The Chinese suomian noodle, or stretched noodle, is China's most difficult noodle to make. One particular type is called the Nanshan noodle, and a video was just released revealing the grueling process.
The process is long, and maybe that’s why it’s supposed to taste so good. According to Food and Wine, the noodle was first made from millet, and is now made from wheat. The process of hand-making these is days-long and requires the gaging of barometric pressure, stretching and weaving, and the cooperation of the weather, as you’ll see in the video below.
It all begins with the weather…rain would ruin the noodles. The dough is prepared and cut into a rope shape before being hand rolled into the thickness that is desired for the noodle.
Then, it’s coiled and woven along sticks (very difficult since you don’t want the noodles to break) 60 times before being stretched every few hours in the sun where it dries. Two people must work together to do the stretching of the noodles. Imagine having to go out and stretch these very delicate noodles every few hours for a couple of days. Imagine then if it rained just when you were about to finish!
All I can say is they must taste pretty great for them to be worth all of that extra hard work.
Grub Street reports that this recipe has remained in the Nanshan Village in the eastern Zhejiang Province of China for over 300 years, and that only 300 people even know the recipe. Of course, now that there’s a video on the internet about how to make it, if anyone wants to attempt it, that number will certainly increase.