A four-reminbi bowl of 炸醬刀削麵 (sliced noodle with meat source), a four-reminbi bottle of cold beer, and a good book - a perfect dinner, almost. The one thing that could have made it better was some good company. Unfortunately I was alone in Xian last Friday, so I had to make do with a book.
刀削麵 is a kind of noodle popular in Shanxi (山西). The noodle is sliced with a special knife directly from a large lump of dough. The noodle’s cross section looks like a flat triangle, and naturally, the longer and thinner the noodle, the harder it is to slice it from the dough. I have seen performances in hotels where the “noodles” so made were rather short, only about 2 to 3 inches long. The noddles I had this evening were more than 6 inches long, and relatively thin; and this is just a little road-side noodle shop. It is a bit more chewy than the usual Cantonese noodles, perhaps because the dough has to be kind of firm to be sliced. But this is just the way I like my noodles.