Spring Festival vibes in the village: New Year noodles in Shaanxi
Updated 13:50, 02-Feb-2019
Matthew Watson
03:18

Noodles are a staple in Shaanxi cuisine and can be viewed in many forms in Yuanjia Village in the city of Xianyang. When walking through the narrow passageways of the village, you are immersed in an array of smells, sights and sounds. 

No two stalls are alike here, selling everything from noodles and baozi (steamed buns) to desserts and nang, a Uygur bread. Artisans also create handcrafts in the many shops that line the stone walkways in the vibrant destination.

Noodles hang to dry in Yuanjia Village, Shaanxi Province, January 20, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Noodles hang to dry in Yuanjia Village, Shaanxi Province, January 20, 2019. /CGTN Photo

The hanging noodles beside Lu's shop are a sight. The elastic dough is stretched, pulled and separated before being attached to a wooden beam over 10 feet above the ground. Stones fastened to the bottom of each scroll of noodles help stretch the dough as it dries in the cool winter air. 

Only a few stalls down is a bustling laomian eatery. The dish is wildly popular in Shaanxi and is considered the world's first form of instant noodles – just add water or broth and you have a hot meal. 

But as I witnessed, it's much more than just a bowl of noodles. Zhao, who preferred to be called “dajie” – meaning “sister,” showed me the ropes. 

The dough is first spread thinly onto a hot sheet of metal, turning it into what resembles a large tortilla, before it's folded and tucked away to cool overnight. The next day it is sliced thinly by hand. Chives, cabbage and green onions are added as well as broth. And according to her, vinegar and chili oil are a necessity. 

Chilis are ground under a millstone in Yuanjia Village, Shaanxi Province, January 20, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Chilis are ground under a millstone in Yuanjia Village, Shaanxi Province, January 20, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Both can be found within the village. Just a few minutes' walk, chilis are ground under a millstone and cooked to make the oil that gives Shaanxi laomian its kick. No more than 200 meters down the hill from the chilis, the vinegar is made from local grains and stored for several months to ferment before it's ready to add a tangy addition to the dish.

When the flavors seamlessly come together, the result is a warm bowl of noodles created with the help of an entire community and ready for a Spring Festival feast.