Long, hand-stretched or pulled noodles
1. Shou la mian 手拉麵 aka chen mian 抻面 Hand-pulled noodles
2. Che mian 扯面 aka 拉片 Lapian aka Wide noodles aka ripped noodles aka Wide handmade noodles aka “Biang Biang noodles” (Shaanxi)
3. Lagman aka Xinjiang ban mian 拌面 aka Latiaozi 拉条子 aka Hand-pulled noodles (Xinjiang)
4. Other, allegedly hand-pulled noodles

Short, hand-stretched or pulled noodles
5. Ding ding chao mian丁丁炒麵 Fried crush noodles (Xinjiang)

Irregular and squarish, hand formed
6a. Then thuk noodles aka Amdo noodle squares aka Tang fan 汤饭 aka Mian pian 面片 (Tibet/Xinjiang/Northwest)
6b. Snap noodles 朵面 (Shanxi)

B : Other noodles

Long, noodles
7. Shanghai cu chao mian 上海粗炒面 Shanghai thick noodles (Shanghai)
8. Shou gan mian 手赶面 Hand cut / Hand made noodles (手打面 ) / Knife cut (Northeast)
9. Dao ba mian 刀拔面 Knife pulled/pushed noodles (Shanxi)
10. Jook-sing noodles 竹昇麵 (Guangdong)
11. Gang shi dan mian 港式蛋麵 aka Hong Kong style egg noodles (Guangdong / Hong Kong)

Irregular shapes, cut with metal
12. Daoxiaomian 刀削面 Knife shaved noodles aka hand cut aka hand made aka sliced noodles (Shanxi)
13. Jiandao mian 剪刀面 Scissor cut noodles (Shanxi)
14. Chao ge da 炒疙瘩 Fried flour balls aka stir-fried dough drops (Beijing)

Extruded or free-form
15. Ge da tang 疙瘩 Chinese spaetzle aka “doughboy soup” aka flour drop (Northeast)

Some useful links:


SF noodles ( “Gary Soup” on Hungry Onion’s must-read blog, of local SF and general noodle
interest, covers in detail most of the noodles listed above ) (Non-Cantonese Regional Chinese list)

NY noodles

LA noodles Non-house-made noodles, but good reads:

Italian pasta

Chinese translation phone app w/ add-on for optical character recognition:

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I remember eating those.

The dying art of using a bamboo pole of making the 10. Jook-sing noodles 竹昇麵 (Guangdong)
(jook in this name = bamboo.)

There is a short video about the technique here, from a Hong Kong food TV series:

The commentary in the video suggested that the flour must not too much water. Duck eggs must be used instead of chicken eggs. The result is a more bouncy texture because duck eggs have more ‘gelatin’. one , 5 eggs, 1 ladle of alkalinic water slowly absorbed into the noodle makes for great texture. Too dry the noodles will powder up, too wet they will stick.

Some common dishes for this noodle is ‘lo mein’, i.e. noodle with broth on the side, and wonton noodle soup (not to be confused with the American wonton noodle soup). There is a whole history around wonton noodle soup but its about that dish instead of the noodle.

11, Hong Kong style egg noodle. Are you referring to the type of noodle dish served in ‘cha chaan teng’, casual working class eateries in Hong Kong?

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BTW, this thread isn’t on any board right now. So it doesn’t seem to be getting visibility on the boards.

Thanks for the links!

By Hong Kong style egg noodle, I’m referring to the generic type of Cantonese alkaline egg noodle used in soups, both thin and wide cuts. Is there a better name for these? For example, Hon’s Wun Tun House in SF says they make “handmade noodles”— I’m not sure exactly where the hands come in!

I’m mainly interested in places that make noodles in-house, and would guess that Bay Area cha chaan Teng purchase stuff from suppliers.

I forgot to complete the post earlier- It is one catty (500g) 5 eggs and 1 ladle of alkalinic water.

Re: HK style egg noodle, I am kinda confused about this type of noodle, as I feel that it is quite similar to jook sing noodle. Someone needs to get K K here to answer this question :smile:

separately, some info I came across that you may have already visited:

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The really thin HK-style noodles are sometimes called “dragon beard noodles” (龙须面 ) on the mainland. My sense is that they have to be dried, or at least allowed to “set” for a few hours to be able to be cooked with any al dente character. When you see hand-pulled noodles made this thin, it’s mostly for show.

Thanks for the shout out.

