Food & Wine

Lanzhou Muslim pulled noodles - Spaghetti vs Lamian

Updated: 14 Apr 2010
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Read more on lamian   pulled noodles   spaghetti   Marco Polo   Lanzhou  
If you like spaghetti, most likely you would like lamian. And in Xiamen, you can find lamian every where.

Lanzhou or northwest pulled noodles, first created by the Hui peoole during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (光绪), Qing Dynasty, is now popular across China.

In late 1200s and early 1300s, Marco Polo, an Italian trader brought some Chinese pasta, noodle and their recipes to Italy. Creative Italian cooks adapted and reinvented them to various Italian pastas. Ravioli, tortellini, spaghetti and so on are believed to be pastas evolved from noodle, Chinese dumpling and wanton.
Lamian (L) and spaghetti (R) are alike in texture, shape, looks, ingredients and the way they are served.

There are very close similarities in lamian and spaghetti, in texture, shape, looks, ingredients and the way they are served. Lamian like spaghetti comes in various shapes. Thickness, texture and look of noodle can be a personal preference and ordered and bought accordingly. Lamian can be thick, thin, flat, flat, wide or even sliced. The noodle is served with roumo (minced beef or lamb) which is very similar to bolognese sauce.

Literally, “la” means pull or stretch, and “mian” means noodle in Chinese. It indicates that the noodles are hand pulled on the spot. Unlike spaghetti bolognese which is usually cooked by using ready made tagliatelle, Chinese pulled noodles are made of fresh dough.


Chefs make pulled noodles by stretching the dough to about an arm span's length.

The making of pulled noodles is like a show. Chefs repeatedly pull and fold a piece of dough to produce many strands of noodles. They stretch the dough to about an arm span’s length. The process is repeated several times until the desired thickness and quantity is achieved.

The doughs are even shaved into ribbon noodles in thick, thin, flat or wide forms, also known as knife-shaved noodles (刀削面).

The pulled noodles can be served in different ways. The pulled noodles that are served in beef or mutton-flavored soup is called noodle soup or tangmian (汤面). Also, pulled noodles can be stir fried or mixed with meat or beef sauce. Both pulled noodles and knife-sliced noodles are both available in Lanzhou styled noodle restaurant.

Where to eat pulled noodles in Xiamen:

1) First Northwest Pulled Noodles Restaurant (西北第一家拉面馆)
Add: No.25, Meihu Lu (美湖路), it is off West Hexiang Road
Tel: 0592-2215392

2) Muslim Northwest Pulled Noodles Restaurant (清真西北拉面馆)

Add: No.57-59, North Hubin Road (湖滨北路)
Tel: 0592-5334591

3) Northwest Pulled Noodles Restaurant (西北正宗拉面)
Add: No.70, West Hubin Road (湖滨西路), at the cross road of West Hubin Road and West Hexiang Road.
Tel: 0592-2281943

4) Muslim Pulled Noodles Restaurant (穆斯林拉面馆)
Add: No.507-18, Lianqian West Road, Siming District
Tel: 0592-8494889
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