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Homemade Chinese noodles vs store bought?


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Hey, recently I've been super interested in Chinese cuisine, particularly noodles.

I was wondering, for maximum authenticity/deliciousness, would it be better to buy all my noodles or make them at home?

Are there particular varieties that are better one way or the other?

What do Chinese families usually do at home (both in America and China)?

Among families, is there a difference between noodle preparation on a daily basis vs during a large gathering/celebration?

If there is a difference in tastiness, is it significant?

Thanks!

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2 minutes ago, wannabechocolatier said:

Hey, recently I've been super interested in Chinese cuisine, particularly noodles.

I was wondering, for maximum authenticity/deliciousness, would it be better to buy all my noodles or make them at home?

Are there particular varieties that are better one way or the other?

What do Chinese families usually do at home (both in America and China)?

Among families, is there a difference between noodle preparation on a daily basis vs during a large gathering/celebration?

If there is a difference in tastiness, is it significant?

Thanks!

 

Hi, I have lived in China since 1996. I don't know anyone who makes their own noodles, either fresh or dried. So much easier (and cheaper) to buy them in. I do occasionally make Italian types of pasta. This astonishes my Chinese friends who have never considered that it is even possible to home make noodles.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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3 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Hi, I have lived in China since 1996. I don't know anyone who makes their own noodles, either fresh or dried. So much easier (and cheaper) to buy them in. I do occasionally make Italian types of pasta. This astonishes my Chinese friends who have never considered that it is even possible to home make noodles.

 

I see haha, that's kind of disappointing. Oh well, I guess that makes my life easier!

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Of course Liuzhou's advice is practical.   But when approaching a new cuisine it is often more fun to try the impractical and romantic.    That's the way I introduce friends to cooking, one fantastic dish at at time, before they settle into how people really live day by day.

So...you might think about pulled noodles 

 

Or "biang biang" noodles   https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/biang-biang-mian-biang-biang-noodles/

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42 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Of course Liuzhou's advice is practical.   But when approaching a new cuisine it is often more fun to try the impractical and romantic.    That's the way I introduce friends to cooking, one fantastic dish at at time, before they settle into how people really live day by day.

 

So...you might think about pulled noodles 

 

Or "biang biang" noodles   https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/biang-biang-mian-biang-biang-noodles/

 

Wow! That would be starting with the most difficult.

 

By the way, biang-biang noodles is a dish made with a type of hand-pulled noodles (拉面).

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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14 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Of course Liuzhou's advice is practical.   But when approaching a new cuisine it is often more fun to try the impractical and romantic.    That's the way I introduce friends to cooking, one fantastic dish at at time, before they settle into how people really live day by day.

 

I like this philosophy. Also, regarding the video, is la mien similar to the Uyghur 'laghman' noodles?

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1 minute ago, wannabechocolatier said:

 

I like this philosophy. Also, regarding the video, is la mien similar to the Uyghur 'laghman' noodles?

 

Yes. Laghman is the Uyghur: لەڭمەن‎ equivalent to the Chinese 拉面 (lā miàn).

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My point is that it is easier to engage a new cook with a fanciful preparation than a tedious classic procedure, regardless of how necessary it may be to learn to chop an onion correctly.

 

One more thought, many complicated and difficult dishes are not so hard to accomplish IN SMALL QUANTITIES.    Enough for two or even four people is usually manageable.

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7 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

My point is that it is easier to engage a new cook with a fanciful preparation than a tedious classic procedure, regardless of how necessary it may be to learn to chop an onion correctly.

 

One more thought, many complicated and difficult dishes are not so hard to accomplish IN SMALL QUANTITIES.    Enough for two or even four people is usually manageable.

 

Thanks for the advice!

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6 hours ago, wannabechocolatier said:

Hey, recently I've been super interested in Chinese cuisine, particularly noodles.

I was wondering, for maximum authenticity/deliciousness, would it be better to buy all my noodles or make them at home?

Are there particular varieties that are better one way or the other?

What do Chinese families usually do at home (both in America and China)?

Among families, is there a difference between noodle preparation on a daily basis vs during a large gathering/celebration?

If there is a difference in tastiness, is it significant?

Thanks!

 

Hi, what great questions! Thanks for asking them. I will be hanging out hoping to learn.  : )

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Notes on Noodles

 

a) What kind of noodles? Northern China favors wheat noodles; whereas down here in the south, rice noodles are the default. That said, I can buy both. Other grains (or starches) are also used, but to a lesser degree.

