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拉面 La Mian World

the quest for the perfect noodle

Somewhere in Shanghai 上海, north of the Huang Pu river in 2007:

Upon leaving the craziness of construction sites and lavish new apartment buildings rocketing into the sky, small lanes winding through two storey stone houses remain. Plastic bucket shops next to the make-shift xiao long bao stall. A vegetable market, an old man in pyjamas carrying his morning shopping in a worn plastic bag. Soapy laundry drying in the streets and creaking bicycles loaded with just everything imaginable crisscrossing through the busy scene.

Around the next corner, steaming out of a small open shop – a hui family run Lan Zhou la mian restaurant materializes. The wall features the inevitable hui la mian store menu: a green and romantic  mountain scenery sets the background for the extensive list of dishes: Small bowl of la mian, large bowl of la mian and whatever else I cannot read unfortunately – my Chinese character identification knowledge is limited to maybe ten simple characters.

The so-called small bowl is absolutely sufficient to satisfy the breakfast hole in my stomach. The noodles are outstandingly tasty and the soup broth just perfect. Maybe I should have another bowl? Who knows how I am going to find this place ever again after I walked back to where I came from (if I could only remember where that was)?

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