Yiwu Long Life Noodle

Also known as hand-pulled noodle, which is named in opposite to foreign noodle threads - made by machine. Long life noodle deserves its name for that the noodle thread is one meter long, there. How can it be that long? There is something particular about the flour.
 
Flour fish and flour chicken cooked in local farmer's households do not require much for the flour quality, so flour with even oatmeal ground together could be used. The flour used to cook steamed bread requires higher quality, only the first flour after grinding could be used, i.e. The flour comes out from the first round of grinding in the mill and then sift it, if we don't use this kind of flour, the bread will not be white enough. The flour used to cook long life noodle requires even higher, generally flour coming out from an ordinary sieve is too rough, we have to use screen sieve (Luotou Sieve) for processing the flour. Luotou screen sieve is equipped with very fine sieve cloth, so it is very difficult to process flour only by the force of arms, long life noodle households asked carpenter to make a special stand for the sieve, they step on the stand, the flour will come down from the sieve by vibration, so the women who used to step on the stand are often seen to be  stained with flour all over the body like wrapped in a white cloth; at the same time, the wheat used to grind flour should also be of high quality, wheat of bad quality doesn't   turn out as much white flour.
   
When making the dough, in addition to proper water, salt also can increase the toughness of the noodles. When the dough is done, we cut it into small parcels , then pull the parcel to a noodle thread until a little water evaporated from the parcel, with one end of the noodle thread bind to a chopstick, the chopstick is inserted in a wooden frame with pores at both up and down sides, continue stretching the noodle thread until it reaches the hole at down side, remove the dough at the end, use another chopstick bind the end and insert the chopstick into the pore at down side, a long life noodle thread is then made. So a long life noodle thread is flat at both ends, while a little thin in the middle. When pulling a long life noodle thread, it requires not only good wheat flour, appropriate humidigy, but also the uniform pulling strength, or it will be very easy to break. Long life noodle thread is made one by one by hand, after the threads are dried, they will be tied together with a red ribbon and put into a bamboo basket painted in red, they could be transported in long-distance as gifts for friends and family. Local Yiwu people prefer to send long life noodle threads when having birthday celebration or marry their daughters in rural areas to show their happiness and longevity.
 
There is a disadvantage about the long life noodle thread, that is, it is subjected to color change in damp climate, because salt inside the noodle absorbs water easily, they must be stored in dry and ventilating areas. There is no need to put in salt when cooking long life noodle, only appropriate seasoning will do, its incense and softness and slipperiness are especially welcomed by elderly and children. And because machine-made long life noodles requires not equally high quality of flour, and not easily to break when cooked, it is tough to chew, and the flavor is also not as good as hand made noodles. So although processing hand-made long life noodle is complex, and also of high cost, it is still welcomed by consumers. Early years just after the liberation, Yiwu people in rural areas could all make hand-made long life noodles. However, after the implementation of monopoly for purchase and marketing of grain, hand-made long life noodle in rural areas has also been banned, machine-made food processing was in monopoly under the supervision of the national food sector. It is only in recent years that hand-made long life noodle resumes processing. Ms Wu, the vegetable shop owner in agricultural trade center said that they are wholesaling hand-made long life noodle, and they made noodles at home by hand. The truth is, processing long life noodle requires no Luotou sieve any more, the flour coming out from milling machine can be a fine to enough to make noodles, while the processes of making dough, pulling the thread, and dry the thread remain hand-making.

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