210 Lai mein2Whether it’s some guy rolling a shawarma or a teppanyaki chef flipping his knife around, I’m a sucker for watching my meal being prepared in front of me. Lai mein (stretched noodles) is a northern Chinese specialty and quite fun to watch.

The chefs repeatedly stretch and twist the dough, turning it into thinner and thinner strings until a final snap pulls out dozens of noodles. The whole process takes less than 2 minutes.

It’s said to have originated here in the north 2,000 years ago, after the technique of flour milling was brought from India, along the Silk Road, to China.

The two most popular ways to eat lai mein are in broth with some green onions and hot oil, or with a minced meat sauce. Problem is it’s served with every meal, so we got a little tired of lai mein by the end of the trip.

And now for some unrelated noodle news and world record.

Lai mein, Dunhuang