Mar 08 2013

In the fall of 2010, I became fascinated with Chinese noodles called La Mian. How could I help myself with this video to watch?

Hand drawn Noodles with Chef Kin Jing Mark.

La Mian, or Lamian, is a type of handmade or hand-pulled Chinese noodle. Through a process of stretching and twisting wheat flour, Noodle Chefs can hand pull hundreds, even thousands of beautiful long thin noodles for a variety of dishes.

The Green Awning is the China Express.

The process is simple enough, but when you see a master noodle maker perform, one truly appreciates the art and beauty of cooking.

The Noodle Chef works out in front so all can enjoy.

My family was  enamored with the video as well. With hungry kids having home school science lessons to learn, it seemed like finding a local Chinese Noodle Chef would be fun and educational. Now that might be hard, depending on your location, but here in Washington, D.C., with our famous Chinatown not far away, it was relatively easy.

Ducks hang in the window near the Noodle Chef.

With the miracle of the Internet, I found Washingtonians have the China Express Restaurant with their Noodle Chef making noodles right in the front window kitchen for everyone to watch as they walk by.

Plenty of traditional atmosphere and hospitality.

What a treat it was to watch and we did for a long time, but eventually, we were hungry from being tempted and had to go in for a meal. And, what a meal it was. Fit for a Sunbonnet and a post on BlogHer.com

Bountifully delicious foods beckon us to return.

So, you can see it’s taken two and a half years to get there, but in January, 2013, when we visited the National Gallery of Art, we took a cab and were whisked away to Chinatown and the China Express. It was a dream come true. The food was fresh and delicious. The big bowls of noodle soup were tasty with their freshly made noodles and tender cuts of beef. And, I have been waiting all my life to try Peking Duck. Well, we ate duck, too. Dumplings and almond cookies, along with endless pots of tea, made us very fat and happy. We are planning on going back soon.

I hope that when you are in a big city, especially one that has a Chinatown, you will look for a La Mian Noodle Chef.  In that way, you will finally understand what we have here in our treasured China Express.

 NaBloPoMo March 2013

March 2013
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Feb 10 2013

In my next life, I will love crowds. I will spend each New Year’s Eve in New York City at Times Square and each Chinese New Year in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown.

Today is 2013’s Chinese New Year, a year of the Snake. It will be celebrated in fine style, here in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown. If I didn’t mind crowds, I’d be there. Or, if I could use the Popemobile, and be encased in plexiglass while I zoom around, that would be OK as well. But, just being me, I have to enjoy the festivities on TV or YouTube, safely sequestered away from the crowded excitement, but missing out on lots of it. Even so, I’ve got the pitch that celebrating the Chinese New Year in the District of Columbia is a very good time.

A targeted view of the D.C. Dragon Dance winding around.

When we go to the National Gallery of Art, we come home by way of 7th Street, a main north-south artery of the City. The City was carefully planned as the Nation’s Capital by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, appointed by President George Washington in 1791. All of the streets are on a naming system with all of the north-south streets being numbers and all of the east-west streets being letters of the alphabet. When we drive on 7th Street, we cross H Street, passing right by the Friendship Arch signaling the beginning of Chinatown at 7th and H. For those interested in going to Chinatown by subway, there is a convenient Metro stop, Gallery Place/Chinatown.

The Friendship Arch welcomes visitors to Chinatown, D.C.

Washington’s famous Friendship Arch is the world’s largest arch of its kind. It is a “seven roof arch” consisting of three large and four small tiled roofs. The Arch was erected in 1986 to celebrate our friendship with Washington’s sister city of Beijing, China. Designed by local architect, Alfred H. Liu, the arch boasts 272 dragons, reminding the viewer that many Chinese people consider themselves People of the Dragon.

The Washington, D.C. Chinese New Year’s Festival, 2012.

As with all political situations, there are many stories and back stories associated with the Friendship Arch. Many of Washington’s Chinese businessman did not want the Friendship Arch to be built in association with Communist China. As their sympathies aligned with Taiwan, they were intent on building a second arch on the other side of Chinatown to represent what they considered the true government of China. After many years, the funding for the businessman’s Taiwan Arch never materialized and the present Freedom Arch was built in concert with Beijing and the Communist People’s Republic of China.

Making New Year Cake or Nian Gao.

My parents lived near San Fransisco, CA in the early 1950s and were friendly with their Chinese neighbors. My father developed a definite fondness for sweet Bean Paste Cakes which you can study by clicking on the Guide to Chinese Pastries. Whenever I was near any sort of Chinatown with traditional Chinese Bakeries, whether in Los Angeles, New York City or Boston, I would always buy a box of Bean Paste Cakes to insure a happy homecoming and see his big smile. Although the Bean Paste cakes are eaten all year long, the New Year Cakes seen in the video above are special to the Chinese Lunar New Year.

By watching the video above, you can bake them “just like your Chinese grandmother use to make.” Sounds good to me. I LOVE recipe secrets! Happy New Year, everyone!



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