» Knife Cut: A large block of wheat dough is formed into an oblong shape. Using a broad, flat razor, Yang shaves off strips of dough into a pot of boiling water. The resulting thick, chewy noodles are the highlight of dishes such as Shanxi Meat Noodle.
» Hand Pulled: Yang cuts a slab of wheat-based dough into small strips, then uses the force of his hands and gravity to pull them into long strands. The noodles find their way into chopstick-challenging dishes like the Shanxi House Special Noodle Soup.
» Machine Cut: A tube of dough is fitted into a mold, which is placed on a large extruder. Pressure in the machine forces the mixture through small holes (think back to your Play-Doh days), making round, bouncy noodles that are ideal with a zesty tomato-and-egg-based sauce.
Mandarin Noodle Deli, 9537 Las Tunas Dr., Temple City, 626-309-4318Photographs by Alex Farnum