 

b) Where to eat them? The vast majority of noodle dishes are eaten outide the home. You are never far from a cheap, friendly noodle shop. Their noodle dishes are usually excellent. Bad ones don't last! People here are fussy about their noodles! Here are a few of the thousands around town.

   Another reason to eat them out is that some dishes take hours to cook which is only worth doing large-scale. The local favourite in this city is 螺蛳粉 (luó sī fěn), the broth for which takes at least 10 - 16 hours to prepare. No one makes this at home!

 

109772710_10157958243247732_6271465389633046121_o.thumb.jpg.fd6561691789782f2959bb203ed10f25.jpg

c) What dishes? Impossible to answer. Almost every town or city has at least one local specialty.

 

d) How to cook them? It seems to me that soupy noodles are the No. 1 choice most places, but fried noodles are also available.

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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29 minutes ago, Burmese Days said:

 

But the biang biang noodle recipe is surprisingly easy and makes a great lunch.

 

 

It's OK as it goes and would be reasonably tasty,  but would never pass muster in Xi'an. Anyway, as said above it's not a dish people make at home.

And even in Xi'an it's mainly for the tourists.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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liuzhou makes excellent points which are somewhat universal.    I would guess that an Italian local would tout local flour preferences in pasta, would suggest that a trattoria was the convenient place to sample time consuming preparations, and would have opinion on his region or village specialty.  

 

We need to differentiate how natives live and how foreign cooks interpret national cuisines.    There is a huge difference between how native people cook Monday to Friday and how dabblers cook when motivated to experiment.   

 

Having been responsible for putting dinner on the table for over 60 years, I find cooking a boring chore that is elevated to some level of "fun" when I make something off-the-wall.

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10 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

liuzhou makes excellent points which are somewhat universal.  

...

 

We need to differentiate how natives live and how foreign cooks interpret national cuisines.    There is a huge difference between how native people cook Monday to Friday and how dabblers cook when motivated to experiment. 


Well thank you. I agree with you but was attempting to answer one of the questions in the opening post.
 

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What do Chinese families usually do at home (both in America and China)?


I can't answer for America.
 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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I buy noodles; and lately, wonton skins - like it would probably take me 2 hours to make 100 skins, which I can buy for about $3.00 - and the quality of the skins I buy is pretty good. Certainly good enough when you take into account the 2 hours; aka the opportunity cost.

 

1729280172_Wontonsboiled07-05.jpeg.921445d71ae6a24eb4d2c38f399058f5.jpeg

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I have lived most of my cooking life buying noodles from Asian markets, there are enough other element in dishes to consider.  I live in Los Angeles with a plethora of dine out options that are excellent. As to other types the only people I know that make them do so for fresh pasta and they enjoy the process - so it works for them. 

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19 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I buy noodles; and lately, wonton skins - like it would probably me 2 hours to make 100 skins, which I can buy for about $3.00 - and the quality of the skins I buy is pretty good. Certainly good enough when you take into account the 2 hours; aka the opportunity cost.

 

imageproxy.php?img=&key=1b5586c5b8cfb2a21729280172_Wontonsboiled07-05.jpeg.921445d71ae6a24eb4d2c38f399058f5.jpeg

 

 

 

The only time I make wonton or jiaozi skins is when we are having a party and all the guests join in. A very Chinese tradition, especially at festival times. The rest of the time, I buy from the local market for next to nothing. As do most peoplle.

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I am lucky to live 5 minutes from San Francisco’s second Chinatown.  Dozens of providers of fresh noodles and (warm) fresh tofu, soy milk, rice noodle product.    Inexpensive and good.  
Once again, the difference between putting food on the table and food adventures.

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23 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

I am lucky to live 5 minutes from San Francisco’s second Chinatown.  Dozens of providers of fresh noodles and (warm) fresh tofu, soy milk, rice noodle product.    Inexpensive and good.  
Once again, the difference between putting food on the table and food adventures.

 

I think it's an adventure shopping for some of this stuff!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Indeed!    With multiple choices per product I find myself in fascinating discussions with fellow shoppers who actually know what they are doing!    Very interested in helping educate.

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I've always admired people who make their own pasta and noodles. I'm not one of them. I actually prefer dried Italian pasta over most fresh. When it comes to Chinese noodles, in Oakland Chinatown there's a great noodle factory where we can get all sizes and shapes of fresh wheat noodle products. I'm getting older and much lazier. Making potsticker filling and forming the dumplings themselves is enough of an accomplishment. If I had to make my own skins I would be napping through dinner time. Sadly, just popping into the factory store for a pack of noodles has become less of an adventure and  one more post-covid negotiation. I'm really well stocked in dried rice noodles, though, and they have become a staple.

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