Gala dinner and Shanxi knife-cut noodles

Rem Sapozhnikov / August 2016
In honor of our meeting and the start of the journey over Shanxi province, China Daily organized a gala dinner in Shanxi Huiguan restaurant (山西会馆) specializing in local cuisine. Our group was allotted a whole room on the second floor.

The entrance to the restaurant. Address: Taiyuan, Tiyu Rd., No. 7 (体育路北口7号).
The open kitchen and some cooked food right after the entrance to the restaurant.
Quality control and talks about life.
Hall on the ground floor. According the description of the restaurant, it also has private rooms for small groups.
Along with the dinner, a performance started with a song. At the same time on the screen in the background, they showed a video of a journey through Shanxi of China Daily with one of the previous groups of foreigners.
Sprite was sharply out of harmony with the dishes on the table. I did not drink it. It was unclear how it could ever appear in a restaurant with traditional cuisine.
Miraculously in front of me appeared a 53 degree white liquor, named after the Qiao's Family Compound, which I visited in 2014.
Next part of the performance was dedicated to Daoxiaomian (刀削面 - dāoxiāomiàn) knife-cut noodles, that originated in Shanxi.
The legend says these noodles appeared during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368) – the period of Mongol reign. The government then was afraid of the uprising of the Han people, so all metal objects including kitchen knives were withdrawn out of all the houses. According to the laws of that time, one knife could be used by no less than 10 families. If you had to use a knife, you took it from the guard for some time, and then returned it. Once an elderly couple wanted to make noodles for lunch, but it turned out that the knife was already taken by another family. Then the head of the family suggested using a piece of iron he found on the road. "If it is too soft to cut, then chip with it" — he said to his wife. The noodles turned out a success, and this method of cooking widely spread.

The Daoxiaomian noodles are prepared as follows: one hand holds a dough piece and the other – a special flat knife, which can quickly chip thin elongated dough strips right to the plate. Experienced chefs can chip the noodles straight into boiling water.
Video of preparation of knife-cut noodles riding a unicycle.
Next, they showed us how to make the Lamian noodles (拉面 - lāmiàn). A dough lump is rolled into a cylinder, then it is stretched, twisted and folded in half. Repeat 14 times and you get 16384 noodle strings!
Video about how to make Lamian noodles.
In China even have the dough for inflatable balls.
Loud applause to the noodles-artist.
Shaomai (烧麦) – open-top Chinese dumplings.
Wowotou (窝窝头 - Wōwotóu) – «thimbles» from corn flour with the meat.
Greeted us well, with a lot of liquor.
Sun Ruisheng, China Daily Shanxi Bureau Chief (in the striped shirt), marks the beginning of our trip with the staff of the restaurant.
Group photo after dinner. On the table is written and drawn «洋眼看山西» – «Shanxi through the eyes of foreigners».

Continuation :
Street scenes

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