There's a reason you install Plexiglas to surround your prized possession: you want to show it off to everyone. And that's exactly what they're doing at Sing's Noodle in the Chinatown Square Mall, which can lay claim to bragging rights on having the city's only hand-pulled noodle chef.
There's the strength issue of course, but also the muscle memory. The ability to transform flour, water and oil into soft, pliable noodles isn't something you pick up watching online. But it's easy to be mesmerized by the cooks behind the Plexiglas window in the dining room at Sing's Noodle, one of the only places in Chicago where every noodle is handmade.
"You have to work in a restaurant for at least three to four years to make your own," said Lu Zheng, Sing's Noodles.
You can have the noodles pan-fried with vegetables in a blazing hot wok, or opt to have them "dry," as in the dan dan mien, crowned with ground pork bathed in a fiery chili sauce, plus cool cucumbers and fresh cilantro. But the heartiest way to enjoy these extra-long noodles is in soup. Once they've been boiled for a minute or two and shocked in cold water, they're added to a deep bowl with braised beef and a rich, beefy stock. The fact that they're incredibly long -- it's essentially one continuous noodle afterall -- is an indicator of the chef's skill, which also plays into the whole New Year's symbolism.
"That means long life and we wish you a long life," said Zheng. "That's why we call it 'long life' noodle."
2171 S. China Place