For more than four millennia, Chinese people have been making suomian—a stretched noodle cut from dough made with regional grains: first millet, later wheat. In eastern provinces, such as Zhejiang and Shenzhen, the noodles are still handmade in a days-long painstakingly meticulous process which involves gauging barometric pressure, precise measurements, timed stretching, intricate weaving, and all elements of earth and sky aligning (OK, that last part was a little bit of an exaggeration).
Nanshan's suomian recipe has been passed down from generation to generation over the course of 300 years—and local mythology has it that only 300 people alive today know how to make the noodle. Recently, a camera crew visited a Mr. Lin, who's been making suomian for 34 years in his village. The process is elaborate—with several people participating in hand-rolling the dough, and an instinct-driven craftsmanship that relies on decades of experience, touch, and muscle memory.
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It begins with waiting for good weather—the noodles can't be made or dried in the rain. The dough is prepared and carefully salted before being hand-kneaded and rolled out. Each slab of dough is cut into a long, thick rope—then hand-rubbed, rolled out to the desired thickness, and coiled before being handwoven onto sticks (without breaking them!) in preparation for stretching, every few hours, and then drying in the sun.