Monday, February 9, 2009

Hand Pulled Noodles (Lamian) at Home

Hand pulled noodle shops (Lamian) started appearing in NYC a number of years ago, as the immigrant population from certain areas of China grew. Often, they're called Lanzhou style noodles, and in my neighborhood alone (that's Chinatown), there are no less than 4 or 5 of these tiny shops, serving noodles that are made on the spot - usually in broth, with all sorts of fun meats, or dry style, topped with a sauce, generally porky and generally spicy. This is all good.

But what about making these noodles at home? If you've ever seen these noodles being made, it's not for the faint of heart. Or body. The dough is pulled, slammed, tossed, and pulled some more. Over and over again, until amazingly, the noodles are born, and immediately, like killing a live lobster, plunged into boiling water for their short cooking time before being married and sent to their final rest.

Basically, there was no way I was doing this at home. I mean, I want to, but do I really need to see a physical therapist just because of my cooking habits? I could hear my rotator cuff ripping in the process. What to do, what to do?

Well, lo and behold, Significant Eater and I were taking a nice, brisk 3 mile walk on Saturday, and heading home northbound on Madison Street, I did a double take when I saw a table outside a tiny storefront, with a couple of bags of what looked like fresh, hand-pulled noodles. A little, ahem, discussion with the proprietor, and sure enough, that's what they were. Take a look what $1 bought...

Yes, that's a 1 pound bag of hand pulled Chinese noodles. And today, for lunch, I tried them out...I had a bit of cooked lamb shoulder left over from Friday night's dinner, heated that up, and lookee what I ended up with...

Amazingly chewy, with great texture and body, these may be the hand pulled noodles of my dreams. But, are they home-made hand-pulled noodles? No. But they are hand pulled noodles, made at home. Just as good. Or even better.

And, this is a big plus, no visit to the physical therapist necessary.


  1. Oh man... I got all excited.. I thought you were going to try this at home. I was picturing noodles stuck to every surface in your kitchen.

  2. Nah, I'm not that crazy...after the bread making experience, and cleaning dough off of my ceiling for six months, I decided against it. And, if someone is making them and selling them for $1, why not???