I didn’t see any mention of yi gen mian (一根麵), single-strand hand-pulled noodles. I think Terra Cotta Warrior makes one of their dishes with this type of noodle. There’s a noodle hous in Shanghai that will make a noodle one meter long for every year of your life. I’m planning to go there for my 75th birthday next year.

It may not add anything to your noodle-making knowledge, but this CCTV video about Shanxi noodles is my favorite:

Awesome video, but who’s gonna clean up those noodles they shaved onto the tile wall? :smile: Except for Bite of China, few videos I’ve found show so many different types so that’s a keeper.

Oh, yi gen mian! Thanks so much for adding this to the list of things to research.

The technique looks mostly the same as for what others call Lagman aka Xinjiang ban mian 拌面 aka Latiaozi 拉条子 aka Hand-pulled noodles. The difference seems to be that yi gen mian are pulled fast and across the room into boiling water, and “lagman” are pulled slowly onto a table, then coiled around the arms for a final tug. I’ve been asking restaurant owners and servers how they make their noodles, and those that don’t make lamian agreed they use a side to side pulling technique. That’s the technique used by Kingdom of Dumpling and its descendants. I wish I’d thought to ask about whether any do the yi gen mian variant.

The concept of “one noodle per bowl” came up when I spoke to the owner of Terra Cotta Warrior and the servers at QQ Noodle, but I didn’t realize that is what they were talking about. Damn. I can’t remember if QQ Noodle has that, or they were just telling me it exists in the world. I’m pretty sure I saw a video of an MY China chef making yi gen mian, and, sure enough, I just found it listed on their menu for their vegetarian “longevity noodle” soup. That brings the SFBA to 16 types of handmade noodles. Let me know if you know of others!

TCW’s best noodle chef makes a one-noodle-per-bowl biang biang noodles for the staff occasionally but it’s not served to the public. Incidentally, the owner of TCW said that all their noodles fall under the category of Che mian 扯面 (“ripped noodle”), including the normal noodles for Qishan noodles, flat wide noodles, and super-wide Biang Biang noodles. I haven’t been able to find confirmation that the normal noodles are called che mian. Any thoughts?

Huh… contrary to what I would have expected, I found various web references to Huanglongxi in Sichuan province being the birthplace of yi gen mian , e.g.,

It was probably your post on CH that gave me the impression that TCW made yi ge mian for one of their soups, but perhaps I’m wrong.

Looking back at my blog pictures, the noodles in the Qishan saozi mian I had at TCW may have been hand torn. They were about 1/4" wide and irregular.

You a right about MY China’s yi gen mian I had forgotten about that.

I see. Your reference is correct. These are the noodle people use most often for wonton noodle (雲吞麵). It is sometime called wonton noodle. It is very alkaline.

They look like the following, right?

I think they really mean custom made, not necessary hand made. It has a noodle machine in house (I saw it with my own eyes – yes, both eyes). His noodle is not from some massive supplier. I do like the wonton noodle from Wun. The wonton dumplings themselves in my opinion is good, but not great. The noodle is much better. I even bought a bag of his wonton noodle and took it with me on plane.

Do you know if the machine is used for dough preparation, or just for cutting, at Hon’s Wun Tun House? If both, that means the only “handmade” Cantonese noodles in the Bay Area are the alleged jook sing at King Wonton, and those are made off site. (it would be naive to have a beef with machines being used, and I think they do a better job in many cases— I’m interested more in identifying the few places that are using traditional techniques so people have an opportunity to see whether person or machine makes a difference).

So it’s sounding like fresh Cantonese fresh egg (+alkaline) noodles are the same stuff, but vary in cut (thin vs. wide wonton noodles) and whether they are par-boiled, e.g., Hong Kong-style (chow mein) noodles.

I would say wonton noodle or alkali noodle is still different than the regular egg noodle. Regular egg noodle which you use for stir frying should not be alkaline.

I don’t know what the Hon’s machine is for. I have seen it, but I didn’t take a closer look or ask.

Hon’s used to have a noodle factory at 532 Jessie St. that made the noodles served on Kearny St., but I think they have moved out of town. Perhaps Kearny St. added a noodle machine when that happened.

This post on yi gen mian in Singapore includes a claim that they are of Shanxi origin.

This blog might be more like my noodle experiments than traditional noodling techniques (though it does often try those out as well. I came upon this blog because the author, Ken Abala, is a Food Studies professor at the University of the Pacific, here in SF.


Oops, meant to link this article as well as the blog. It mentions he has a book coming out soon titled Noodle Soup: Technique, Theory, Obsession.

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Some more info on Ken Albala in the Chronicle

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2