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La Mien, when translated to English stands for La “to pull” and Mien “noodle”. It is a type of handmade or hand-pulled Chinese noodle. Through a process of stretching and twisting wheat flour, noodle makers can hand pull hundreds, even thousands of beautiful long thin noodles for a variety of Asian dishes.
The noodle is made of wheat flour and water, so it’s actually a very simple dish. The dough must be kneaded exactly enough for gluten proteins to make the dough elastic. Different chefs may have their own signature techniques for stretching and thinning the dough into noodles.
The most common way to make La Main is by grabbing a cylinder of the dough by its ends and stretched by gyrating it like skipping a jump rope. It can also be stretched by snapping it upward and sharply back down to slap a lightly floured work table. The elongated dough is folded, and the ends are brought together. This is spun, twisted together. A finger is inserted through the bottom loop, and the braided dough is pulled apart to break at the fold. With each repetition, the number of noodle strands doubles, becoming progressively thinner. When finished, a hundred noodles, each as thin as angel hair pasta, is not uncommon.
La mian is believed by many researchers to be the ancient precursor to many of the noodles-in-soup dishes common throughout Asia. The noodles are also commonly served as a stir-fry. During summer, la mian may be served chilled with salad toppings and a vinegar dressing. The fresh noodles are also cooked in broth and served in various ways, most commonly in a soup.