Hunched over bowls of freshly pulled noodles, elbow-to-elbow with hungry locals, hole-in-the-wall Henan Lamian (御面馆 yù miànguǎn) seems like a different universe from the expat-crowded corner of Changle Lu and Fumin Lu—a mere stone’s throw away.
In the kitchen, a flour-dusted man in his 20’s kneads and stretches dough—pulling it to arm’s length, gracefully twisting, twirling, then slamming it back onto his work bench. Making hand-pulled noodles is truly an art form, but the Li family, hailing from the Henan province, makes it look easy.
Shanghai’s hand-pulled noodle, or lamian, joints are typically of the Lanzhou or Henan variety. You’ll know you’re in a good Lanzhou establishment if the staff are serving beef noodles in traditional white caps. You’ll know you’re in a good Henan place when Scallion Noodles (葱油拌面 cōngyóu bànmiàn) are on the menu.
A seemingly simple dish, these are a must-order at Henan Lamian. Gummy, chewy, and oh-so-comforting, the freshly pulled noodles are cooked for only 20 seconds before being tossed in a mild sauce of scallion-infused oil and soy. The scallion noodles are RMB8/medium or RMB9/large.
Another yummy noodle option is the Braised Beef Brisket Noodle Soup (红烧牛肉面hóngshāo niúròu miàn, RMB16/medium, RMB18/large). Rich in flavor and heavily garnished with cilantro, it’s a consoling cure for any ailment.
If you’re looking for more than noodles, Henan Lamian is also known for its stir-fried Bamboo Tofu (青椒腐竹 qīngjiāofǔzhú, RMB12). Made by drying and stacking sheets of boiled soy milk film, the Li family adds soy sauce and green peppers to achieve savory perfection.
The Fried Rice (蛋炒饭 dàn chǎofàn, RMB11/medium, RMB14/large), a local lunchtime staple, is also a winner, reminiscent of the American Chinese dish of the same name, only less greasy.
Open 24 hours, Henan Lamian is a place for morning, noon or night (it’s even on Untour’s breakfast route). Make your way up the narrow staircase, or snatch a chair outside, under the leafy plane trees—where you can watch the noodle master at work.
What: Henan Lamian
Address: 607 Changle Lu (near Donghu Lu) 徐汇区长乐路607号 (近东湖路)
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